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date: 29 March 2023

Implementation Capacity and Evaluation Capacitylocked

Implementation Capacity and Evaluation Capacitylocked

  • Adrian KayAdrian KayInstitute of Policy Studies, Universiti Brunei Darussalam


The study of policy implementation and evaluation is the subject of a conflict between the viewpoint that the quality of public administration is defined by its capacity to implement policy faithfully and accurately, as it has been designed and promulgated, and the viewpoint that policy as it is practiced and delivered on the ground to citizens will only ever bear a passing similarity to policy as the purposeful design of central policymakers. As elsewhere in public administration, this conflict is far from a creative engagement and lacks a definitive resolution between the main schools of policy implementation that stress, in turn, top-down or bottom-up approaches. Progress has been made in the recognition that policy implementation and policy evaluation have become increasingly, in theory and practice, less distinct from one another and are best understood as different values of the same thing—policy feedback—rather than analytically different things. In this line of inquiry, the contextual analysis of implementation and evaluation is critical, and recent work has begun to uncover important success factors not conventionally labeled as implementation and evaluation. Connections between the study of implementation capacity and evaluation are now able to be made with prominent public administration debates on scale, complexity, and participation. These connections hold promise for future research.


  • Policy, Administration, and Bureaucracy

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