Call for papers: "Policy performance in context"

posted Feb 22, 2016, 10:19 AM by Eva Thomann   [ updated Feb 22, 2016, 10:27 AM ]
Annual Conference of the European Group for Public Administration (EGPA) 24-26 August, 2016, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Policymaking goes on after the policy goals have been decided upon. Even if practitioners are aware of this fact, surprise and even disappointment may follow when the practice of the policy process stays behind the original intentions. The reasons for a perceived gap between intentions and results may be multiple. First, decision-making may entail trade-offs and compromises among a range of values and stakes. Second, a variety of discretionary actors are involved in policy implementation, as legitimately entitled to represent their interests. Third, public functionaries also face situations unforeseen or not intended during policy formation, and beyond direct managerial supervision. Hence, contributing to policy performance goes beyond following the policy-on-paper. Fourth, these factors impact differently on the various societal groups targeted by the policy. Importantly, public policies are embedded in very differing institutional, political, economic and cultural contexts, which affect the extent and ways in which these four sets of factors interact on policy performance. As a result, the effects of policies and instruments may neither be clear-cut nor uniform. 

The workshop of the Permanent Study Group on Public Policy to be held at the EGPA 2016 conference explores the causal factors and social mechanisms contributing to policy outputs and outcomes in varying contexts and inter-organizational settings. What theoretical, methodological and research design approaches may explain empirical variation in policy performance, especially when accounting for contextual variety? The workshop invites both experienced and junior researcher to propose theory-based papers with an empirical and (potentially) comparative character that address the relationship between variation in policy outputs and outcomes and contextual variety as explicitly as possible, especially when more than a single-case study is involved. The aim is to cover a variety of contexts across political-administrative systems, policy fields and types of street-level bureaucracies. 

Abstracts should be uploaded through the submission website by April 15, 2016.

Find the full CfP here.