Policy universes are usually characterized by stability, even when stability represents a suboptimal state. Institutions and processes channel and cajole agents along a policy path, restricting the available solution set. Herein, structure is usually to the fore. But what of agency? Do no actors choose? In fact, they do, even in policy environments of incrementalism, even amid hostility. But where agency makes for momentous change is during the punctuations of long policy equilibriums, perfect storms enabling nonincremental movement onto a new policy trajectory, departing from the old path. On both levels, the interaction effects of both structure and agency make a difference — incrementally in the first case, nonincrementally in the second. It's not just one damn thing after another, nor does just anything go.

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