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 Can citizen involvement in the recruitment of front-line employees help to identify candidates who will be effective at co-production?
Recently, we have witnessed deliberate constructions of migration crises, for example, by Victor Orbán, in Hungary in the period 2015–2018, and by Donald Trump, in the run-up to the U.S. 2018 midterm elections. In both cases, Orbán and Trump skillfully exploited the challenges that the general public sometimes faces in determining when a crisis begins and when a crisis is over. Furthermore, both leaders were willing to see certain threats, or at the very least the perception that there is a threat, ramped up in order to advance their political goals. They were able to step up existential warnings while taking advantage of the opportunities that arose as they determined the starting point and other temporal elements of the immigration crises they manufactured. Continue reading President Trump’s Policy Overreaction Style during Manufactured Crises
By Sarah Ayres, Felicity Matthews and Steve Martin
Co-editors of Policy & Politics
We are delighted to announce the 2020 prizes for award winning papers published in Policy & Politics in 2019. Continue reading P&P annual prize announcement
Journal Manager, Policy & Politics
The intellectual aims of the journal Policy & Politics are varied, but if we could only choose one hallmark that signifies a ‘Policy & Politics article’, it would be to foreground the politics of the policy-making process and advance our understanding of that analytical field. Our three featured articles this quarter do precisely that, yet within significantly different theoretical and empirical contexts (pluralism being another hallmark of P&P). Continue reading Policy & Politics Highlights collection on the role of politics in policymaking free to access from 1st May – 31st July 2020
The UK Government’s Alcohol Strategy (GAS), published in March 2012, unexpectedly included a commitment to introduce minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol in England, following the adoption of similar measures by the Scottish Government. Yet just 16 months later, the introduction of MUP was placed on hold indefinitely. Our recent article published in Policy and Politics seeks to explain how and why MUP came so unexpectedly onto the policy agenda in England, before disappearing just as suddenly, and what this tells us about the evolving political dynamics of post-devolution and post-Brexit Britain.
In Scotland, MUP passed into law at the second attempt in 2012 and came into force in 2018 following a six-year legal battle with the Scotch Whisky Association and other industry actors. The emergence of MUP as a viable policy option was, however, a ‘cross-border’ process with developments in Scotland inextricably linked to those ‘down South’, particularly the support for, and background work on, alcohol pricing within the Department of Health. Following its adoption in Scotland, a ’policy window’ opening in which MUP came onto the policy agenda in England also. However, this proved to be short lived. Our article argues that the success of MUP in Scotland and its failure in England can largely be explained in terms of the differing levels of political commitment to the policy in each context. Continue reading How minimum unit pricing for alcohol almost happened in England and what this says about the political dynamic of the UK
Anne Skevik Grødem & Jon M. Hippe
In the current political climate, academic knowledge and topical expertise do not appear to be the most sought-after qualities in political leaders. Increasingly, life in the world’s capitals is portrayed as a battle for power between politicians and civil servants. Incoming politicians are often charismatic, prone to sweeping statements on complex issues, and portray themselves as representatives of the people who will “drain the swamp” and “get things done”. Among the swamp creatures, more often than not, they place civil servants: the dull nerds, obsessed with their rules and budgets, far removed from the people they are supposed to be serving. In this picture, there is a clear rift between the dynamic, if ignorant, politician, and the change-averse, but smart, civil servant. Against this background, it seems more important than ever to discuss: what is the relationship between knowledge and action in politics? Or, to put it differently, does it matter whether politicians know what they are doing? Continue reading Does it matter if politicians know what they are doing?
Journal Manager, Policy & Politics
New virtual issues from Policy & Politics:
Evidence in policymaking and the role of experts
The importance of using evidence in policymaking and debates over the role of experts has never been more crucial than during the current coronavirus pandemic and ensuing public health crisis. From prevailing, long-standing debates over both topics in Policy & Politics, we bring you a collection of our best and most recent articles.
Continue reading Virtual issue on Evidence in policymaking and the role of experts
Markus Holdo, Per Ola Oberg & Simon Magnusson
Political debates often become dominated by the same kind of people: pundits, lobbyists, politicians, and experts, who know how to grab people’s attention and articulate their viewpoints convincingly. These people persuade viewers and listeners, shape public opinion, and influence political decision-makers more than other people do. But debating skills are not necessarily matched by knowledge, nor by a concern about the interests and views of ordinary citizens. In that sense, it could be viewed as a democratic problem that the public conversation is usually shaped by the narrow perspectives of a privileged few.
But how, then, could our public discussions become more inclusive and responsive to ordinary citizens? To this question, political theorists have given two very different answers. Continue reading Do People Use Stories or Reasons to Support their Views?
Thank you to all our reviewers in 2019
On behalf of the authors and readers of Policy & Politics, the Co-Editors wish to wholeheartedly thank those who reviewed manuscripts for us in 2019.
With a high 2 year impact factor of 2.028, and a 50 year tradition of publishing high quality research that connects macro level politics with micro level policy issues, the journal could not exist without your investment of time and effort, lending your expertise to ensure that the papers published in this journal meet the standards that the research community expects for it. We sincerely appreciate the time spent reading and commenting on manuscripts, and we are very grateful for your willingness and readiness to serve in this role.
We look forward to a 2020 of exciting advances in the field and to our part in communicating those advances to our community and to the broader public.
Policy & Politics Co-Editors: Sarah Ayres, Steve Martin & Felicity Matthews
If you enjoyed this blog post, you may also be interested to read:
Narratives as tools for influencing policy change [Open Access]
Three habits of successful policy entrepreneurs [Open Access]
Can experience be evidence? Craft knowledge and evidence-based policing [Free]
E-petitions have become extremely popular over the last decade. They circulate freely and quickly, with most people at some point having signed one. But there is a perennial question associated with them: what’s the point of e-petitions, do they achieve anything? In my recent Policy & Politics article, I approach this issue by exploring the different roles petitions can play, focusing on petitions to parliament. I show that petitions systems perform roles beyond enabling participation and policy change, depending on the types of processes in place to evaluate them. I demonstrate that the processes through which petitions are considered are crucial in shaping the role(s) they perform. Continue reading Can you make a difference when you sign an e-petition?