1st May – 31st July 2021 highlights collection on policy diffusion

Sarah_Brown_credit_Evelyn_Sturdy
Image credit: Evelyn Sturdy at Unsplash

Sarah Brown
Journal Manager, Policy & Politics

This quarter’s highlights collection focusses on the popular theme of policy diffusion, bringing new analyses offering fresh perspectives on this extensive area of scholarship.

In our first featured article on policy diffusion, Daniel Mallinson continues his efforts in offering the most comprehensive analysis to date on how policy innovation diffuses across American states. Although hundreds of articles have tackled the fundamental question of why innovative policies spread, none has fully grappled with the scope of their disparate results.

To fill that gap, this article presents a state-of-the-art systematic review and meta-analysis of how policy innovation flows from US state to US state and the average effects of commonly used variables in the study of policy diffusion. In doing so, it highlights important biases in the research and makes recommendations for addressing those biases and increasing international collaboration on policy innovation research and results. Continue reading 1st May – 31st July 2021 highlights collection on policy diffusion

SPECIAL ISSUE BLOG SERIES: Blog 4 -Big dreams and small steps: regional policy networks and what they achieve

Special issue blog series on strategic management of the transition to public sector co-creation

van gestel and GortenbregNicolette van Gestel and Sanne Grotenbreg

In many Western countries there are high expectations of regional networks in policy areas as diverse as healthcare, energy supply or security. In such regional networks, government is supposed to develop partnerships with private and non-profit parties, to develop solutions to societal problems that have broad support and commitment. Generally speaking, both public and private actors often recognise that they need each other to achieve their goals. But this idea does not generate success by itself. Sometimes actors tend to focus on their own advantage when participating in networksand are not very efficient nor effective in working together. 

Our recent article in Policy & Politics focuses on a study of regional networks involved in labour market policy. Governments, employers, trade unions, clients and educational organisations are jointly looking for solutions to persistent problems, such as discrepancy between vacancies and job seekers, and the lack of job opportunities for people with mental or physical disabilitiesIn other words, they need to solve problems of mismatch and inequality that have increased further during the Covid-19 crisis. Decentralisation and regional cooperation should, in principle, ensure more integrated and efficient public services, but also engender creative solutions that go beyond existing policy frameworks  Continue reading SPECIAL ISSUE BLOG SERIES: Blog 4 -Big dreams and small steps: regional policy networks and what they achieve

SPECIAL ISSUE BLOG SERIES: Blog 3 – How public leaders can use co-creation to make things better

Special issue blog series on strategic management of the transition to public sector co-creation 

sorenson et alEva Sørensen, John Bryson and Barbara Crosby

Governance researchers broadly agree that co-creation can be a productive way of mobilising the resources needed to solve complex societal problems and create something that citizens accept as valuable for society. We still know little about how public leaders can employ co-creation as a means to promote public value, however. In our new article in Policy & PoliticsHow public leaders can promote public value through co-creation’, we propose that co-creation can strengthen the ability of public leaders to align the goals of diverse constituencies in a way that achieves lasting value for the public. This kind of public leadership involves a strategic effort to engage, inspire and mobilise actors with relevant governance assets – including legitimacy, authority and capabilities. We illustrate the salience of our propositions in two case studies that document how politicians and public and non-profit managers perform public leadership of co-created public value in Gentofte, Denmark and Minneapolis‒St. Paul, USA.

The first step in specifying public leadership of co-created public value entails moving beyond traditional understandings of public leadership theory that have mainly focussed on the mobilisation of public sector actors and resources in solving public challenges as defined by politicians and civil servants according to rules and regulations. By contrast, leaders who aim to employ co-creation as a tool for promoting public value seek to mobilise actors and resources across organisations and sectors. The objective is not merely to improve public service delivery. It is also to promote an array of broader public value outcomes, which are not predefined by public authorities but are shaped and reshaped as part of the co-creation process. Continue reading SPECIAL ISSUE BLOG SERIES: Blog 3 – How public leaders can use co-creation to make things better

SPECIAL ISSUE BLOG SERIES: Blog 2 – Co-creation: the new kid on the block in public governance

Special issue blog series on strategic management of the transition to public sector co-creation

Ansell and TorfingChristopher Ansell and Jacob Torfing

In our recent article in our special issue on Strategic management of the transition to public sector co-creation, we reminisce briefly about the time when bureaucracy with its hierarchical command structure and emphasis on compliance with written rules was the only game in town. This was understandable, since the public sector was tasked with solving simple problems through large-scale provision of services such as schooling, health care and social welfare. This task called for exploitation of the bureaucratic forms of organisation propagated by industrialisation.

Then, from the 1970s onwards, the criticisms of the public sector for being inefficient and delivering poor services and failing governance solutions started to grow and the public sector was confronted with the question whether to ‘make or buy’. As a result, we saw the expansion of quasi-markets where public and private service providers competed for contracts and customers. This development turned citizens into demanding, dissatisfied and complaining consumers expecting service without having to contribute anything themselves towards problem solving. In the increasingly cash-strapped public sector, this development seems to be unsustainable. We need to mobilise the manifold resources of users, citizens and private stakeholders in order to provide needs-based services and create new and better solutions through mutual learning and innovation. Continue reading SPECIAL ISSUE BLOG SERIES: Blog 2 – Co-creation: the new kid on the block in public governance

NEW SPECIAL ISSUE BLOG SERIES: Blog 1 – Public value as the game changer for co-creation of innovative solutions in the public sector

Special issue blog series on strategic management of the transition to public sector co-creation

updated special issue editors co creationJacob Torfing, Ewan Ferlie, Tina Jukić and Edoardo Ongaro

During the 1980s and early 1990s, we were consistently told that the public sector was ossified, incompetent and unimaginative, and squandered value produced by the hard-working and innovative private sector. Government was the problem, not the solution, and we should therefore have less state and more market. The neoliberal onslaught on the public sector had begun and public employees gradually developed an inferiority complex.

This nightmarish development was reversed by Mark Moore’s Creating Public Value (1995) who insisted that the public sector creates its own distinctive value. The public sector creates ‘public value’ defined as what has value for the public and public values. Public managers are not merely engaged in securing compliance with bureaucratic rules, but are entrepreneurs engaged in the exploration of new and better service and policy solutions. In this way, the public sector was redeemed and public managers could re-describe themselves as proud guardians of the public interest and producers of public value.  Continue reading NEW SPECIAL ISSUE BLOG SERIES: Blog 1 – Public value as the game changer for co-creation of innovative solutions in the public sector

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 What happens when policymakers limit increases in property taxes?

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

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

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 Analysis of the dynamics of international food regulation in China