Path dependency in Public Administration and Economics: Future Implications

By Rebekkah Stuteville and John Jumara.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: September 18, 2014 $US5.00

Abstract: The disciplines of American public administration and economics are not dynamic, but are instead locked into their foundational principles and practices for over 100 years. Both fields are path-dependent which has made them change-resistant. This paper examines the nature of change in American culture and the influence of path-dependency on public administration and economics through a theoretical analysis. In the field of public administration, path dependency is used as the framework for analyzing recent public administration reform movements, and it explains how these movements are bound by the traditional public administration doctrine crafted in 1887. In the field of economics, the limitations of both orthodox and heterodox economics are analyzed. This paper will argue that orthodox economics, grounded in the ideas of the past--The Enlightenment, natural law, and Newtonian mechanics--is insufficient for dealing with the current political, social and economic realities. Furthermore, heterodox economics, although in opposition to mainstream theory, only challenges the neoclassical model at the edges. Because of the constrained path of American public administration and adherence to the neoclassical model of economics, both disciplines are not prepared to respond to the complexities of the 21st Century. A new framework is needed in both disciplines that can accommodate the complexities, uncertainty, and nonlinearity of the future.

Keywords: Public Administration, Economics, Path-dependency

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies, Volume 9, Issue 1, December 2014, pp.21-31. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: September 18, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 599.420KB)).

Dr. Rebekkah Stuteville

Assistant Professor of Public Administration, Master of Public Affairs Program Director, Hauptmann School of Public Affairs, Park University, Kansas City, Missouri, USA

John Jumara

Associate Professor of Public Affairs, Hauptmann School of Public Affairs, Park University, Kansas City, Missouri, USA