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Although equal pay for equal work between women and men is a founding principle of the European Union, enshrined in the Treaties since 1957, the gender pay gap stands at 12.7 per cent in 2021 and has only changed minimally for two decades. This article explores a policymaking paradox: the EU equal pay policy seems unaffected by failure, on the contrary, failure seems to contribute to the legitimisation of the policy. The article asks how and why a policy implementation failure framing has been developed in the field of EU equal pay promotion? What is the political function of this framing and what is its impact on the EU policymaking process? Over the years, the EU equal pay policy has been associated with a repeated experience of implementation failure. This failure framing has been particularly present in the debates over the implementation of the 2006 Recast Directive, especially since this frame has been impelled by the quantitative and symbolic strength of the gender pay gap’s percentage. The article shows that this framing performed important functions. From a policymaking perspective, the implementation failure framing allowed the gender equality policy community to keep the issue firmly on the EU agenda and to ride out the dismantling storm. The article also shows that the analytical definition of what constitutes a policy failure should be more nuanced. To conclude, the article asks if this type of failure framing can continue to produce results in an increasingly polarised context such as that of gender equality.

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Research on local government in the UK during the era of austerity has shown that the decisions taken by local councils to cope with financial stresses were often narrated through the discourse of ‘resilience’, referencing their capacity to innovate and transform services, while protecting service provision in core areas. This emphasis on ‘resilience’ focused on the deployment of strategies to overcome funding challenges. However, this earlier research did not question the longer-term risks, trade-offs and negative social implications associated with such decisions, and how, even in circumstances where these practices provided some ‘breathing space’, in the longer-term they risked adding even more strain to the system as a whole.

This article fills an important research gap by considering four resilience strategies of two local authorities in England: Leicester and Nottingham. These four strategies are: savings, reserves, collaboration and investment. Applying a meso-level perspective and exploring resilience through the lens of crisis management, it asks in what ways and for whom resilience generates positive, zero and negative-sum outcomes.

This research enhances our understanding of the resilience concept by reflecting on its limitations and the risks it poses for local government. It also reveals that, while the concept of ‘resilience’ has been much criticised for normalising crises and generally operating as part of a de-politicising vocabulary, research is lacking on how the practices of resilience produce positive, zero or negative-sum outcomes.

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Migration flows have diversified western societies, challenging the political viability of inclusive welfare states. This is very clear in research on perceptions of deservingness to social benefits, which consistently shows that immigrants are considered as less deserving of collective help than natives. At the same time, welfare states are being reoriented towards social investment, putting more emphasis on services that strengthen human capital and improve access to employment rather than on redistribution. In this article we ask whether the shift towards a social investment welfare state is likely to reduce the immigrant deservingness penalty. Theoretically, we rely on two perspectives: social trust and identity theory. Following the literature on social trust, we expect the reorientation of welfare states towards social investment to reduce the negative impact of diversity on solidarity, as those interventions are to an extent immune to free-riding. Alternatively, according to social identity theory, we expect a similar in-group bias independent of the intervention. We rely on vignette experiments conducted in 2021 in Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the US to compare the immigrant deservingness penalty between social compensation and social investment interventions. Results show no difference between the immigrant deservingness penalty across the social intervention types, suggesting exclusionary attitudes are driven by in-group favouritism.

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The context of this research paper is Cardiff in the UK. Imams from five different mosques were interviewed about integration and whether mosque open days and community activities support community cohesion. The research shows that the imams and their respective mosques are open to others in the local community, and are making efforts to engage with the local population, government agencies, and public services. Clear efforts are being made to encourage community cohesion, with the imams keen to pass on the message of a shared humanity to the wider community. The research provides some unique insights that help to fill the gap in the academic literature on Muslim communities, and may be used to inform policymakers on ways of supporting mosques and local communities in developing intercultural relations and creating an environment that is conducive to community cohesion

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This article analyses how regional actors and national authorities shape and transform ‘the region’ from a geographical place into an object of governance for organising and delivering older person care. Drawing on an extensive ethnographic research project in the Netherlands, our findings show that these actors in interaction constitute the region through three practices: consistently creating urgency to foreground regional problems and solutions; renegotiating regulatory policies to facilitate regional care provision; and reconstructing care infrastructures to materialise regional care provision. Actors use and obtain power from co-existing and interacting institutional arrangements to develop new regional care arrangements. This evokes new interdependencies that reconfigure existing governance arrangements. Studying governance objects in-the-making reveals the required iterations, reconsiderations, and adjustments as processes within a given (ambiguous) institutional context, and which lead to institutional change. As regional organisation policies are increasingly scrutinised, this article provides an interesting and important contribution to this field.

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Punctuated equilibrium theory (PET) has evolved into a comprehensive theory of organisational information processing over the past two decades, with hundreds of studies adopting it to examine various aspects of the policy process. Despite the growing number of studies building on PET, however, our understanding of stability and change in media agendas remains rather limited. I propose a theory that seeks to explain the conditions under which media agendas are more punctuated and test my hypotheses using a dataset of 7 million news stories from 15 newspapers in Belgium, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and the UK between 2000 and 2019. Results, based on an analysis of change distributions and a series of regression models, highlight two important findings: first, punctuations in the media agenda are less severe and frequent than those in other organisational agendas. Second, the severity of punctuations is greater in politicised news and diminished in issue areas related to ‘core functions of government’ (Jennings et al, 2011), relative to non-politicised news and issues outside the core areas, respectively. Results also suggest that despite the varying media and political characteristics of the countries examined in this study, change distributions of media attention are strikingly similar across the country cases. Through this novel and innovative study, the article contributes to PET theory by considering different elements of news stories, as well as re-engaging with the discussion of the relationship between the media and politics.

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This study examines the relationship between coping styles, job satisfaction, and subjective wellbeing among non-profit (NPO) workers serving refugees. A sample of 228 paid and volunteer NPO workers based in Turkey was analysed, revealing generally high levels of job satisfaction and widespread utilisation of coping mechanisms. The most common coping strategies among NPO workers include social support, exercise, and prayer/spirituality. Interestingly, while no significant variations were found in happiness and life satisfaction scores based on coping strategies, there were significant differences in job satisfaction scores. Specifically, employing prayer/spirituality as a coping strategy is associated with higher levels of happiness, life satisfaction, and job satisfaction. These results suggest the potential benefits of incorporating prayer/spirituality into coping mechanisms within the NPO work. Conversely, workers who did not utilise any coping strategies reported the lowest levels of job satisfaction, highlighting the importance of employing coping strategies to enhance job satisfaction in NPO work.

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Why do individuals in democratic societies voluntarily request and support stringent policies? What factors contribute to variations in support for different restrictive measures among citizens? This study examines the micro-level impact of the securitisation narrative on individuals’ voluntary support for stringent policies within a democratic context, using the narrative policy framework. Based on evidence from a conjoint experiment conducted in Taiwan, the study finds that agreeing with the narrative ‘COVID-19 is a national security threat’ does not translate into support for all types of restrictive measures. The contents of the securitisation narrative matter significantly; individuals who are more persuaded by the narratives are more likely to support border containment measures and mask mandates because of how narrative contents were structured. These findings highlight the importance for researchers and policymakers to carefully consider policy narrative contents to effectively communicate and garner support for a range of policies during times of crisis.

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Background

By establishing and implementing an integrated four-year health policy, Dutch municipalities contribute significantly to the protection and promotion of public health. Scientific literature has many insights into integrated health policy, determinants of health and interventions. How is this knowledge used when determining and shaping an integrated health policy? The authors share their experiences concerning the role of knowledge in: 1) determining policy; 2) integrated collaboration; 3) working towards a healthy living environment; and 4) creating a citywide health movement.

Key points

Based on working on an integrated health policy and the setbacks we have encountered, we have experienced that scientific knowledge and models provide a framework for policy implementation, but other types of knowledge about context, processes and practice are just as important. Furthermore, we learned that other factors are often more decisive in policy and implementation, including the interests of individual parties, correct timing, continuity of persons, and courageous administrators. Working on integrated health policy is a continuous process of staying on course and adapting at the same time, in which searching for the suitable knowledge to work in an evidence-informed way must be part of it.

Conclusion

The greatest challenge when using knowledge in practice lies in expanding the collaboration between researchers, policymakers, professionals and inhabitants, for example by using boundary spanners. The collaboration should aim to organise a long-lasting adaptive collaboration aimed at mutual learning. This should focus on shared discussion of relevant knowledge, with less emphasis on pure acquisition and use of scientific knowledge.

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Before the introduction of the household benefit cap in the UK in 2013 the previous mechanism there limited the income of social assistance recipients was the wage stop, operating for four decades between 1935 and 1975. Similar to the benefit cap, the wage stop reflected and reproduced concerns with incentivising unemployed people to labour. This raises questions about why the wage stop was abolished in the mid-1970s when worries about unemployment continued, particularly its intersections with out-of-work benefits. It is widely argued that the abolition of the wage stop was a consequence of lobbying by the Child Poverty Action Group. Drawing upon records held at the UK’s National Archives, this article argues that this is an over-simplified explanation that, first, ignores concerns with the wage stop that pre-dated the Child Poverty Action Group’s criticism of it, including concerns within the assistance boards with its administration. And, second, while by the mid-1970s there was (albeit ambiguous) concern with the impacts of the wage stop, there was a shift in approach that emphasised the supplementation of low wages with social security benefits, rather than forcing social assistance below the assessed needs of households, as being a preferable means of ensuring the incentive to take wage-labour.

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