Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version



Published in Cornhusker Economics, 01/10/2007. Produced by the Cooperative Extension, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


Both the Nebraska Unicameral and the U.S. Congress are just now coming back into session with many new faces, in Nebraska due to the term limit law showing its impact, and with a shift in the power structure in Washington. With all this change, and the many substantive policy issues facing these entities, from the farm bill to the war in Iraq, along with the wide array of environmental, ecosystem and natural resource (e.g. global warming, renewable energy, water and biodiversity) issues, as well as the always present set of social issues (e.g. the minimum wage), perhaps it is a good time to ponder and reconsider just what we mean by “policy” and especially by “policy change.” A recent book by Daniel W. Bromley (2006), an internationally recognized institutional (and behavioral) economist, gives a new understanding about what our representatives in both the Unicameral and the Congress are trying to do, and what the policy process is about. Bromley sees not only legislative activity, but also the ongoing influences on policy in the courts, such as the court action brought against Nebraska’s corporate farming amendment. He also sees policy being affected by the actions of a variety of agencies, e.g., the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources having an influence on state water policy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture on national farm policy.