Handbook on Policy, Process and Governing
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Handbook on Policy, Process and Governing

Edited by H. K. Colebatch and Robert Hoppe

This Handbook covers the accounts, by practitioners and observers, of the ways in which policy is formed around problems, how these problems are recognized and understood, and how diverse participants come to be involved in addressing them. H.K. Colebatch and Robert Hoppe draw together a range of original contributions from experts in the field to illuminate the ways in which policies are formed and how they shape the process of governing.
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Chapter 25: Policy and socioeconomic characteristics

William Blomquist


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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