From There to Here: Punctuated Equilibrium to the General Punctuation Thesis to a Theory of Government Information Processing


Bryan D. Jones is the J.J. “Jake” Regent's Chair in Congressional Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.

Frank R. Baumgartner is the Richard J. Richardson Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


In this introduction to the Policy Study Journal's special issue on punctuated equilibrium, we provide an overview of the approach, how it evolved, some of the major critiques directed at it, and some of the major developments it has spawned. We argue that the most important aspect of a theory or framework is not whether it is right or wrong, but the extent to which it is fruitful; that is, the extent to which it stimulated further research. Finally, we review the articles in this issue and put them in context.