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Linking Policy Design, Change and Outputs

Jul 14, 2021

This article examines whether changes in policy design lead to incremental or punctuated changes in policy outputs. Leveraging a synthesis of policy design and punctuated equilibrium literatures, we analyze whether changes in policy targets, policy instruments, and policy incentives have differing effects on the distributions of changes in policy outputs. Our empirical examination is a study of net metering policy in the United States over the years 2007–2016. A key finding is that there is a relationship between policy designs that change more frequently and less punctuated distributions of outputs; namely, that changes to certain elements of policies are related to a greater frequency of gradual changes in policy outputs than changes to others.