Bishoy L. Zaki, Ellen Wayenberg
Policy learning and crises
Over recent years and with a rising number of crises and complex policy issues, policymakers are increasingly engaging in systematic and continuous policy learning. These policy learning processes aim at reaching better understandings of policy issues and their contexts. One of the aims of this learning is to develop better ways of solving societal challenges (through forms of technical learning) or consolidating and cultivating political power (through political learning). In other words, policymakers face problems that are difficult to solve, so they seek out knowledge and information from different sources in order to learn how to effectively solve these problems.
With its longstanding tradition, policy learning research has illuminated several aspects, mainly focused on explaining how policy actors learn, what lessons they come out with, and the role that learning processes play in policymaking. During crises, policy learning can contribute to effective crisis responses. However, it can also cause confusion or induce policy failure.
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Thea Cook, Journals Marketing Executive
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 →
All articles featured in this blog post are free to access until 31 October 2021
Introducing Elizabeth Koebele: our new Digital Associate Editor for Policy & Politics, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, University of Nevada, Reno.
I am thrilled to have begun serving as Digital Associate Editor for Policy & Politics in January 2021. I have spent the last few months taking over this position from my colleague, Oscar Berglund, who now serves as one of the journal’s co-editors. As many of us are beginning to plan for our policy and politics-focused courses next semester, I figured what better way to celebrate joining the P&P team than to share with you some of my favorite Policy & Politics articles that make a great fit on a variety of syllabi? I hope this saves you time and effort in mining our recent articles, while also ensuring your course materials reflect the latest research from the frontiers of the discipline.
My initial suggestions are structured around two general topics that I hope many of you find yourself teaching or studying: one focused on knowledge, and one focused on actors/influence. I’m also sharing my top picks for readings on an increasingly popular policy topic: policy diffusion/transfer. In each case, I’ve recommended three articles that represent some of the most significant research we’ve published recently. Please let me know what you think when you’re compiling your reading lists for the start of the academic year. I’d value your feedback and suggestions for future topics to cover! Continue reading →
Johan Christensen with Sarah Brown
Highlights collection free to access from 1 February 2021 – 30 April 2021
Experts – how influential are they? By Johan Christensen based on his P&P article on Expert knowledge and policymaking: a multi-disciplinary research agenda
“We have to listen to the experts.” During the coronavirus pandemic, this phrase has been repeated by politicians across the world. Only a few years ago, we were told that “people have had enough of experts”. Now experts are back in demand. At press conferences, prime ministers are flanked by public health experts. And governments have set up a dizzying number of expert groups and task forces to examine policy measures to stop the spread of the virus, to formulate strategies to exit the crisis, and even to investigate the government response to the crisis. Continue reading →
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 →