Incremental consolidation and comprehensive reorganization of American state executive branches

Michael B. Berkman, Christopher Reenock

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Many questions remain about the causes and implications of state government reorganization. Using an original data set on agency consolidation in the states between 1950 and 1992, we show that executive branch restructuring occurs incrementally as well as through better recognized comprehensive reorganization. With continuous state-space modeling we show that these different reform paths are related and driven by distinct political and economic conditions. We also show that, contrary to previous findings, state attempts to alter their administrative organizations do impact long-term employment growth rates. Although smaller in magnitude, incremental as well as comprehensive reforms can enhance administrative efficiency. Further, unlike the Baumgartner and Jones (1993, 2002) punctuated-equilibrium model, we do not find evidence that incrementalism gives way to bursts of nonincremental change. Rather, incremental adjustments to the status quo may be sufficient to reduce the possibility the possibility of comprehensive reorganization at any point in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)796-812
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Journal of Political Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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