- During Disaster: Refining the Concept of Focusing Events to Better Explain Long-Duration Crises - Rob A. DeLeo, Kristin Taylor, Deserai A. Crow, Thomas A. Birkland
- When red tape saves time: The Anti-corruption controls for the 2015 Universal Exposition - Simone Busetti, Bruno Dente
When a major corruption scandal emerged during the organisation of the 2015 Universal Exposition in Milan, the government set up a brand-new system of preliminary controls for the procurement of all Expo contracts. Controls can certainly be beneficial in many respects, but they inevitably complicate procedures and even produce delays and red tape. Indeed, for a time-pressed schedule as that of the 2015 Expo, preliminary controls were considered a fatal blow. Contrary to expectations, not only bureaucratic delays did not materialise, but controls actually sped up procedures. Therefore, it is worth explaining and learning from this unique outcome. Can it be replicated in other cases? We answer this question by building a model of controls based on programme and non-programme features that support three causal mechanisms: threat attribution, repeated interactions, and actor certification. Such a model is an indispensable tool for designers; it allows to explain how controls work in practice and provide clues on how to adjust the design of the policy to changing contexts. In this respect, the analysis of the Expo controls and their subsequent replications raises several methodological issues relevant to extrapolation-oriented research.
- Protecting Rights in the Policy Process: Integrating Legal Proportionality and Policy Analysis - Mordechai Kremnitzer, Raanan Sulitzeanu-Kenan
This paper provides an integrative analysis of legal proportionality and policy analysis, and identifies the inherent potential of integrating the proportionality principle in policy analysis for enhancing the protection of rights in the policy process. Our analysis entails three key recommendations: (1) Mandating the inclusion of a rights-impact criterion in policy analysis in order to increase the likelihood that the three proportionality tests will be addressed; (2) The professional norm of considering several distinct alternatives serves the normative requirement of the necessity test and facilitates the mitigation of rights restrictions through the comparison and modification of the alternatives; (3) Requiring policymakers to present the factual basis for the undesirable phenomenon in the course of judicial review of the policy goal. Such integration of policy analysis and proportionality can streamline the consideration of fundamental rights in the policy-making process and consequently increase their protection. Adopting these practical measures may substantially assist courts in identifying ways to implement judicial review, while respecting the discretion of policymakers. Finally, these proposed practices are expected to fine-tune the incentive structure of policy-makers for conducting quality policy analysis while protecting human and civil rights.
- Investigating ACF Policy Change Theory in a Unitary Policy Subsystem: The Case of Ghanaian Public Sector Information Policy - B. Timothy Heinmiller, Emmanuel M. Osei, Eugene Danso
In 2019, the government of Ghana overhauled its access to public information rules through the Right to information Act. Prior to this legislation, access to public sector information was not formally regulated and the new legislation provided a legal framework for making public sector information accessible to the general public. From an Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) perspective, the passage of the Right to Information Act represents a major policy change and provides a case in which the ACF theory of major policy change can be investigated. This case is also interesting because it took place in a unitary policy subsystem, as opposed to a competitive or collaborative subsystem. Unitary subsystems are characterized by a single, dominant advocacy coalition, in this case a pro-transparency coalition, and are relatively uncommon in the ACF literature. The purpose of this paper is to investigate ACF policy change theory in the Ghanaian public sector information policy subsystem – as a unitary subsystem – to determine whether it can explain the major policy change that took place with the passage of the Right to Information Act. The investigation finds strong empirical support for the ACF's ‘pathways' hypothesis and moderate support for the ‘power' hypothesis.
- Ambiguity, Uncertainty and Implementation - Kristin Taylor, Stephanie Zarb, Nathan Jeschke
In policy implementation the roles of ambiguity and uncertainty have been theorized but insufficiently tested. This study contributes to the policy process literature by arguing that ambiguity and uncertainty are two sides of the same coin in implementation. Their effects are linked to the credibility of policy, the clarity of goals, and agency capacity. We analyze ambiguity and uncertainty through the lens of post-disaster policy in local government using primary qualitative data from 22 local government officials across 8 counties and 6 cities that were affected by Hurricane Harvey. We find that the credibility of a policy is evaluated separately from the credibility of the formulator; experience moderates the effects of ambiguity; and uncertainty in implementation has a similar effect as ambiguity and is not lessened with more information. The distinction between the political manipulation of ambiguous circumstances and the rational, technocratic approach to gathering more information to reduce uncertainty may be less clear than previously considered.
- Patterns of Democracy Matter in the COVID-19 Crisis - Nils C. Bandelow, Patrick Hassenteufel, Johanna Hornung
COVID-19 poses a new challenge to governmental decision-making. With a great level of uncertainty regarding the roots, distribution, prevention, and effects of the pandemic, and with scientific insights and recommendations changing on a daily basis, politicians face the difficult task of reacting quickly but justifiably to the developments. Neo-institutional perspectives of policy research can contribute to the understanding of similarities and differences in strategies to deal with the pandemic by focusing on the interrelationship of institutions and the policy process. A comparison of France and Germany highlights the effects of different patterns of democracy. In what way does the national institutional setting, particularly federalism and centralization, contribute to decision-making? How are political decisions instrumentalized in public debates? The findings indicate that the different patterns of democracy in France (unitary majoritarian system) and Germany (federal consensus system) provide distinctive challenges and make it difficult to transfer successful policies from one country to another.