Recently, there has been growing interest in the nature and scope of citizens’ roles in addressing complex wicked policy problems which perhaps has piqued during the COVID-19 global pandemic. This is largely due to recognition by governments and businesses that they cannot effectively solve seemingly persistent and intractable societal problems without active and voluntary participation from a range of policy actors, including citizens. Continue reading →
The study of policy design has been of long-standing interest to policy scholars. Considering the renewed attention to researching policy design in the last decade, it is an opportune time to forge new pathways for developing this critical line of scholarship. In their recent article in Policy & Politics, authors Saba Siddiki and Cali Curley seek to take stock of the developments in policy design research, especially as they coincide with other developments in the study of the policy process. Continue reading →
The various approaches to studying policy processes differ by their attention to distinct questions, issues and theoretical emphasis. Some zoom into particular “stages” of policymaking such as agenda setting (Multiple Streams Analysis), while others pay attention to long term patterns in policy evolution (Punctuated Equilibrium Theory). Several explore how policy actors form coalitions, communicate, strategize, and influence policy outcomes (Advocacy Change Framework, Narrative Policy Framework, Social Construction Framework). Continue reading →
We wanted to share some of our readers’ favourite content that you might have missed. Please enjoy free access to some of our most read and highly cited articles, along with some of our editors’ highlights from recent issues. Continue reading →
In the past year, rioters have stormed the US Capitol building trying to overthrow a presidential election, protestors have marched against police brutality in support of Black Lives Matter, governments have spent trillions of dollars on bailing out the economy, people are protesting mask mandates and lockdowns, and white supremacy and anti-fascist movements are growing daily and seeking a revolution. This is all occurring while the world faces the largest public health crisis in over a century. People are angry and anxious about today’s politics. Can theories and frameworks of public policy explain the influence of emotions? My conclusion based on my recent research published in Policy & Politics is no. Continue reading →
Policy innovations and experiments have been considered a cornerstone of China’s economic rise in the past decades. However, the adoption of innovations by local governments is not always mandated by the central government, as one may expect in the case of a strong, centralised, and authoritarian state like China. Instead, higher-level governments often take a laissez-faire approach and merely sponsor some innovations without actively getting involved in the process of adoption. In our recent article in Policy & Politics, we aim to answer the question of why higher-level governments intervene proactively in local innovations in some cases but only offer their backing in others. Continue reading →
Street-level bureaucrats (SLB) are those workers who have direct contact with citizens while delivering services to them, for example teachers, police, counsellors, and health workers. They are very important both for the state and for citizens for several reasons. for example, they are the “face” of the state for many citizens, they are the “last mile” individuals in the policy implementation process and in the hierarchy of the organisation, and they also have significant power to allocate resources. Consequently many research studies, including ours, analyse street-level bureaucrats’ behaviour and how they interact with citizens. In our recent research article in Policy & Politics on How street-level bureaucrats use Conceptual Systems to categorise clients, we observe one specific aspect of SLBs’ work: how they classify types of citizens to decide who should receive each kind of service. We analyse this phenomenon by observing teachers. Continue reading →
I’m Doug Cooley, and have just finished a one-year Masters in Public Policy at the University of Bristol, home to the Policy & Politics journal. I hope to use this MPP as a basis to conduct future academic or practical policy work. During the year, I have focussed my research on various theoretical concepts, including policy transfer, and power structures in the policy process, applying these concepts to neoliberal mechanisms in the Global Financial System, and to the UK’s local governance structures. I am delighted to have won the Policy & Politics prize for achieving the highest overall mark on the unit ‘Power, Politics and the Policy Process’ as part of the MPP programme.
In this post, I highlight a piece of my work which explores the link between policy transfer, which I define as replication of policy instruments between polities, and institutional isomorphism, or the convergence of organisational structures and governance mechanisms. The relative lack of literature on the link is surprising, given how intuitively similar these ideas are, and the different normative connotations of the two concepts. Policy transfer emphasises the benefits of learning between polities, whereas institutional isomorphism is seen as a constraining influence on innovation. Continue reading →
My name is Lara and I’m currently about to enter my final year of the BSc Social Policy with Criminology undergraduate degree at the School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol (home of the Policy & Politics journal). Winning the student prize for the ‘Understanding Public Policy’ unit came as quite a surprise, but I’m thrilled and honoured to have been chosen. All of my peers are brilliant thinkers and so very talented, so to win has given me a lot of confidence in my academic ability.
One of the main things I loved about the ‘Understanding Public Policy’ unit was the ability to write about such a broad variety of topics. One of the essays I enjoyed the most focused on two key questions around power within policymaking in the realm of behavioural economics – who is given the authority to make decisions on behalf of the greater good, and why are those decisions considered the right ones to make? Continue reading →
Policy & Politics is a top ranked international journal based at the School for Policy Studies. It has been publishing leading edge research on public policy and politics for 49 years and is keen to engage with young researchers early in their careers: starting with you!
So, in collaboration with our teaching staff, we’re delighted to announce two student prizes in 2021 at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Continue reading →