Discrete Dynamics in Nature and Society
Volume 5 (2000), Issue 4, Pages 265-279

The evolution of nonlinear dynamics in political science and public administration: Methods, modeling and momentum

L. Douglas Kiel

Professor of Public Administration and Political Economy, School of Social Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas, P.O. Box 830688, Richardson 75083, TX, USA

Received 2 February 2000

Copyright © 2000 L. Douglas Kiel. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper examines the evolution of the application of nonlinear dynamics and related methods to the study of political science and public administration throughout the 20th century. Some analysts understood the importance of nonlinearity to political and administrative studies in the early part of the century. More recently, a growing number of scholars understand that the political and administrative worlds are ripe with nonlinearity and thus amenable to nonlinear dynamical techniques and models. The current state of the application of both discrete and continuous time models in political science and public administration are presented. There is growing momentum in political and public administration studies that may serve to enhance the realism and applicability of these sciences to a nonlinear world.