How authoritarianism intensifies policy shifts
“Punctuated equilibrium” — the pattern in which incremental policy changes are blocked, until pressure finally produces a big shift — is widely regarded as a democratic disease. In the current issue of Governance, Wai Fung Lam and Kwan Nok Chan examine sixty years of policymaking in Hong Kong, under both colonial and postcolonial regimes. Their study finds that the “pattern of punctuation and stasis” was evident even when the system had authoritarian features. In fact, “punctuation was greater when the political system was more centralized but declined as the political system democratized.” Read the article.