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Political Rationality or 'Incrementalism'? Charles E. Lindblom's enduring contribution to public policy making theory

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The lasting impact of Charles E. Lindblom on public policy making theory flows from his insight into the nature of a collective, political, rationality. The term 'incrementalism', with which his name is commonly associated, obscures rather than enhances an appreciation of this enduring contribution. The debate between Lindblom and his main 'rationalist' critics has failed to demonstrate any necessary relationships between the scope of policy change and the role of formal analysis. It has also tended to reify public policy making, misleadingly representing 'incrementalism' as a chosen political strategy, or analytical technique, rather than as the inevitable form of collective political action.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 1989

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