T03P02 - Disproportionate and Instable Forms of Policy Outputs

Topic : Policy and Politics sponsored by Policy & Politics Journal

Panel Chair : Eva Thomann - escriba@hotmail.ch

Panel Second Chair : Achim Kemmerling - Kemmerlinga@ceu.hu

Objectives and Scientific Relevance of the panel

Call for papers

Session 1

Friday, June 30th 13:45 to 15:45 (CJK 1 - 2 (40))


Eva Thomann - escriba@hotmail.ch - Heidelberg University - Germany

Achim Kemmerling - Kemmerlinga@ceu.hu - Central European University Budapest - Hungary

Disproportionate responses to European Union policy? Customized problem-solving in the food safety sector

Eva Thomann - escriba@hotmail.ch - Heidelberg University - Germany

This paper analyzes the process of European Union (EU) policy implementation by member states in terms of the extent of over- or underinvestment in a policy relative to its goals. In a multilevel governance structure such as the EU, decision-makers devise centralized policies as a response to joint policy challenges such as ensuring food safety. However, recent research highlights that some member states “customize” EU policy when implementing it, by adding or reducing the amount and stringency of the respective rules. From a top-down implementation perspective, the EU policy is the adequate solution/investment to a given policy problem– deviations (customization) are potentially problematic, they could imply red tape or distortions of competition. Correspondingly, earlier studies have termed the phenomenon “over-implementation”. From such a view, customization indicates that member states over- or underinvest in an EU policy. Conversely, a bottom-up view thinks of member states who customize EU policy as especially eager problem-solvers, going even beyond the EU in investing in a policy solution. From such a view, member states correct for inadequate policy responses at the EU level. In confronting these two contrasting view, this paper asks: how does the customization of EU food safety policy affect policy effectiveness?  In order to determine whether and how customization has a corrective or distorting role for policy investment, EU and domestic policies are considered as alternative courses of action that are set in relation with the severity of the policy problem, on the one hand, and domestic policy impacts, on the other.


The empirical case at hand is the implementation of 19 EU food safety rules in 4 old member states (N = 76). The governance of health risk associated to food of animal origin is, due to its situation at the interface of agricultural and food safety policy, particularly complex, gaining regulatory importance, and under-researched. The analysis is based on fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), complemented with formal set-theoretic theory evaluation and targeted analyses of typical and deviant cases. The role of customization is embedded into an explanatory framework that accounts for regulatory design (domestic implementation, monitoring and enforcement structures), political (domestic resistance, influence of interest groups) and organizational factors (resources and personnel). In tracing the implementation of EU directives from transposition to outputs and outcomes at the frontline, the study contributes significantly to understanding the practical solution of common problems in multi-level regulatory systems.


A study on the policy stance of president and political salience of the central administrative agencies

Changho HWANG - selefhoo@naver.com - DONG-A UNIVERSITY - Korea, (South) Republic of

M. Jae Moon - mjaemoon@gmail.com - Yonsei University - Korea, (South) Republic of

Ever since the liberation from Japan, presidents of Korea have continued to pursue policies for the development and growth of the country, which is why the country's administrative operation and policies have been mainly concentrated on economic and industrial factors. Such administrative directions focusing on economic development have gone through a rapid change due to internal external changes in environments. As for the internal changes in environments, Korea has been in a stage of economic maturity due to concentrated economic growth policies. And in terms of the external changes, new sectors such as environment, human rights, and welfare issues are starting to be magnified as a new agenda for the management of a country as it enters into the 21st century. In other words, president's policy stance which can be referred to as a value pursued by the government or as a direction of the country has been constantly changing in response to the changes in internal and external environments.

President has the highest authority to exert political influence as the head of the executive branch. President exercises authority over human resources to design and execute policies for the realization of his or her national philosophy and has a major influence on establishing policy agendas of the administration. Such political influence of the president is clearly revealed in a governmental reorganization accompanying a transfer of power. In general, president aims to organize a new cabinet through a governmental reorganization so that administration can effectively execute and sometimes control his or her policy stance. This is why a newly organized administration preferentially designs and executes policies that accord with the president's policy directions. Putting it differently, the administration actively pursues policies coinciding with the policy stance of president who is the strongest political actor surrounding the organization and in the process, government departments emulatively tend to follow the president's policy directions, which is called political salience.

Political salience is a concept for understanding the level of influence of political environment, which is used to explain the level of interest influencing the commitment of external agencies or pubic institutions (Lee & Rainey & Chun, 2009). Depending on the influence of a political actor, policy goals or priorities emphasized by each government department may change. While political actors surrounding government departments may vary depending on interests, the one who exerts the greatest influence on administration in general is president. This is why government departments reorganized through a governmental reorganization cannot be operated independently excluding a strong political environmental factor called president and as a result, there is a possibility that a government organization that shows a strong political salience in the process of pushing ahead with the policies reflecting the president's will.

Therefore, based on such critical mind, the author would like to suggest the following research questions: First, how do the efforts to realize policy directions of president change depending on the nature and characteristics of a government department and the tenure of president? Government departments revamped under the influence of president have a strong tendency to realize policy directions of the president. If so, how is this tendency different between departments that have different functions or nature such as departments, offices, and committees? Second, how are the tendencies to realize president's policy stance between the existing departments and newly organized ones different? Third, how are the tendencies to realize president's policy directions between departments that have relatively strong power and the ones without? Fourth, how do the efforts of each department change in accordance with the passing of the president's tenure?

The executive branch tends to try to actively realize policy directions pursued by president as it tends to be reshuffled due to the will of a president or depending on political needs. This study has its significance in that it examined how these tendencies change depending on the nature and characteristics of government departments and the tenure of president and empirically analyzed whether such government departments are actually reflecting the president's policy stance in executing various political projects or they just pretend to follow the policy stance in disguise.


State management issues in Latin America. Assessing “patterns of mismanagement” through empirical evidence from Argentina (2007-2015)

Luciano Andrenacci - lucianoandrenacci@yahoo.com.ar - Universidad Nacional de San Martín (Argentina) - Argentina

Julian Bertranou - jbertranou@hotmail.com - National University of San Martín, Argentina - Argentina

In all Latin American countries, the performances of most state agencies in all sectors and levels of government are very frequently found to produce low, insufficient or unstable impacts, relative to public and expert expectations, as well as legally and/or ethically objectionable ways and procedures. Among most political scientists in our countries, these governance problems are straightforwardly attributed to politics, as if the public policy process was a mechanical outcome of political arrangements and decisions. Political regimes, governments and governing coalitions, or even specific figureheads, are deemed either incapable to adequately plan the right strategies necessary to solve development management issues, or too capable to model the public policy processes according to their interests and will. Yet, little or no interest is placed on what actually happens between political arrangements, decisions and outcomes. Probably because of the obvious methodological and political difficulties facing substantial research in the field, a surprisingly low number of studies actually dig relevant evidence about what goes on in the corridors and offices of public agencies, among decision makers, cadres and clerical workers. In this paper we propose an analytical strategy designed to detect state management issues, and to trace them, especially during phases of public policy design and implementation. Using this observation guide to scour information in a number of recent relevant public policy processes in Argentina -from the moment the state identifies an issue and addresses it with policies, until the moment there are results to be assessed- we isolate a few recurrent and path dependency generating problems that we propose to call patterns of mismanagement. Although more substantive research would be necessary to ascribe causes and consequences to such patterns, we put forward some educated conjectures about their genesis and inertial effects. Even if inextricably tied to politics and political regimes, these patterns show an interesting “life of their own” that, we insist, deserves better -if possible, comparative- understanding. Such new knowledge could provide keys to design better responses to public policy problems in the developing world, as well as to understand why and how classical capacity building strategies repeatedly seem to fail.

Proportionate adaptation for climate risk management under uncertainty

Sreeja Nair - sreeja.nair@u.nus.edu - Singapore

Policies are continually being designed for current and future conditions about which policymakers often have incomplete or no information at all. Climate change is a good example of a complex and unstructured policy problem that is characterized by a high degree of uncertainty. Given the likelihood of non-linearity in the future climate, the impacts associated with climate change may be manifested to varying extents (IPCC, 2007). However other kinds of policies exist in which uncertainty is minimal or manageable, such as what happens in transportation policy-making or health policy-making where historical data and linear relationships greatly reduce risks associated with uncertain futures. Failing to correctly identify the bounds and range of these uncertainties is a major cause of policy over and under-reaction (Maor, 2012; Maor, 2014) and over and under-design.


Enhanced experimentation and learning can be instrumental in “keeping pace with the dynamic drivers and expressions of risk” (O’Brien et al, 2012). Pilots form a common and important form of policy experimentation and involve the “phased introduction of major government policies or programmes, allowing them to be tested, evaluated and adjusted before being rolled out nationally” (Cabinet Office, 2003). Using the example of adaptation policies for climate change, this paper conceptualizes that for policy design under uncertainty it is important to utilize ‘appropriate’ design processes such as policy experimentation that can generate outcomes that are ‘proportionate’ to the level of change in the policy environment (uncertainty). This paper focuses on the design of policy experiments to yield proportionate policy responses given the uncertainty in the policy environment in the short-and long-term, and related challenges. Responses can range from incremental to transformative with change in the policy environment. Barriers to development of proportionate responses are also discussed.


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