Policy & Politics announces the 2023 winners of the Early Career and Best Paper Prizes

We are delighted to announce the 2023 prizes for award winning papers published in Policy & Politics in 2022.

The Bleddyn Davies Prize, which acknowledges scholarship of the very highest standard by an early career academic, is awarded to Dr Libby Maman from the  Institut Barcelona D’Estudis Internacional, Spain, for her article entitled The democratic qualities of regulatory agencies.

In her prize winning article, Maman analyses the democratic qualities of public organisations – transparency, accountability, participation, and representation. These are seen by many as positive and desirable attributes in the context of public organisations, since they reflect the basic democratic value of maintaining power within the public and having citizens take part in and oversee the decisions made by public organisations. However, despite their importance, it is still challenging to measure and compare the extent to which public organisations possess these democratic qualities because a comprehensive measurement tool has not yet been developed.

In this innovative paper, the author addresses this problem through an in-depth qualitative study of regulatory agencies in different sectors and countries. From these data, she has developed a suite of indicators to measure the extent to which these agencies are legally committed to democratic qualities and the extent to which they fulfil them in practice.

In this way, the article advances a research agenda that highlights the role of bureaucracies in promoting pluralistic or majoritarian democratic values. It also makes it possible to assess the degree to which regulatory governance is shifting to a more pluralistic form, becoming more responsive to the public.

Congratulations Libby on this well deserved prize!

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 Sebastian Sewerin, Benjamin Cashore and Michael Howlett, for their pioneering article entitled New pathways to paradigm change in public policy: Combining insights from policy design, mix and feedback. 

In framing their issue, the authors make clear their motivation behind their article, arguing that policy science scholarship is better at explaining policy change in retrospect, rather than formulating forward-looking recommendations about how to achieve paradigmatic change. Potentially even worse, they demonstrate how existing scholarship emphasizes the importance of external shocks in initiating major policy change, which doesn’t augur well for tackling the major problems of our time such as climate change.

Consequently, their prize winning article is an ambitious attempt to challenge the existing literature on the conditions for major policy change. This involved the authors identifying two conceptual and theoretical gaps that might limit how policy scholars think about major or paradigmatic change: 1) a lack of shared understanding of what ‘policy change’ is, and 2) a focus on (changing) policies in isolation rather than on policies as part of complex policy mixes. Against this backdrop, they argue that combining insights from policy design, policy mix and policy feedback literature allows us to identify other pathways towards initiating and achieving paradigmatic policy change.

In this way,  their approach contributes to a more comprehensive explanatory approach within the policy sciences than is currently available. This contribution is a worthy winner of our Best Paper of 2022 prize.

Congratulations Sebastian, Ben and Michael!

Read the winning articles here:

The democratic qualities of regulatory agencies
Libby Maman

 New pathways to paradigm change in public policy: Combining insights from policy design, mix and feedback
Sebastian Sewerin, Benjamin Cashore and Michael Howlett

The views and opinions expressed on this blog site are solely those of the original blog post authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Policy & Politics, the Policy Press and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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