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date: 23 January 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter comments on Aaron Wildavsky’s seminal work, The Politics of the Budgetary Process, an in-depth look at the norms and rules of budgeting in the United States and the stable patterns of interaction between the various actors involved. Considered a classic of public administration scholarship, the book uses a simple yet fundamental theoretical framework for analyzing budgetary decisions. After summarizing the basic elements of Wildavsky’s theory of budgetary incrementalism, the chapter discusses challenges to incrementalism that arose mainly in the context of economic and fiscal crisis that influenced the way the federal government made budgetary decisions. It then considers the relevance and importance of Wildavsky’s work on the politics of the budgetary process by highlighting several elements that have had profound implications for scholarship on budgeting.

Keywords: Aaron Wildavsky, The Politics of the Budgetary Process, budgeting, United States, public administration, budgetary decisions, budgetary incrementalism, fiscal crisis, politics

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