What happens when policymakers limit increases in property taxes?

Yarram et alSubba Reddy Yarram, Brian Dollery and Carolyn Tran

In our recent article in Policy & Politics,  we examine the impact of a ‘cap’ on property taxes in the local government system of the Australian state of Victoria. ‘Fair Go rate capping’ was introduced in Victoria from 1 July 2016. Prior to this, general rates charged by local councils in Victoria had grown by an annual average of 6% over a 10 year period. Under the Fair Go policy, the Minister for Local Government sets a maximum permissible rate increase on the advice of the Victorian Essential Services Commission. The actual rates cap was set at 2% for 2016-17 and 2.5% for 2017-18 based on the forecast Consumer Price Index.

In principle, the rate caps limit the ability of local councils to raise revenue required to fund their ongoing operations, often in the hope that this will stimulate increased operational efficiency. In our article, we empirically investigated two main questions: What were the short-term impacts of the Fair Go rate capping on different types of municipal expenditure? Did Fair Go rate capping have a differential impact on the different categories of Victorian local councils? Analysis of these questions can shed light how best to frame local government policy tailored to accommodate different categories of local council facing different expenditure constraints. Continue reading

Call for Papers for a Themed issue in Policy & Politics on Transformational Change through Public Policy

P&P 2021 EditorsOscar Berglund, Claire Dunlop and Chris Weible

Policy & Politics is a top quartile journal in public administration and political science. Its co-editors, Oscar Berglund, Claire Dunlop and Chris Weible, invite articles for a themed issue on “Transformational Change through Public Policy”. The deadline for abstract submissions is May 14 2021.

How can Public Policy as a discipline contribute to desperately needed transformational change in our societies? Climate scientists call for systemic change; our liberal democracies suffer from crises in legitimacy; economic and social inequality continues to grow; culture wars increasingly polarise societies, and so on. Scholars have excelled at describing and diagnosing these problems exploring and explaining how they have emerged, and occasionally positing few ideas for their improvements. Despite the knowledge gained in our scholarship, a need continues to persist and spread for ideas to achieve deeper and more transformative societal changes. Continue reading

Can citizen involvement in the recruitment of front-line employees help to identify candidates who will be effective at co-production?

Trischler P&PJakob Trischler

In our recent open access article in Policy & Politics, Johan Kaluza and I take as our starting point for our argument the point that public service organisations should recognise citizens as active co-producers rather than passive recipients in service design and provision. Indeed, there are a number of studies showing that citizens are capable and willing to contribute to public service outcomes that are beneficial not only to themselves but also to the broader citizenry.

However, an important question in the co-production debate is how organisations can effectively engage and enable citizens to become co-producers. We argue that one answer to this question lies in the role taken by front-line employees. Through direct contact and collaboration with service users, they can ‘activate’ citizens to co-produce. Taking this argument one step further, we ask if the actual recruitment of these front-line employees could be a co-produced process with respective service users involved? But what happens when relevant users are actually involved in the recruitment of social workers, teachers, or employment officers? Continue reading

Analysis of the dynamics of international food regulation in China

May ChuMay Chu

Political scientists have been debating the question of whether global factors promote convergence, divergence or stability in regulatory policies and outcomes. In the age of a hyper-connected world, it is natural to conjecture that, for food safety regulations, countries would adopt international regulation and regulatory practices, in order to promote trade and expand income sources.

However, the debate risks over-simplification if the discussion stops at this point. National interests are multifaceted, meaning that government agencies cannot be guided by one set of interests only. The developmental needs of various sectors cannot be tackled by one approach. To build on existing theories of regulation, I explore the dynamics of China’s food safety regulation in practice, which has implications for this widely debated question. Continue reading

Policy & Politics announces the 2021 winners of the Early Career and Best Paper Prizes

2020 P&P prize winnersWe are delighted to announce the 2021 prizes for award winning papers published in Policy & Politics in 2020.

The Bleddyn Davies Prize, which acknowledges scholarship of the very highest standard by an early career academic, is awarded to:

Applying design in public administration: a literature review to explore the state of the art‘ by Margot Hermus, Arwin van Buuren & Victor Bekkers from the special issue: ‘Improving public policy and administration: exploring the potential of design’.

The Ken Young Prize, which is awarded to the best article judged to represent excellence in the field published in Policy & Politics, is awarded  to:

When design meets power: Design thinking, public sector innovation and the politics of policymaking’ by Jenny M Lewis, Michael McGann and Emma Blomkamp from the special issue: ‘Improving public policy and administration: exploring the potential of design’.

Brief critiques of the winning articles follow, in celebration of their contributions. Continue reading