T02P18 - Coordination in Public Policy

Topic : Comparative Public Policy

Panel Chair : Zeger Van der Wal - zvdwal@gmail.com

Panel Second Chair : B. Guy Peters - bgpeters@pitt.edu

Panel Third Chair : M Ramesh - mramesh@nus.edu.sg

Objectives and Scientific Relevance of the panel

Call for papers

Session 1 Policy Coordination in Comparative Perspective

Coordination issues in the implementation of a National Policy of Payments for Ecosystem Services in Brazil

Biancca Scarpeline de Castro - bianccastro2@gmail.com - Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro - Brazil

Carlos Eduardo Frickmann Young - young@ie.ufrj.br - Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro - Brazil

Environmental services are benefits provided by ecosystems for society, such as climate regulation, water supply, among others. Payments for environmental services (PES) are incentives of various orders, including economic ones, paid by the beneficiaries of these services to landowners to guarantee the preservation or recovery of the ecosystem. PES schemes recognize the economic value of protecting ecosystems and sustainable uses, following the concepts of protector-recipient and user-payer.

Currently, payment schemes for environmental services are multiplying rapidly around the world, whether they are private, coordinated and financed with resources from companies and NGOs, or public, driven and financed by governments at their various levels. In Brazil, PES projects have been spreading rapidly, especially at subnational levels, and there is already a substantial literature on the subject.

At the national level, however, the situation is less developed. There is an ongoing debate in Brazilian Congress in order to establish a law that enables a National Policy for Payment for Environmental Services. This law would encompass all existing PES projects, including parallel objectives of enhancing environmental protection and poverty mitigation.

Nevertheless, the issue of coordination has not been properly addressed in such a complex debate. Hence, the objective of this paper is to present and discuss the multiple dimensions of coordination problems in the effective implementation of a National PES Policy in Brazil.

The paper starts with a theoretical review of the concept of coordination and the possible strategies to achieve it. Next, we present the different dimensions that must be considered by the Federal Executive power (public policy management unit) so that the national PES project is successful. The coordination challenges addressed in the analysis are:

(1)   Coordination challenge between management units and productive agents (coordination with the market);

(2)   Coordination challenge between management units and civil society (coordination with society);

(3)   Coordination challenge between management units of different powers - Executive, Legislative and Judiciary (republican coordination);

(4)   Coordination challenge between management units of different federation levels - Union, States and Municipalities (federative coordination);

(5)   Coordination challenge within the management unit itself (horizontal coordination);

(6)   Coordination challenge between management units and international institutions (international coordination).


To this end, we conducted documentary research and interviews with different stakeholders, including parliamentary advisors and policymakers, to point out the difficulties and the mechanisms that can be used to stimulate effective coordination between the levels mentioned. This paper intends to respond to the real need to create the national PES policy or whether it would be more appropriate to keep projects at subnational levels.

We emphasize that environmental policies face considerable resistance in their implementation since they are usually seen as impediments to economic growth. In this way, realpolitik tries to use the common shortcomings of coordination as an excuse to ignore the growing popular demand for improved management of natural resources.

Co-ordinating services for older people: The Commissioner for the Ageing Act

Adam Graycar - adam.graycar@flinders.edu.au - Flinders University - Australia

Co-ordination of policy is challenging when many players are involved.  In delivering policies that support elderly people the field is very complex as many interests, political, commercial and humane come into play.  The author had responsibility for the implementation of a piece of legislation in South Australia entitled “The Commissioner for the Ageing Act, 1984”.  The policy challenges were formidable.  Key providers included government, the commercial sector, the non-profit NGO sector and families.  In Australia this was complicated by the federal structure where some responsibilities lay with the federal government, others with the state government and others with local government.  This paper will explore the co-ordination issues and discuss the learnings for public administration today.



Adegboyega Adeniran - adegboyega.adeniran@anu.edu.au - Australia National University - Australia

For fragmented water governance arrangements, effective coordination of policy instruments and relevant stakeholders are required for improved governance outcomes. At the policy implementation stage, evidence of disjointed application of policy tools and mechanisms abound leaving in its trail several consequential issues that influences project outcomes.


In most developing countries such as Nigeria with weak statehood and alternative or parallel water Governance arrangement, effective multi-sectoral coordination amongst institutions remains an issue of significant concern (FMWR, 2012; GWP, 2014 p7). Nigeria operates a sectoral approach to water resources management. According to the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, water resources policy design and formulation is a constitutional prerogative of the federal government, although states and local governments are usually expected to adopt and integrate these policies at the respective jurisdictional levels. Several conflicts or challenges arise due to functional misfits at various policy implementation levels.


Further to this, if the whole-of-project approach is considered, adequate research attention should be dedicated to the role of non-state actors (NSAs). Of particular importance are the non-governmental organisations (INGOS and local NGOs) and associated service providers that work with these state organisations in the delivery of water resources development and management. WaterAid, for instance, works with a range of community organisations and local institutions, artisans, water professionals and so on to excite a project.


With increasing decentralisation of decision-making authority to address locale and context-specific challenges and encourage stakeholder participation (Blaikie, 2006; Ribot, 2001), the need for effective coordination increases concomitantly. Calls for improved coordination in polycentric (Pahl-Wostl et al, 2012), and multilevel governance systems have focused on institutional strengthening, but more recent scholarly efforts by Danielle and Barreteau, (2014) have stressed the need for better integration of institutions and people in socio-hydrological systems.


Several questions arise from this multi-level and cross-scale interactions between formal and informal agents and networks. Questions about the appropriateness of the coordination scale, socio-political implications of the process, who coordinates and the power differentials within the process, amongst others.


This paper examines the coordination processes in a multipurpose water project in Southwest Nigeria drawing on theoretical and conceptual perspectives from political sociology, governance and political ecology research. Through a micro-scale analysis, the paper weaves together ethnography and discourse analysis as methodological tools to analyse the interactions and gain an insight into the challenges facing coordination efforts and the effectiveness of such mechanisms, with data collection from archival texts, documents analysis, and participant observation.

Behind the curtains: the invisible hand of formal and informal coordination in innovation policy

Jon Mikel Zabala-Iturriagagoitia - jmzabala@deusto.es - University of Deusto - Spain

Edurne Magro - edurne.magro@orkestra.deusto.es - Spain

Mikel Navarro - mnavarro@orkestra.deusto.es - Orkestra - Basque Institute of Competitiveness - Spain

This paper sheds light into the policy coordination concept and explores its implications for science, technology and innovation (STI) policies. We develop a framework that brings together insights from institutional and public policy theories with concepts from STI policy and innovation systems. This model is evidenced in two regions, the Basque Country (Spain) and Skåne (Sweden). As a result, the paper discusses different types of STI policy coordination according to the institutional settings (i.e. centralized vs. decentralized, agency-based vs. multi-organizational forms) in which they are embedded.

Policy coordination is an important and often neglected issue in STI policy that has been traditionally studied in the literature of institutional theory and public policy itself. However, little attention has been paid to it in other streams such as STI policy, innovation systems, or the recent developments in territorial strategy approaches. Both theoretical contributions and case studies recognize the role played by public bodies and new governance models in facing policy and institutional failures. This is particularly the case in the regional context, where a huge range of complex and multi-level institutional settings coexist and conflicts among interdependent actors take place.

STI policy and the instruments available for its implementation as well as regions have evolved, forming increasingly complex contexts where policy coordination mechanisms have not coevolved. In other words, STI policies are conceived as systemic policies by institutional settings that lack systemic policy-making processes. In fact, it is very common to find (in national or regional domains) policies designed and implemented by an isolated governmental department without any mode of coordination with other (related) policies implemented by other departments or at different levels. In this sense, the literature has provided some possible coordination mechanisms such as the creation of centralized agencies, coordination councils, creation of superministries, etc.

In this paper we aim at making a step forward and explore which are the coordination modes and mechanisms that might best fit into different STI policy-mixes and contexts. We compare two regions which despite being different in many aspects, have many things in common when it comes to STI policy. The two territories count with economies focused on the international scene, register income per capita levels above the EU average and show intense collective organization concerning social cohesion. As to their research orientation, both regions show a similar pattern in the diversity of research areas covered and have a sophisticated innovation system in which STI activities play an important role.

The paper contributes to the literature by analyzing the benefits and limitations of the coordination modes signaled by scholars in the STI stream and point out which coordination modes and mechanisms might best fit into diverging institutional settings.

Session 2 Policy Coordination in Asia

Interdepartmental Coordination to Address Cross-cutting Issues: A Case Study of Logistic Policy in Japan

Sukegawa Yasushi - yasushisukegawa@hotmail.com - National Institute for Defense Studies, Ministry of Defense Japan - Japan

This research project aims to explore what connects Japanese government departments on a shared mission. In Japan, fragmentation in government, especially at the interdepartmental level, has long been subject to public criticisms though some point to the potential or capacity of the Japanese state to coordinate. While it is recognized as in other countries that policy issues are of increasingly cross-cutting nature, the government is still criticized about the lack or failure of coherent policy response. A reformist argument calls for consolidating political leadership for achieving greater coordination. On the other hand, ministries seem to have come to act together gradually in a more frequent and substantial way than in the past even without explicit top-down interventions.

Logistics policy is presented as such a case. Logistics is a cross-cutting issue in Japan which relevant ministries fought over for decades, exemplified by major showdowns between them in the 1990s. However, they began to collaborate in the 2000s and logistics policy is their coproduction now. To explain somewhat successful self-coordination among equals in this case, our approach is to focus on their relationship. Patterns of Japanese interdepartmental relations can be well described by configuring a set of conditions based on Fritz Scharpf (1993, 1997)’s work. Deploying backward mapping and interviews, we wish to identify what condition(s) changed and how that change in turn changed departmental attitude from one of negative to positive toward joint action.  

Studying self-coordination deserves academic attention in the sense that implementation is expected to follow because coordination is derived from the agreement among implementers (whereas self-coordination is slow to develop for the same reason). Findings from this paper which is intended to shed light on a process and mechanism of horizontal coordination without a higher coordinator may contribute to the endeavor to pursue a method of government to address more effectively cross-cutting issues, neither overestimating nor undervaluing the role and power of government departments.

How Administrative Potpourri is Affecting Slow Growth in Housing and Urban Development of Punjab (India): A Study and Reflection of Two Decades

Ravneet Kaur - kravptachd@gmail.com - Punjabi University - India

The year 1995 made a historic landmark in the housing and urban development of the Punjab state in India by making a comprehensive legislation – “The Punjab Regional and Town Planning and Development Act” which paved the way for the establishment of Punjab Regional and Town Planning and Development Board. Also known as “High Powered Board”, this autonomous body is entrusted with the objectives of guiding and directing state level urban planning or setting up of new township authorities, both at the macro and micro levels (region, area, or city wise development etc.) in the state. Under the above said act, the same year also witnessed the creation of an apex body – Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA), which emerged by changing the status of “Punjab State Housing Board”; and “Directorate of Housing and Urban Development.” PUDA is an apex institution in the state to meet the challenges of urban growth by providing a workable framework for overall planned development. A broad explanation can be kept in view that the so called High Powered Board is a policy making body and the implementation of the policies so framed rests with PUDA. It must be mentioned here that the state “Department of Housing and Urban Development” also has its own role in various considerable matters. The period between the last two decades bore witness to the set up of six regional or district level authorities also, vested with the implementation of different policies, master plans, mega-housing projects etc. The delegation to district level authorities was intended for better housing and urban development infrastructure in the state, however, various factors emerged alongside which impeded growth in some parts of the state. One of the major reasons was the reverting of major powers of the High Powered Board to the state department in the year 2006, and from this year onwards some other changes had also taken place which resulted in slow growth. This investigation reveals that organizational structure of the various bodies has created an administrative potpourri, thereby resulting in the slow growth of housing and urban development in the state. Since policy makers at the higher level may not have the necessary information or are aware of the local problems, apart from little or no technical know-how etc. Thus, implementation gets hindered by non-coordination causing delay in decision making; non-completion of projects within due time; litigation in some parts of the state etc. as revealed by the resulting data. Suggestions for bringing innovation in the practices and structuring have also been made in the present paper.


Education Policy in the Philippines: Corrdination Challenges

M Ramesh - mramesh@nus.edu.sg - LKY School of Public Policy - Singapore

Kidjie Ian Saguin - kidjie.saguin@u.nus.edu - Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, NUS - Singapore

Coordination is often seen as an administrative challenge wherein different implementing agencies work at cross-purposes, deliberately or inadvertently. In reality, lack of coordination is a much broader and deeper problem, as it occurs in nearly every policy function.  and at every stage of the policy process. For instance, the definition of the problem and goals may lack coherence, policy decisions may be inconsistent, implementation processes may be out of sync and so on. The problem is particularly acute in social policy sectors whose success especially depends on close collaboration among a varieties of agencies and levels of governments. The current paper will examine the challenges and performance of education policy reforms in the Philippines with focus on coordination. It will examine the goals of reforms, and the nature of allocation of education functions to different agencies and levels of governments to assess the extent to which they are integrated. It will argue that the enthusiasm for decentralization  blindsided policy makers into making choices that compromised effectiveness of the reform measures and enhanced spending.

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