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Domestic Programs, Budget Outlays, and the Reagan Revolution: A Test of Competing Theories in Four Policy Arenas

Robert F. Durant, Teresa Kluesner and Jerome S. Legge, Jr.
Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory: J-PART
Vol. 2, No. 4 (Oct., 1992), pp. 369-386
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1181696
Page Count: 18
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Domestic Programs, Budget Outlays, and the Reagan Revolution: A Test of Competing Theories in Four Policy Arenas
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Abstract

This study investigates the impact of the Reagan administration on four domestic budget outlays: transportation, health, community and regional development, and education. Using an interrupted time series model, we test the validity of three competing hypotheses regarding the "Reagan Revolution": the secular trend, the "imprint," and the realignment theses. These findings then are assessed for their implications for three perspectives on presidential leadership: the heroic, the deterministic, and the substitutionist models. Findings suggest (1) that the imprint hypothesis best captures the overall effects of the Reagan Revolution across these four categories of domestic spending; (2) that Reagan's supply-side management approach to reorienting domestic policy was less potent in budgetary terms over the long-run than either its supporters or opponents thought likely; and (3) that Reagan's use of the administrative presidency failed in the long run to foster an anticipated power asymmetry advantaging the president over Congress when budgetary outlays alone are considered.

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