ABOUT THIS BOOK
Michael Hayes offers a vigorous defense of incrementalism: the theory that the policymaking process typically should involve bargaining, delay, compromise, and, therefore, incremental change. Incrementalism, he argues, is one result of a checks-and-balances system in which politicians may disagree over what we want to achieve as a nation or what policies would best achieve shared goals.
Many political scientists have called for reforms that would facilitate majority rule and more radical policy change by strengthening the presidency at the expense of Congress. But Hayes develops policy typologies and analyzes case studies to show that the policy process works best when it conforms to the tenets of incrementalism. He contends that because humans are fallible, politics should work through social processes to achieve limited ends and to ameliorate—rather than completely solve—social problems. Analyzing the evolution of air pollution policy, the failure of President Clinton’s health care reform in 1994, and the successful effort at welfare reform in 1995-96, Hayes calls for changes that would make incrementalism work better by encouraging a more balanced struggle among social interests and by requiring political outcomes to conform to the rule of law.
Written for students and specialists in politics, public policy, and public administration, The Limits of Policy Change examines in detail a central issue in democratic theory.