New Perspectives in Policy and Politics
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Immigration has transformed the social, economic, political and cultural landscapes of global cities such as London, Melbourne, Milan and Amsterdam. The term ‘superdiversity’ captures a new era of migration-driven demographic diversifications and associated complexities. Superdiversity is the future or, in many cases, the current reality of neighbourhoods, cities, countries and regions, yet the implications of superdiversification for governance and policy have, until now, received very little attention.
First published as a special issue of Policy & Politics, this insightful volume brings together contributions from experts across Europe to explore the ways in which superdiversity has shaped the development of policy and to consider challenges for the future.
This chapter assesses transmigration. Within the fields of migration studies and superdiversity, transmigration and its impact on social policy are still underexplored. Yet, the rising number of transmigrants within Europe — from outside the EU as well as intra-EU-mobility — does not only challenge ideas of belonging and integration, but also existing concepts of governance and social policy. By foregrounding the cases of Brazilian, Ghanaian, and Moroccan transmigrants residing in Belgium in 2014–15, the chapter contributes to a scientific debate regarding these topics. It presents the results of a research project in the two main superdiverse Belgian cities (Brussels and Antwerp), focusing on the social problems and vulnerabilities that relate to transmigration and its inherent temporality and the way that these are experienced and addressed by social workers in superdiverse urban areas within policy frameworks that often do not (yet) recognise the changing context.
This chapter explores the role of urban planning in responding to migration-related superdiversity. While previous research has been undertaken on urban planning and the multicultural city as well as planning and diversity in the city, little attention to date has focused on the challenges of increasing superdiversity for urban planning. Urban planning has engaged with diversity in three main ways: i) to manage social difference in situations where difference has been associated with disadvantage or interpreted as disorderly; ii) to commodify and use the features of cities for urban tourism or urban regeneration purposes; and iii) to regulate public spaces and facilities where there is conflict over their use between ethnic groups. In relation to superdiversity, this means that a broad view of urban planning is required, and which involves urban planning being defined as a key element of wider strategies of urban governance and management. In so doing, urban planners need to think about how to balance competing interests, how to recognise and address specific needs, and how to respond to people in increasingly diversified (or diversifying) settings.
This chapter re-assesses some of the literature on policy transfer and policy diffusion, in light of ideas as to what constitutes failure, partial failure, or limited success. Rather than frame a policy transfer as a failure or success, scholars must recognise transfer (and so failure) as a messy process involving an array of meso-level actors. Two aspects are of particular note. First, the treatment of imperfect transfer as underscored by flawed lesson-drawing is useful as it takes one back to questions about the depth of learning. Second, the chapter highlights two aspects of learning that are often overlooked in mainstream accounts: ‘negative lesson-drawing’ and selective learning. Negative lesson-drawing is a quest to avoid policy failure where policy learning is not synonymous with policy adoption. Instead, policy lessons can help crystallise what ideas and policy paths decision-makers do not wish to follow.
This chapter examines situations in which the incentives of partisanship can encourage a government to actively seek to exacerbate an existing policy failure rather than to repair it. Under these circumstances, the certain benefits of shaming the political opposition outweigh any potential rewards of improving specific policy outcomes. The chapter considers two cases of policy failure in the late 1990s in the transportation sector. The first case explores an effort by the British Columbia Ferry Corporation (BC Ferries), a public provider of marine transportation on Canada's west coast, to introduce a fleet of high-speed aluminium catamaran ferries (the ‘fast ferries’). The second case investigates a public–private partnership scheme to build and operate an urban rail link between the central business district and the airport in Sydney, Australia (the Sydney Airport Link). In both cases, policy options were presented that had the potential to mitigate financial losses and to redirect the project back toward the achievement of stated policy objectives. However, these options were rejected by decision-makers in favour of actions that did nothing for the success of the project but that did deliver some short-term political and electoral rewards.
This chapter discusses the impact of different types of learning on the success and failure of the transfer of the famous Silicon Valley Model (SVM) of innovation. Working with the idea of ‘adaptive learning’, it underlines the importance of understanding the learning process, and critically, the depth of learning that underpins policy transfer. Policy transfer is ‘a process in which knowledge about policies, administrative arrangements, institutions and ideas in one political setting (past or present) is used in the development of policies, administrative arrangements, institutions and ideas in another political setting’. Thus, knowledge exchange is highly dependent on the setting it occurs in as well as on the individuals involved in the process. There are different degrees of transfer: copying, emulation, combinations, and inspiration. These categories move from direct and complete transfer to searching for inspiration to create policy change. The chapter looks at four cases to demonstrate how different learning processes generated by actors at the meso-level, mainly networks of stakeholders and experts, mediate the extent to which policy transfer is a success or failure.
This chapter explores how dysfunctional forms of policy learning impact policy failure at the meso-level. Using the long-running policy failure of the management of bovine tuberculosis (BTB) in England, analysis focuses on negative lessons generated by the interactions of an epistemic community of scientific experts and civil servants charged with balancing the competing interest actors to craft a workable policy. The chapter then outlines the capacity challenges faced by decision-makers engaged in epistemic learning and the ways in which advisory relationships can go wrong and learning can degenerate. These degenerations are understood as rooted in failures in government's organisational capacities. Empirically, the analysis of BTB policy in England finds that epistemic learning degenerated as a result of weaknesses in the government's analytical and communicative capacities. The chapter concludes with some reflections on the value of learning theories as a conceptual lens for policy failure.
This chapter studies the connections between repeated assessments of policy failure, the catalysts of deinstitutionalisation, and subsequent opportunities for system-wide policy learning and reform. Selected evidence from the reform trajectory of Australian health insurance policy from the mid-1970s to late-1990s is used to explore these possible relationships. Here, failure delegitimised health policy institutions, making them increasingly vulnerable and giving them weak learning capacity to reform in anything but a suboptimal way. The result is a cycle of failure and dysfunctional learning. The Australian health insurance case allows one to catalogue at least one pattern of the relationships between policy failure, deinstitutionalisation, and learning. Three core analytical arguments underpin this pattern. First, policy failures create opportunities for learning at a system-wide level, only after institutions have been eroded and exhausted by repeated failure. Second, this first claim holds in both the expert and political inquiry dimensions of policy failure. Third, learning processes are related to the particular sequence of deinstitutionalisation processes; in particular, initial deinstitutionalisation in the expert domain creates the conditions for political learning processes.
First published as a special issue of Policy & Politics, this updated volume explores policy failures and the valuable opportunities for learning that they offer.
Policy successes and failures offer important lessons for public officials, but often they do not learn from these experiences. The studies in this volume investigate this broken link. The book defines policy learning and failure and organises the main studies in these fields along the key dimensions of processes, products and analytical levels. Drawing together a range of experts in the field, the volume sketches a research agenda linking policy scholars with policy practice.
This chapter provides an overview of policy learning and policy failure, both of which are classic topics of policy studies. The links between the two literatures appear obvious, yet there are very few studies that address how one can learn from failure, learn to limit failure, and fail to learn. This book offers a rare attempt to bring these two literatures together. The chapter then begins by defining policy learning and failure before organising the main studies in these fields along the key dimensions of processes, products, and analytical levels. Learning and failure studies are beginning to offer analysis in and for the policy process that concentrates on the prescriptive techniques that can help on the ground. Intellectual endeavours on the design implications of learning and failure are still in their infancy, but two streams of activity are making headway. For learning, analysis of international organisations makes particularly strong offerings on how governments should learn. Different instruments and methods for cross-national learning include: benchmarking, peer review, checklists, facilitated coordination, and extrapolation. Meanwhile, the prescriptive turn in failure studies is less concerned with how not to fail and more focused on its inverse — how to succeed in policy making.