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Article

New Policy Instruments  

Anthony R. Zito

New policy instruments have come onto the policy agenda since the 1970s, but there is a real question about whether the ideas behind the design of such tools are actually all that “new” when you assess the role of the policy instrument in its particular institutional and policy context. Taking Hood’s 1983 categorization of instruments as tools that manipulate society to achieve public goals via nodality (information), authority, treasure (finance), or organization, we can find instances where innovations in these areas predate the 1970s. Nevertheless, the mention of these instruments in international organizations such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and national institutions and debates as the means for both improving governance and protecting economic efficiency has increased in light of a number of interacting trends, including the rise of neoliberal and new management ideologies, the increasing perception of a number of wicked problems (e.g., climate change) and nested, politically sensitive problems (e.g., health and welfare policy), and a rethinking of the role of the state. A typology is offered for differentiating changes and innovation in policy instruments. Some very notable and complex policy instruments have reshaped politics and public policy in a particular policy sector; a notable example of this is emissions trading systems, which create market conditions to reduce emissions of climate change gases and other by-products. Information and financial instruments have become more prominent as tools used to achieve policy aims by the state, but equally significant is the fact that, in some cases, the societal actors themselves are organizing and supporting the management of an instrument voluntarily. However, this obscures the fact that a much more significant evolution of policy instruments has come in the area that is associated with traditional governing, namely regulation. The reality of this “command and control” instrument is that many historical situations have witnessed a more flexible relationship between the regulator and the regulated than the term suggests. Nevertheless, many OECD political systems have seen a move toward “smart” or flexible regulation. It is increasingly important that those who promote this new understanding of regulation see regulation as being supplemented and supported by and sometimes reinforcing new policy instruments. The integration of these “newer” policy instruments into the regulatory framework represents perhaps the most significant change. Nevertheless, there is some reason to question the real impact that new policy instruments have in terms of effectiveness and democratic legitimacy.

Article

Governance Through Civil Society  

Jacob Torfing

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the role of civil society in public governance, defined as the process of steering society and the economy through collective action and in accordance with some common objectives. Civil society holds valuable experiences, resources and ideas that may be mobilized in support of public governance processes. The heightened interest in civil society has stimulated scholarly debates about the conceptualization of civil society that tends to be defined as an institutional realm of private associations, voluntarism, and active citizens. The theoretical perception on the role of civil society vis-à-vis public governance seems to have moved from mainly considering the governance of civil society and governance in civil society to focusing on governance with civil society through various forms of collaborative network governance and co‑creation processes. In other words, civil society is no longer perceived merely as a target for public governance initiatives promoted by state agencies, nor is it solely praised for its capacity for self-governance. Civil society has been re-casted as a competent and resourceful partner in processes of co-governance in which public and private actors create a common ground for joint problemsolving. The new research on co-governance prompts analysis of the conditions for engaging civil society actors in public governance, the potential benefits and problems of governance based on interaction with civil society, and the need for meta-governance of cross-boundary collaboration. Civil society is often associated with local, place-bound groups and associations, but it is equally important to consider the prospects for global governance to involve the emerging global civil society. The interest in how civil society can play a role in and contribute to public governance has come to stay and prompts us to reflect on future research avenues, including the key question of how we can create platforms for cross-boundary collaboration between public and private for-profit and non-profit actors. As such, the re-casting of civil society as a partner in the co-governance of society also seems to transform the state from an authority standing above society to an opportunity structure that promotes cross-boundary collaboration and co-creation of public value outcomes.

Article

Research and Development in European Union Politics  

Alberto Quadrio Curzio and Alberto Silvani

The European Union (EU) research policy was founded on the idea of cooperation among countries after the end of World War II, and consequently it has been influenced in increments. But it also has advantages because of its specificity. So the EU becomes not just the simple sum of all the member states’ contributions but something different, based on a variety of scales and actors, including a vision (and sometimes a mission). This is the reason why the research policy should be examined both in its evolution as such and in light of the relevant steps considered crucial for the development. At least three possible approaches are feasible: (a) a sort of vertical reading in historical development; (b) the attention paid to the terminologies used or to the glossary; (c) the focus on keywords and their role in accompanying the choices, in particular the origin and the development of the European Research Area (ERA). The transition from the current Framework Programme Horizon 2020 (H2020) to the new one planned starting from 2021 (Horizon Europe) is a way to integrate the three approaches by analysing the contents in terms of novelties and continuity. The focus on the evolution of the relevance of ERA can be also considered as a way to illuminate the challenges facing European research policy. In fact, the demand for greater collaboration in European research is determined by the increased international competition and the growing role, as a driver, of innovation in society and the economy. This must be reflected in the choices the new Framework Programme must make.

Article

Energy Policy  

Jale Tosun

Energy policy comprises rules concerning energy sources, energy efficiency, energy prices, energy infrastructure, and climate and environmental aspects of energy production, utilization, and transit. The main theme in this policy domain, especially in the European context, concerns the trade-offs between affordable, secure, and clean energy. Energy policy is a cross-sectoral—or boundary-spanning—policy domain, and as such, it is affected by decisions taken in other policy domains as well as affects what is decided there. The cross-sectoral character of energy policy is reflected in how it is proposed, adopted, implemented, and evaluated. The analytical perspectives on energy policy depend on the energy source of interest. Research concentrating on fossil energy sources (i.e., coal, oil, and natural gas) has traditionally adopted the analytical lens of international relations and international political economy. These lenses have also been important for the study of unconventional fossil energy sources (i.e., oil shale, oil sands, and shale gas) and nuclear power, for which, however, risk and uncertainty also play an important role. Questions concerning the supply and management of energy infrastructure have received attention from public administration scholars. The promotion of renewable energy as a central means for mitigating climate change has become one of the most intensely researched themes in the broader political science literature.