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  Subjects -> SOCIAL SERVICES AND WELFARE (Total: 224 journals)
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Policy Sciences
Journal Prestige (SJR): 1.479
Citation Impact (citeScore): 4
Number of Followers: 14  
 
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 1573-0891 - ISSN (Online) 0032-2687
Published by Springer-Verlag Homepage  [2467 journals]
  • The promises and perils of populism for democratic policymaking: the case
           of Mexico

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      Abstract: Abstract Much has been said theoretically about whether populism corrects the limitations of democracies, or instead damages their foundations. Yet we still know very little about how populist governments affect democratic policymaking in practice. Taking the classic policy cycle approach as a heuristic device, this article analyzes how populists influence agenda-setting, policy formulation and design, implementation, evaluation, and termination processes. Using a variety of sources, the article provides a qualitative in-depth analysis of the Mexican case during the first half of president Andrés-Manuel López-Obrador administration. The article shows that a populist government may fulfill some of its promises, but it ultimately materializes most of its perils, causing significant policy, institutional, and social damage. Populists introduce important distortions in each one of the policy stages and thus alter considerably the policymaking processes usually associated with democratic regimes. They employ a variety of strategies to limit the number of policy actors taking part in agenda-setting and evaluation exercises; formulate ineffective policy tools based on questionable design assumptions; develop personalistic implementation channels prone to patronage and clientelism; undermine the value of evidence-based analyses and discussions; and terminate institutions and programs on a discretionary basis. By exerting a rhetorical monopoly over the ‘will of the people,’ populists can follow policymaking patterns that significantly depart from the technical, rational, and pluralistic standards commonly associated with democratic policymaking. The article brings together debates on populism and policymaking, and studies a national case which has received limited scholarly attention, thus adding to both our theoretical and empirical contemporary understanding on this subject.
      PubDate: 2022-12-01
       
  • Pathways to policy integration: a subsystem approach

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      Abstract: Abstract Researchers in public policy and public administration agree that policy integration is a process. Nevertheless, scholars have given limited attention to political aspects that facilitate or impede integration. This paper aims at filling that gap, by looking at how different theories of the policy process can help in explaining the process of policy integration as shaped by policy subsystems. By building on insights from theories of the policy process, we develop pathways regarding adoption and implementation in policy integration that account for the politicization and the role of actors and subsystems in the policy process. Our main argument is that policy integration is in permanent political tension with the sectoral logic of policymaking, which predominantly happens between actors in subsystems. Policy integration is, thus, not a single moment when those tensions are solved once and for all, but a political process that requires deliberate efforts to overcome the pull toward sector-specific problem definition, policymaking, implementation, and evaluation.
      PubDate: 2022-11-26
       
  • Seeking policy solutions in a complex system: experimentalist governance
           in China’s healthcare reform

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      Abstract: Abstract The proliferation of “wicked” policy problems in complex systems requires an experimental approach of problem-solving. Experimentalist governance offers a conducive framework through which to seek policy solutions amidst high levels of complexity in a multilevel governance structure. This study conceptualizes four distinctive experimental modalities based on varying levels of technical complexity and interest complexity, both of which represent salient constraints for policy reforms in a complex system, the health sector in particular. Trail-blazing pilots, crowdsourcing pilots, managed pilots, and road-testing pilots are all associated with distinct mechanisms of experimentation in a multilevel governance structure. Through four illustrative cases from China’s massive experimental program of public hospital reform, this study demonstrates how experimentalist governance seeks policy solutions in the health sector. Should governance arrangements, policy capacity, pragmatism, and informational devices become aligned in a conducive way, experimentalist governance can play an instrumental role in seeking solutions for difficult problems in a complex policy system. A governance structure capable of policy learning and adaptive management is the key.
      PubDate: 2022-11-19
       
  • ‘Windows of opportunity’: exploring the relationship between social
           media and plastic policies during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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      Abstract: Abstract Plastic pollution has reached a crisis point due to ineffective waste management, an over-reliance on single-use plastic items and a lack of suitable plastic alternatives. The COVID-19 Pandemic has seen a dramatic increase in the use of single-use plastics including ‘COVID waste’ in the form of items specifically intended to help stop the spread of disease. Many governments have utilised COVID-19 as a window of opportunity to reverse, postpone or remove plastic policies off agendas ostensibly in order to ‘flatten the curve’ of COVID-19 cases. In this paper, we use novel methods of social media analysis relating to three regions (USA, Mexico and Australia) to suggest that health and hygiene were not the only reasons governments utilised this window of opportunity to change plastic policies. Beyond the influence of social media on the plastics agenda, our results highlight the potential of social media as a tool to analyse public reactions to government decisions that can be influenced by industry pressure and a broader political agenda, while not necessarily following responses to consumer behaviour.
      PubDate: 2022-11-15
       
  • Count on trust: the indirect effect of trust in government on policy
           compliance with health behavior instructions

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      Abstract: Abstract Trust in government is considered a prominent factor for enhancing public compliance with government policies and instructions. The Coronavirus pandemic demonstrates the crucial role public compliance with governmentally issued health guidelines has in mitigating the pandemic. However, the mechanism explaining the trust-compliance association, particularly in regard to health-behavior compliance, is unclear. This article develops a new theoretical model, the Mediated Trust Model (MTM), for explaining the relationship between trust in government and public compliance with health instructions. The model extends the classic Health Belief Model for predicting health behavior by claiming that the perceptions regarding the instructions' costs, benefits and one's ability to perform them are affected by trust in government and mediate the trust-compliance association. The MTM was tested in four cross-sectional studies performed during the first 20 months of the Coronavirus pandemic in Israel on 3732 participants, for various health instructions. Implications for public health literature, policy compliance theory and policy makers are discussed.
      PubDate: 2022-11-15
       
  • Politicking with evidence: examining evidence-based issues in electoral
           policy narratives

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      Abstract: Abstract The construction, influence, and strategic use of narratives to influence policy decisions have garnered increased scholarly attention over the past decade as the Narrative Policy Framework (NPF) has matured within the policy studies field. Our prior analysis extended the NPF scholarship to examine electoral policy narrative construction during the 2018 elections. We found that the NPF can apply to electoral politics, but there are differences in how electoral policy narratives are constructed according to candidate party, gender, and electoral outcomes. Analyzing the narratives from both Republican and Democratic campaigns in U.S. House swing districts, here we assess whether policy issues can be differentiated based on their use of evidence and examine narratives to understand if there are systematic differences of construction according to policy issue type. The findings suggest that narrative use of evidence by congressional campaigns varies strategically and systematically by policy issue. Overall, the article presents a novel application of NPF analysis across policy domains while proposing a relationship between evidence and the setting and moral of the story element of narrative form based on issue type.
      PubDate: 2022-11-13
       
  • Beyond plans, governance structures, and organizational strategies: how
           emotional mechanisms can make a difference in emergency response processes
           

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      Abstract: Abstract Emergency policies are among the most challenging policies that policy makers have to deal with, because of their extreme seriousness, the lack of time, and the high uncertainties that are involved. Policy analyses have demonstrated that good structural and organizational strategies are important, but not sufficient, to systematically guarantee a high level of resiliency in response processes. Some scholars have therefore suggested the need to verify whether individual cognitive and relational mechanisms can contribute to explaining the different levels of resiliency that emerge in emergency response processes. From such a perspective, this article presents the findings of a research that was aimed at testing whether emotional mechanisms matter. The affect infusion model was used to provide the analytical framework that was considered to identify the evidence necessary for the empirical research, and the ‘most similar system design’ was applied to select and compare two couples of emergency response processes with similar contextual, structural and organizational features, but different levels of resiliency. The empirical research was conducted from April 2020 to February 2021, through periods of job shadowing and semi-structured interviews with personnel from the public and private organizations involved in the response processes. The research has substantially corroborated the hypothesis and has highlighted that, despite very similar contextual, structural and organizational conditions, a negative emotional mechanism, triggered by fear and anxiety, was pervasive among managers involved in the two lower-resiliency emergency response processes, while a positive emotional mechanism, triggered by pride, was dominant among managers involved in the two lower-resiliency processes.
      PubDate: 2022-11-13
       
  • Understanding policy transfer through social network analysis: expanding
           methodologies with an intensive case study approach

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      Abstract: Abstract This work demonstrates the expanding methodological approaches to the study of transnational policy transfer and combines the quantitative methods of SNA and the generation of sociograms with qualitative processes of iterative validation with key informants. The work maps and then critiques the differences in domestic policy networks and transfer policy networks. Transfer networks are distinct from domestic operational networks, yet each is interrelated and retains shared interests. Diagnosing and plotting the structure, density and complexity of actor relations in one domestic policy network provides insight into the challenges that another jurisdiction may face to effectively adopt and implement a similar policy once it progresses through transfer. An important contribution of this work is how SNA more explicitly highlights the connection of transnational policy transfer structures to key nodes in domestic networks and the dual role these actors play in the very differently configured domestic (operational) and transfer networks. In this case, we see how transnational policy transfer is both strengthened and constrained by its network relations with domestic policy systems. While actors effectively interact in the exchange of information and share ideas to support policy transfer, network analysis would also suggest a distinctly different network of actors is required to achieve effective adoption and local implementation.
      PubDate: 2022-10-25
       
  • From hierarchy to continuum: classifying the technical dimension of policy
           goals

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      Abstract: Abstract This paper investigates the technical dimension of policy goals or their structural properties. The paper challenges the idea that policy goals can be conceptualized within a unidimensional hierarchy. It aims to contribute to policy theory by classifying goals based on systematic empirical research. Qualitative content analysis of 11 governmental strategies was conducted by focusing on the overlap of six technical features of policy goals: level of specification, mode of accomplishment, presence of time frames, quantifiable indicators, beneficiaries, and responsible actors. Based on the analysis, the paper distinguishes seven technical types of policy goals: broad, mode-centered, direction-centered, beneficiary-centered, actor-centered, semi-structured, and structured. Technical types of policy goals do not form a hierarchy with clear-cut levels, but can be placed on a continuum, from broad to structured, with the mixed types in between. This insight could enhance policy design theory by introducing a more sophisticated tuning of policy goals, potentially leading to better advice for practical policy planning and, in turn, to more successful policy implementation.
      PubDate: 2022-09-30
       
  • What counts' Policy evidence in public hearing testimonies: the case
           of single-payer healthcare in New York State

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      Abstract: Abstract While few would advocate that policy decisions be based solely on interest group influence or political pandering, few would also agree that decisions be based solely on evidence from randomized trials devoid of context or attention to stakeholder concerns. Yet, this is the implicit tension that has emerged between scholars, who privilege rigorously established research evidence as the primary legitimate basis for policy decision-making, and their critics, who advocate for a broader evidence boundary. However, the policy literature has hitherto failed to suggest an appropriate means of processing various forms of evidence to inform the policy decision-making process. This challenge is especially apparent in public hearings, a frequently used participatory medium where a great variety of evidence is presented. In this paper, we aim to reevaluate the value of public hearings as a means of collecting evidence by exploring 189 testimonies across six public hearings on single-payer healthcare in New York State. At the same time, we evaluate and categorize the types of evidence invoked in public hearings and compare this against what might “count” as evidence from an EBP perspective. Results highlight nine types of “evidence”, along two dimensions: observation span and form of knowledge. We find that applying a narrow boundary of research evidence, only one of nine types of evidence fit that classification: problem-based research. We conclude by suggesting that policy scholars expand their consideration of what types of evidence claims are useful to policymakers.
      PubDate: 2022-09-16
      DOI: 10.1007/s11077-022-09475-1
       
  • From institutional tipping points to affective and direct tips: mythical
           institutions, policy ineffectiveness, and nonlinear political dynamics in
           East Germany, 1989–1990

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      Abstract: Abstract Studies concerning nonlinear political dynamics, such as regime change, focus on macro-level structural factors and political agency. Tipping points are pitched mainly at these levels, and scholars therefore devote less attention to meso-level factors. To bridge this gap, this article develops a verbal model focusing on the collapse of mechanisms that sustain mythical state institutions as drivers of such dynamics. A mythical institution enjoys a reputation for power and influence among the public based on widespread and persistent stereotypical beliefs that embody a collectivity’s sense of origin and tradition, high performance and stability, and/or vision and mission. The argument advanced here is that nonlinear political dynamics may occur when the collapse of such mechanisms reflects on the unquestioned legitimacy that the mythical state institution enjoys, creating massive embarrassment for the regime because its mythical institution’s status requires government intervention to prevent believers from “fleeing” and/or revolting. This, in turn, undermines or debunks this institution’s myth, thereby generating high levels of anxiety, fear, anger, or other (mixes of) emotions. Which emotional process dominates depends on which reaction is stronger at the moment in question. When the level reaches an affective tipping point, citizens begin to update their evaluations and consider new information. This leads to behavioral convergence (e.g., mass protest, mass emigration, violence), which is in turn accelerated when the regime’s counter-response is publicly perceived as ineffective, thus highlighting the irreversibility of this process. This argument is illustrated herein by examining the 1989 collapse of East Germany’s emigration restrictions system.
      PubDate: 2022-08-30
      DOI: 10.1007/s11077-022-09474-2
       
  • Mapping the use of knowledge in policymaking: barriers and facilitators
           from a subjectivist perspective (1990–2020)

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      Abstract: Abstract The use of knowledge and evidence in policymaking is a recurrent topic of research due to its scientific and policy relevance. The existing and expansive body of literature has been scrutinised in various ways to grasp the dimensions of knowledge utilisation in policymaking, although most of this research has a monosectoral focus and is based on very general criteria of analysis that do not completely account for the complexity of policy making. This paper overcomes this limitation by enlightening the epistemological divide in the field between an objectivist and a subjectivist perspective and by distinguishing two different focuses in this literature: a focus on knowledge for policy making and a focus on knowledge in policy making. Based on this analytical distinction, the paper presents an original and unprecedented systematic, intersectoral metareview by considering the thirty-year period between 1990 and 2020 (approximately 1,400 were selected for fine-grained analysis). This metareview offers a broader and more detailed map with a clear idea of the distribution of interest in the topic among the different policy fields, a better classification of the theoretical/empirical content and research goals that scholars adopt and a novel and, above all, more fine-grained perspective on the types of conditions that favour or disfavour a significant role of knowledge in policymaking. Ultimately, and above all, this metareview identifies three highly relevant components of policy making that can facilitate or constrain the use of knowledge in policymaking more than others: values/ideology/beliefs, actors’ relationships, and policy capacities.
      PubDate: 2022-08-26
      DOI: 10.1007/s11077-022-09468-0
       
  • William Newlin Dunn (1939–2022) “The truest measure of an
           academic pillar”

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      PubDate: 2022-08-16
      DOI: 10.1007/s11077-022-09472-4
       
  • Expert hearings in mini-publics: How does the field of expertise influence
           deliberation and its outcomes'

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      Abstract: Abstract One of key goals of deliberative mini-publics is to counteract expert domination in policymaking. Mini-publics can be expected to democratize expertise by providing citizens with good opportunities for weighing expert information. Yet, there are concerns about undue influence of experts even within mini-publics. We test these expectations by analysing data from an online mini-public organized in Finland in March 2021. The topic of deliberation was measures taken to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. We examine whether experts’ field of specialization and the order of expert hearings had an impact on how participants’ views developed. We find that neither the field of expertise nor the order of hearings had systematic effects on participants’ perceptions on containment measures. The results suggest that interactive modes of expert hearings in mini-publics seem not to be prone to domination by experts.
      PubDate: 2022-08-06
      DOI: 10.1007/s11077-022-09465-3
       
  • Policy analytical capacity and "Eastern" styles of policy
           analysis: evidence from West Java Province, Indonesia

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      Abstract: Abstract An emerging body of scholarship suggests that "Western" notions of policy analysis may not be relevant in "Eastern" jurisdictions, and that non-Western countries, particularly in Asia, may have their own local policy analytical style or tradition. However, in many Asian countries, little is known about the work that public sector policy analysts do. Using data from a survey and focus groups, this article investigates policy analysis and analytical capacity in the provincial government of West Java, Indonesia. We find ample signs of policy analytical activity as it would be understood by Western scholars, with little evidence of any specific Asian style.
      PubDate: 2022-08-06
      DOI: 10.1007/s11077-022-09470-6
       
  • Against the odds: How policy capacity can compensate for weak instruments
           in promoting sustainable food

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      Abstract: Abstract There has been revived scholarly interest in policy capacity recently. While it is widely assumed that capacity is important for policy performance, it is difficult to separate its impact from the effect of policy instruments to establish whether capacity can produce an independent and positive effect on target group behavior in relation to achieving policy objectives. Undertaking a critical case study where policy performed well despite the use of weak policy instruments, this paper analyzes whether policy capacity can have a positive independent impact on policy performance. The Danish program to increase the proportion of organic food served in public sector kitchens demonstrates that policy capacity can independently influence policy performance. It can compensate for the weakness of soft and indirect policy instruments and bring about policy performance that goes beyond what can be expected, given the limited ability of the instruments to stimulate behavioral change. A high level of capacity was achieved by drawing on resources possessed by interest groups. While interest groups’ and other private actors’ positive contribution to policy capacity is recognized, only a limited number of studies have analyzed how such actors contribute to capacity generation. Therefore, this paper applies a sectoral perspective in which policy capacity is understood as the ability to pool and coordinate relevant resources available within a policy sector.
      PubDate: 2022-08-05
      DOI: 10.1007/s11077-022-09466-2
       
  • Policy feedback and institutional context in energy transitions

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      Abstract: Abstract Interest in policy feedback processes in energy transitions has grown rapidly in recent years. However, while it has provided interesting accounts of the mechanisms of stability or change, the policy feedback framework begs the question of why policy feedback dynamics vary so widely across cases. Existing accounts have tended to focus on the influence of ideas on policy design and on the role of interest groups. By contrast, the role of background institutional context in shaping policy feedback processes has been understudied. In this article, I develop a framework for identifying relevant types of institution that potentially shape policy feedback across different analytical stages of the feedback cycle. This approach is illustrated through the example of support policies for solar PV, where it is argued that a relatively small set of political, political economy and social institutions are likely to be important. The argument is then applied through a comparison of the evolution of solar PV policy in the UK and Germany, and the role of institutional context in explaining divergent policy pathways.
      PubDate: 2022-08-03
      DOI: 10.1007/s11077-022-09467-1
       
  • Countries’ readiness to deal with large-scale crises: analysis, measure,
           and World classification

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      Abstract: Abstract A country’s preparedness to face crises is a multidimensional competence that depends on several attributes (economic factors, governance features, infrastructure and institutional endowments). This paper proposes a new approach to rank countries based on their degree of preparedness to deal with large-scale crises. The measured characteristics of countries have made it possible to compile an index of preparedness to face shocks and, therefore, predict their performance against the COVID-19 health crisis to verify the relevance of the proposed composite index. Fortunately, it appears that countries with a high degree of preparedness according to our aggregate index were able to respond adequately and effectively to this crisis. This is reflected in a lower mortality rate and more administered tests.
      PubDate: 2022-07-26
      DOI: 10.1007/s11077-022-09464-4
       
  • The fable of policy entrepreneurship' Understanding policy change as
           an ontological problem with critical realism and institutional theory

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      Abstract: Abstract How is policy change possible if policy entrepreneurs’ cognition, rationality and identity are conditioned by the very policy institutions they wish to change' To solve this paradox of embedded agency, we must avoid either voluntarism that inflates the role of actors to change policies as by existing policy entrepreneurship applications, or determinism whereby policy changes are decided by contextual forces. Instead, drawing on institutional theory, critical realism sees structures, institutions, and actions that constitute policy dynamics as existing in separate yet intertwined reality domains: structures (e.g., social relationships), and institutions (e.g., formal rules and norms such as institutional logics) in the Real domain, enable and constrain policy actors’ navigation of their social environments; the Actual domain represents the level at which events (actions) happen, as these actors constantly interpret varied institutions to adjust their structurally embedded actions when pursuing policy changes that can be observed in the Empirical domain. Put differently, structures and institutions are mechanisms in the Real domain that affect individual practices and events in the Actual domain, and only some of these events are realized in the Empirical domain as policy changes. We empirically illustrate this critical realist approach with a Chinese example on health care reform.
      PubDate: 2022-06-22
      DOI: 10.1007/s11077-022-09463-5
       
  • Space for stories: legislative narratives and the establishment of the US
           Space Force

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      Abstract: Abstract In June 2018, President Trump directed the development of a sixth branch of the US Armed Forces—the Space Force—whose primary mission is to enhance the space operations of the USA and its allies. In this paper, we utilize the Narrative Policy Framework (NPF) to examine legislative meso-level narratives surrounding the advocacy for and in opposition to the establishment of a US Space Force. After reviewing the literature on the NPF and US space-defense policy, we conduct a content analysis to discern the policy narratives within congressional testimonies encompassing the development of the Space Force. Included in this content analysis is a unique contribution to the NPF literature’s conceptualization of plot. Leveraging these data, we describe and analyze the policy narratives produced by Republicans and Democrats. Our main findings highlight significant partisan differences in the construction of narratives on the US Space Force, including contrasting viewpoints on the role of the Space Force, the setting of space as a domain of war, and military cooperation with commercial and international groups. We conclude with a discussion of the substantive implications of our findings, including the potential impacts of partisan narratives on the future role of the Space Force. Finally, we propose a new route to improve reliability in the study of NPF plots using a two-dimensional orientation to plot: policy outcome and time.
      PubDate: 2022-05-03
      DOI: 10.1007/s11077-022-09455-5
       
 
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