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Policy capacity: evolving theory and missing links

Policy capacity: evolving theory and missing links We trace the evolution of understandings and applications of policy capacity through a meta-analysis of studies in the policy and administrative sciences that focus on definitions or conceptualizations of capacity, capability or competency, political resources and the functioning of policy systems, and variables or mechanisms leading to outcomes. We critique and disentangle common operationalizations, such as policy success and failure, to enable more complete assessments of whether the state’s policy capacity has diminished in recent times, as often is suggested. Previous research has concentrated on two key properties of the “supply” of policy responses, namely sufficiency and changes over time and across contexts. We argue that there needs to be more consideration of societal demands on governments or governance systems and the (dis)equilibrium between demand and supply generation. Using the analogy of the battery, we propose three interconnected dimensions of policy capacity that better capture the qualities and relationality of supply and demand: administrative capital; contingent political management; and expectations satisfiction. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Policy Studies Taylor & Francis

Policy capacity: evolving theory and missing links

Policy Studies , Volume 44 (3): 19 – May 4, 2023
19 pages

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References (152)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
ISSN
1470-1006
eISSN
0144-2872
DOI
10.1080/01442872.2022.2043266
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

We trace the evolution of understandings and applications of policy capacity through a meta-analysis of studies in the policy and administrative sciences that focus on definitions or conceptualizations of capacity, capability or competency, political resources and the functioning of policy systems, and variables or mechanisms leading to outcomes. We critique and disentangle common operationalizations, such as policy success and failure, to enable more complete assessments of whether the state’s policy capacity has diminished in recent times, as often is suggested. Previous research has concentrated on two key properties of the “supply” of policy responses, namely sufficiency and changes over time and across contexts. We argue that there needs to be more consideration of societal demands on governments or governance systems and the (dis)equilibrium between demand and supply generation. Using the analogy of the battery, we propose three interconnected dimensions of policy capacity that better capture the qualities and relationality of supply and demand: administrative capital; contingent political management; and expectations satisfiction.

Journal

Policy StudiesTaylor & Francis

Published: May 4, 2023

Keywords: Policy capacity; administrative reform; civil service; inputs; outputs; outcomes

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