Discussion Questions

For this first discussion board, read the Baumgartner and Jones chapter in this module. This is a foundational reading in public policy in which the authors lay out a model for how policy change occurs. Within it, you will find references to several other well known theorists and references to bodies of work that define the discipline of public policy study.  Please begin to take note of names that will reoccur across the field of literature.

Next, take your first look at a policy brief on this topic of punctuated equilibrium.  It breaks down this model and explains in an accessible way. We’ll use policy briefs all semester to bring to underscore key unit concepts and to support our optional policy roundtable discussions.

Finally, read and consider the National Review article on punctuated equilibrium.

After your review, respond to the following questions:

1. How do Baumgartner and Jones characterize the public policy process? What are its hallmarks? (5 pts)

2. What is the essence of punctuated equilibrium theory according to Baumgartner and Jones? How has this theory been expropriated from evolutionary biology to be used in public policy discussion and analysis? What How does it explain “stability and change in public policymaking?”  ( 5 pts)

3. Briefly share what you found to be key aspects of  presented in the policy brief, and how do you think policy briefs are helpful in relating complex policy ideas and implementation?. (5 pts)

4. The National Review article suggests that President Obama’s first term was a punctuating moment. By the author’s logic, and according to what you’ve read on this topic, does President Trump’s term represent a punctuating moment as well? Explain.  (5 pts)

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