- Connecting Cognitive and Behavioral Characteristics of Policy Conflict in Oil and Gas Politics - Christopher M. Weible, Tanya Heikkila
The essence of policy conflicts remains largely underdeveloped, both theoretically and empirically. We explore policy conflict and explain its cognitive and behavioral characteristics using data from a survey administered to policy actors involved in oil and gas politics in Colorado, USA. The analysis begins with a description of the cognitive and behavioral characteristics of policy actors and then combines them into a single index to depict varying intensities of conflict. Cognitive characteristics are comprised of three dimensions: disagreement on public policy, perceived threats from opponents, and an unwillingness to compromise. Behavioral characteristics include engagement by policy actors in a range of activities, from mobilizing opponents to providing information to the media. Ordered Logit models are used to associate the attributes of policy actors with cognitive and behavioral characteristics and an index of conflict intensity that combines these two characteristics. The conclusion offers questions and recommendations for future research.
- From ménage à trois back to pas de deux? Ministerial advisers, civil servants and the contest of policy ideas - Richard Shaw, Chris Eichbaum
The institutionalization of the role of ministerial advisers in most parliamentary democracies has transformed what was once à pas de deux between ministers and senior civil servants into a ménage à trois. This article assesses the impact of ministerial advisers on the contest of policy ideas. It makes a theoretical case for paying closer attention to this issue than has thus far been the case, and assesses civil servants' perceptions of advisers' influence on contestability. The core conclusion, which is at variance with much of the scholarship on ministerial advisers, is that advisers pose a greater threat to policy contestability than to civil service impartiality.
- How ideas matter in public policy: a review of concepts, mechanisms, and methods - Marij Swinkels
The recent ideational turn in political science and public administration implies that ideas matter. Ideas are an essential explanatory concept for understanding policy changes and decision-making processes. The aim of the paper is to specify how ideas matter as a variable in public policy research, providing students and scholars of public policy with a stock take of the current state-of-the-art literature on ideas in political science and public administration. The paper first identifies three approaches to ideas as a variable in the policy process. It then discusses where ideas come from and the dynamics and drivers of ideational change to shed light on the ideational mechanisms underpinning policy processes. Furthermore, it taps into different research methods that can be used to study ideas. Finally, the paper concludes with five lessons for future research endeavours on the study of ideas in public policy.
- Reshaping health care governance using pilot projects as public policy implementation instruments - Mélanie De Winter
Pilot projects are often used to test innovations; however, pilot projects, viewed as tools, are rarely addressed as an object for research. This paper, in which pilot projects are viewed as public policy instruments producing specific effects, addresses the research question: how does the use of multidisciplinary pilot projects as experimentation and implementation instruments reshape modes of public governance in the Belgian health sector in a context of transition and ongoing devolution? An ethnographic study was conducted, focusing on the specific case of the Belgian joint plan, “Integrated Care for Better Health”, which targets chronic patients and was intended to initiate a major transition from a fragmented to an integrated care system for chronic patients. The analysis concerns the specific implementation modalities designed by the authorities, which consisted of the launch of pilot projects involving professionals in the field coming from different sectors in an iterative and incremental co-creation process. This choice caused new vertical interdependences to emerge between the levels of the health care system, transforming the roles of both the authorities and hands-on professionals involved; it also denoted a transition towards a more negotiated governance, in the course of which several types of knowledge and evidence have been mobilised.
- Varying Power Configurations and the Accountability of Independent Regulatory Agencies - Fulya Apaydin, Jacint Jordana
Independent regulatory agencies (IRAs) have a significant capability to choose how to implement their decisions to be effective, given the mix of managerial autonomy, supervisory powers and political independence that most of these agencies enjoy. As such, traditional approaches which focus on their institutional characteristics or their reputational problems do not fully capture the variation in IRAs' behavior. This paper suggests a complementary approach to interpreting IRAs' autonomous behavior, focusing on the possibilities that the practice of accountability offers to these public agencies to make relevant choices for the agency itself and the policy environment. To that end, we identify a key background variable that affects the practice of IRAs, namely, the varying power configurations existing among the regulatees and focus on how this factor shapes their voluntary accountability in different contexts. Lastly, we examine several cases of IRA accountability behavior to discuss whether the patterns we submit might constitute a starting point for a theoretical development on the use of accountability by IRAs.
- Coping with COVID-19 in a non-democratic system: Policy lessons from Thailand's centralised government - Piyapong Boossabong, Pobsook Chamchong
Policy analysis in Thailand during these turbulent times (COVID-19) is based mainly on expert opinion expressed under a highly centralised and non-democratic political system. However, the government's claim of scientific rationality shows that political reasons are at play behind the scenes. Moreover, this policy domain does not interact well with the social domain as it is missing the social, contextual and experiential constructions of policy problems and solutions. Scientists are less sensitive to the social mood and fears and are thus unable to cope effectively with the psychological impact of the crisis. The static governmental mechanism also fails to work well with existing organic and flexible governance practices at a local level. This article thus suggests the importance of underscoring the need for efforts to decentralise and re-democratise political systems and suggests the practice of ‘safety participation' to better articulate and integrate the essential relationships between science, politics and citizens.