Making Policies Work
Show Less

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.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 11: Looping to success (and failure): second-order mechanisms and policy outcomes

Mallory E. Compton and Paul 't Hart


The premise of a dynamic policy model – for example, that sequence matters or decision-making is constrained by what has already happened – applies to many, if not most, social-political phenomena. Yet, when contextualized with defined scope conditions, the same mechanism might explain not just stability and change, but the success or otherwise of public policies. In this chapter, the authors first discuss the value of a dynamic and mechanistic perspective to the study of policy success, they elaborate a three-dimensional concept of policy success (programmatic, process, and political performance), and examine how both first- and second-order mechanisms can reinforce or work against these dynamics. Developing a typology of policy loops (driven by configurations of first- and second-order mechanisms) the authors explore how such a perspective can not only inform analytical explanations of policy success and failure, but also purposeful attempts by policy actors to work towards their preferred outcomes.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.