The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a major social crisis, putting people out of work and unable to satisfy primary needs such as affording food. In response, Italy experimented with a programme of emergency food stamps funded by the national government and delivered by municipalities—a form of assistance never experimented with before in the country. Programme implementation followed the peaks of the pandemic waves; it started with the first lockdown in March 2020, was terminated in the summer when COVID-19 cases approached zero, but was restarted in late autumn when the pandemic struck back. The repetition of the programme over a short time and with the same budget offers a unique opportunity to investigate inter-crisis learning, i.e. if and how lessons from the first wave of implementation contributed to reforms in the second delivery. Did administrations learn from the first food stamp delivery and redesign the second round accordingly? These research questions underpin our recent article published in Policy & Politics entitled Policy Learning in a crisis: Lessons learned from the Italian Food Stamp Programme.
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 →
Sarah Ayres, Steve Martin and Felicity Matthews, Co-editors of Policy & Politics
New virtual issues from Policy & Politics: Evidence in policymaking and the role of experts
During the current coronavirus global health crisis, we reflect on the lessons learned in policy response terms from our most recent published research featuring crises in a range of diverse environments. Continue reading →