The theory implies some policies can only change if certain restrains like stickiness and stakes of an institution are available. Policies are categorized into long-term policies and short-term policies. An example is if the country’s constitution states that a president should rule for two terms it is very difficult to implement a new policy, which suggests that the president must rule for one term, or three terms.
Punctuated equilibrium theory seeks to explain simple observations like political processes. Political processes are continually associated with incrementalism and stability; they rarely produce large-scale departures from the past. Most policy areas experience stasis even though a crisis can occur. America is experiencing large-scale changes in policymaking and politics. Some Government programs can be altered in order to accommodate change.
The theory includes periods of stasis or near equilibrium. In the event that an issue is seized by a subsystem and periods of disequilibrium, then a macro political agenda occurs. A macro political agenda can advance to the extent of causing changes in the policy process. Therefore, according to this theory small changes result in large changes.
The theory is only applicable to situations facing stasis or equilibrium. In the event that there is no equilibrium variables and need for change, then the policy fails to exist.
The Stage Heuristic Theory
The theory states that the best way to study policymaking is to break it down to stages.