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Ian Bache and Matthew Flinders

Generations of law and economics scholars have been fascinated by history, seeing in its institutions and laws a vast database for illustrating their theories. Equally, historians have seen economic analysis as a helpful tool with which to analyse legal institutions. As a result a vibrant field has emerged in which people trained in law, economics, history and political science have all made significant contributions. This research review identifies the most important works examining legal history from an economic perspective.
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Ian Bache and Matthew Flinders

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Ian Bache and Matthew Flinders

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Ian Bache and Matthew Flinders

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Ian Bache, Ian Bartle and Matthew Flinders

This chapter considers the origins, development and key debates in multi-level governance (MLG). It argues that despite evolving as a core concept within and beyond academe MLG remains an under-developed concept. To some degree this reflects the increasingly fluid governance processes it seeks to acknowledge and interrogate, but also points to the need for greater precision and rigour in the different types of MLG that combine in complex webs of modern governance. In particular we raise questions about the suitability for the analysis of contemporary governance of a binary formulation that has arisen to conceptualize different types of MLG. We see much overlapping, interconnection and blurring of the lines dividing the two types. A finer grain is required within each of the two types and between and beyond them in order to conceptualize variety and interconnectedness.

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Ian Bache and Louise Reardon

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Ian Bache and Louise Reardon

The past decade has seen a dramatic increase in governmental interest in the idea of wellbeing. At international level, there are initiatives within the EU, OECD, UN and at national level, within states as diverse and geographically spread as Australia, Bhutan, Ecuador, France and Morocco. This chapter outlines the nature and development of this rising interest in wellbeing before articulating some of the challenges wellbeing presents to economics and politics. It explains why these developments demand the attention of political analysts and outlines the key contribution of the book as the first theoretically and empirically informed analysis of the rise and significance of wellbeing in politics and policy. In addition, it identifies the two main questions of the study as: 1. How and why has the idea of wellbeing risen up the political agenda? 2. What are the policy implications of this rising interest in the idea of wellbeing?
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Ian Bache and Louise Reardon

This chapter sets out the theoretical framework for the book. In relation to the first question – how and why has the idea of wellbeing risen up the political agenda? – it outlines concepts that relate to the diffusion of ideas across boundaries before turning to Kingdon’s multiple streams approach to understanding agenda-setting. This approach identifies three separate processes or ‘streams’ of problems, policies and politics that develop largely in isolation from each other but which present the greatest opportunity for policy change when they are brought together. In relation to the second question – what are the policy implications of this rising interest in the idea of wellbeing? – the analytical framework turns to Hall’s conception of social learning and contributions that subsequently developed this approach.
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Ian Bache and Louise Reardon

Chapter 3 begins to address the first question of the book – how and why has the idea of wellbeing risen up the political agenda? – drawing on the analytical framework developed in Chapter 2. It identifies two ‘waves’ of interest in wellbeing since the end of the Second World War that a share a critique of GDP as the dominant indicator of societal progress: the first wave rising in the 1960s and falling in the 1970s, and the second beginning in the 1990s and continuing to the present. It explains the rise and fall of the social indicators movement in the first wave and the distinctive features of the current second wave, which is the main focus of the book. This second wave is characterised by increasing attention to environmental issues and greater confidence in the measurement of wellbeing, and particularly subjective wellbeing. In this chapter we limit our discussion of the second wave to developments that have placed the issue on the agenda of major international organisations, before turning to developments in specific political systems in Chapter 4.
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Ian Bache and Louise Reardon

Chapter 4 continues the focus on the second question of the book – how and why has the idea of wellbeing risen up the political agenda? It begins with an overview of developments across a number of political systems before turning to a detailed comparative analysis of the rise of wellbeing in the UK and EU systems. In doing so it both responds to the call for more comparative studies of agenda-setting and provides insights into the relationship between processes that connect different political systems within the context of multi-level governance. This comparative study allows not only for a more systematic exploration of the key variables in policymaking in different contexts (e.g., the institutional structures, decision-making processes and the role of interest groups) but also the potential for understanding the exclusion of ideas from the agenda or ‘non-decisions’. The discussion of each case study is structured according to Kingdon’s multiple streams approach, considering in turn policy, politics and problem streams. The comparative analysis reveals both institutional and ideational biases that shape the agenda-setting dynamics of the wellbeing issue in different contexts and produce different emphases in approaches to defining and measuring wellbeing.