Department of Political Science

A Dynamic Linear Modelling Approach to Public Policy Change

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Theories of public policy change, despite their differences, converge on one point of strong agreement. The relationship between policy and its causes can and does change over time. This consensus yields numerous empirical implications, but our standard analytical tools are inadequate for testing them. As a result, the dynamic and transformative relationships predicted by policy theories have been left largely unexplored in time-series analysis of public policy. This paper introduces dynamic linear modeling (DLM) as a useful statistical tool for exploring time-varying relationships in public policy. The paper offers a detailed exposition of the DLM approach and illustrates its usefulness with a time series analysis of U.S. defense policy from 1957-2010. The results point the way for a new attention to dynamics in the policy process and the paper concludes with a discussion of how this research program can profit from applying DLMs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Public Policy
Pages (from-to)553-579
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • punctuated equilibrium theory, public policy, public spending, policy dynamics

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