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Giliberto Capano and Nadia Carboni

Open access

Giliberto Capano, Michael Howlett and M Ramesh

Understanding how policy design can incentivize, constrain, and otherwise structure policy targets’ behavior to achieve desired results is vital but requires a clear understanding of the mechanisms that link policy tools to actual behavior. More importantly, it requires reasoning in terms of the processes and interactions that can be activated by policy tools to accomplish desired results. It is therefore imperative that policy designers – both those who study it and those who practice it – understand and specify clearly the linkages between the input (policy design) and the output, via the intended and unintended processes triggered by the design. However, many existing analytical efforts focus only on shedding light on what is needed for good policy design and ignore how good policy design works in terms of the types of processes that can be activated to achieve (or not) the desired results. As a result, we know little about how different solutions trigger and drive the achievement of intended outcomes. This chapter explores these issues and sets out the logic and findings of the other chapters in the book in advancing our understanding of policy mechanisms.

Open access

Making Policies Work

First- and Second-order Mechanisms in Policy Design

Edited by Giliberto Capano, Michael Howlett, M Ramesh and Altaf Virani

Policy design efforts are hampered by inadequate understanding of how policy tools and actions promote effective policies. The objective of this book is to address this gap in understanding by proposing a causal theory of the linkages between policy actions and policy effects. Adopting a mechanistic perspective, the book identifies the causal processes that activate effects and help achieve goals. It thus offers a powerful analytical tool to both scholars and practitioners of public policy seeking to design effective policies.