Between rule-makers and rule-takers: Policy change as the interaction of design, compliance and feedback

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

How do policies change? The article argues that dominant public policy theories overemphasise the stage of adoption of new policies and disregard the discrepancies that often take place between formal and substantive change. But can we really speak of change if formal changes do not trigger change in actors’ behaviour? And how can policy-makers achieve substantive change? Building on the comparative political economy literature, the article conceptualises policy change as the interaction between rule-makers and rule-takers. It is argued that (i) rule-makers can use policy design strategically to minimise reliance on non-compliant rule-takers and (ii) the scope for rule-makers to side-line non-compliant rule-takers is greater if non-compliant behaviour produces negative policy feedback. Systematic process analysis of reform of German higher education over two decades lends support to the proposed approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
JournalJournal of European Public Policy
Volumenot available
Early online date10 Nov 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Nov 2020

Keywords

  • higher education
  • institutional change
  • policy change
  • policy design
  • policy feedback

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