Edited by H. K. Colebatch and Robert Hoppe
Chapter 25: Policy and socioeconomic characteristics
Theories of the policy process that rely on socioeconomic characteristics as explanatory variables emphasize the importance of certain aspects of the context in which policymaking occurs. Those socioeconomic factors can affect the problems that policymakers try to address, the resources with which they can do so, and to some extent the options available for policy instruments and implementation. Socioeconomic variables thus shape both the possibilities and the constraints of policymaking. Socioeconomic characteristics have been the focus of many comparative policy studies, but whether and to what extent these studies have contributed to our understanding of the processes of policymaking is another matter. This chapter reviews prior work in comparative policy studies relying on socioeconomic characteristics, assesses the contributions of that work, and points to more recent efforts to capture the phenomenon of socioeconomic data as an input into policymaking.
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