Incrementalism and punctuated equilibrium in Hungarian budgeting (1991-2013)

Miklós Sebók (Hungarian Academy of Sciences)
Tamás Berki (Magyar Nemzeti Bank (the central bank of Hungary))

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management

ISSN: 1096-3367

Publication date: 1 March 2017


The paper applies two core theoretical frameworks of budgetary change-incrementalism and punctuated equilibrium theory-to a new database of Hungarian final accounts data for the period 1991 through 2013. Based on our analysis trends in Hungarian budgeting are in line with available comparative evidence suggesting that yearly changes of budget outlays in policy domains are best characterized by a punctuated equilibrium model. The most significant variable in predicting whether an observation would fall into the equilibrium or punctuated group was the share of the given policy domain of total outlays. However, alternative explanatory variables, such as the electoral cycle, the fiscal cycle and the business cycle had no effect on the results.


Sebók, M. and Berki, T. (2017), "Incrementalism and punctuated equilibrium in Hungarian budgeting (1991-2013)", Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, Vol. 29 No. 2, pp. 151-180.

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