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Collaboration has become an imperative of many new healthcare policies; however, little attention has been paid to how system-level narratives in both policy documents and the media create boundaries that shape implementation processes. By using boundary work as a theoretical lens, this article critically analyses the discourse found in both policy documents and the media surrounding the 2015 Dutch LTC reform. This discourse analysis contributes, first, by revealing two separate narratives – one epic, one tragic – which we argue represent different rhetorical styles used to (de-)legitimise symbolic boundaries. Second, we contribute by unravelling boundary work in both the social and symbolic dimensions to show how the design of the 2015 reform led to a tension-ridden position for local actors: symbolic boundaries demanded integration, while social boundaries imposed differentiation. These findings have implications for literature on boundary work as well as for policy design and its local implementation.

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The evidence-based policy (EBP) movement argues for policy actors, especially public officials, to use scientific evidence on what works to improve public policies. Empirical research in Anglo-Saxon countries shows that public officials do not use scientific knowledge that widely, often preferring other sources of information, such as news media, public opinion and peers. What about countries with low influence of EBP, what informs policy here? Using data from a large-n survey with Brazilian federal bureaucrats we uncover associations between sources of information and factors shaping their preferences, such as policy work and policy capacities. We find that in a civil law system such as the Brazilian administration homemade sources rule: there is a prevalence of use of government sources, especially among bureaucrats performing analytical and oversight tasks, and those in higher positions. Academic sources are associated with higher analytical capacity (of the individual and organisation), but not with any particular policy sector. By investigating an important yet often neglected issue in EBP – the role of different types of information and how they inform policy – this article contributes to the literatures on policy work and policy capacity, especially given its empirical focus on Brazil.

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Brexit has potentially wide-ranging implications for UK policy, although little is known about what these are yet. Now, post the transition period, is a good time to consider its actual impacts as opposed to what was expected by academics, and by proponents of Brexit. In the absence of any established theory of EU-exit, and drawing on insights from (de-)Europeanisation, Brexit energy and climate policy studies, and political economy, this article develops a framework to identify the impact of EU-exit on UK energy policy. This is applied to sustainable energy, an area in urgent need of policy development to meet legally binding national targets. We conclude that, so far, despite leaving various EU bodies there has been relatively little divergence from Europeanised policy; that new UK energy and climate policies, required to replace EU membership benefits, are relatively less effective; and that hard-pressed civil servants have been drawn away from other important policymaking tasks.

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Scholars and journalists have shown that US state legislators often copy and paste policy text from other sources. This ‘policy plagiarism’ is perceived by critics as symptomatic of process failures and likely to undermine policy success. To proponents, copy and paste legislation stems from an efficient learning process likely to guarantee policy success. The authors test competing hypotheses by measuring success and plagiarism across three areas of US state policy: organ donation legislation, e-cigarette/vaping bans for minors and anti-bullying legislation. They find that higher levels of plagiarism result in significantly less success at reducing youth vaping rates and increasing organ donor registrations. They also find a negative, though not significant, relationship between copying and success for antibullying policy. The evidence favours opponents: legislators risk harming policy success by copying from others. This study of policy plagiarism advances knowledge by moving beyond the simple demonstration of the phenomenon to investigate the potential link between the copying of legislative text and the extent to which the policies studied achieved their goals.

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Author: Libby Maman

For decades, independent regulatory agencies were considered undemocratic because of their independence from political control. However, regulatory agencies are increasingly developing practices and organisational designs that reflect the sharing of power with external actors, thereby enhancing their democratic qualities. While scholars have studied these qualities, namely transparency, participation, representation and accountability, a comprehensive measure by which these qualities can be measured and compared has not yet been developed. This article fills that gap by developing indicators to measure mandatory and voluntary democratic qualities following a qualitative analysis of six regulatory agencies. It contributes to the study of regulation and public administration more broadly by advancing a research agenda that illuminates the role of bureaucracies in promoting pluralistic or majoritarian democratic values.

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This article focuses on the conflictual relations at the heart of what we call ‘municipal contestation’. This global phenomenon sees cities and other local governments – sometimes together with non-governmental players – contest policies proposed or implemented by higher governmental authorities, which they perceive as threats to their policy positions or local communities. Bridging public policy studies and social movement theory, we develop a new typology identifying conservative, moderate and radical ideal types of municipal contestation. In addition, we explore the dynamics of contestation, with municipalities ‘moving away’ from the institutional status quo when they shift from conservative to more moderate and radical forms of contestation, or ‘moving towards’ the status quo when they find it difficult to sustain such action. The article illustrates this typology and contestation dynamics by drawing on case studies involving resistance to central COVID-19 restrictions in England; municipal opposition to carbon capture and storage in the Netherlands; and a European campaign against a proposed European Union-United States trade agreement. We conclude how this general framework can be applied, refined, and adapted for further comparative and longitudinal studies.

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Authors: Katie Attwell and Mark Navin

Australian states exclude unvaccinated children from early education and care via ‘No Jab No Play’ policies, but some offer exemptions for the socially disadvantaged. Such mandatory vaccination policies provoke heated arguments about morality and potential downstream impacts, and the politics of which kinds of people get exempted from mandates are often fraught. Synthesising existing frameworks for considering the role of moral principles and rational-technical justifications in policymaking, we show how the same values can be the focus of both ‘rational-instrumental’ and ‘morality’ frames, while ‘pragmatic’ approaches are crowded out by high epistemic or moral certainty.

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Energy markets policy in Great Britain has been largely delegated from elected representatives to a market regulator: the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem). Regulatory legitimacy requires due process and appropriate expertise to expose the regulator to democratic influence. As the legitimacy of regulatory participation processes start to be discussed more intensively in the European context, this timely article examines the relationship between the use of policy formulation tools and the resulting legitimacy gained by an independent market regulator. It employs a detailed case study analysing how participatory policy formulation tools – deliberative focus groups with members of the public, and stakeholder consultations – were used in energy markets policy formulation in Ofgem between 2007 and 2016. Through assessing the actors, venues, capacities and effects associated with selection and use of the tools, it finds there were inequalities of influence between different policy actors which posed a significant challenge to legitimacy.

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Author: Sujata Ashwarya

During her tenure as prime minister of India, Indira Gandhi reaffirmed India’s commitment to three interconnected and overlapping factors that shaped the country’s early regional outreach: Muslims, Arabs and Pakistan. Decisions by the government on the Arab–Israeli conflict, the Palestinian issue and (non-)relationship with Israel were usually ‘path dependent’. Mrs Gandhi, well aware of the significance of the ‘Muslim vote’ to her electoral victories, reaffirmed India’s support for Arabs and the Palestinian cause against Israel, thereby appeasing her domestic Muslim constituency. The establishment of Pakistan as an avowedly Islamic state, combined with the Indo-Pakistani conflict over Kashmir, forced the two countries to compete for the support of Muslim Arab states. Indira Gandhi cultivated Arabs by diplomatically supporting them in their conflict with Israel, first by strongly condemning Israel during episodes of conflict between the two parties and then by unequivocally supporting Palestinian self-determination through diplomatic recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Despite Mrs Gandhi’s pro-Arab statements, India did not receive the same level of diplomatic support from Arab countries, which favoured Pakistan in Indo-Pakistani subcontinental conflicts. In contrast, Israel provided India with both military and diplomatic assistance. Despite this, and despite repeated calls from the opposition, Mrs Gandhi refused to normalise relations with Israel, believing that a pro-Arab stance would be more beneficial to national interests. The attitude portrayed India as completely partisan, preventing it from acting as a mediator in the Arab–Israeli conflict, which was a stated goal of India’s West Asia policy.

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