INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON PUBLIC POLICYInternational Conference on Public Policy

Beyond policy outcomes: analyzing the effects of policies and policy designs on social and political behaviour


Significant effort has been placed on studying policy processes, its phases and outcomes, including, among other, aspects such as analysing the variety of actors and their relationships shaping policies; the political economy of designing and implementing policies and analysing the outputs, outcomes and impacts of policies. Besides these lines of research and analysis, it is also of analytical relevance to look at the social and political effects of public policies.

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Policies have substantial influence and specific effects on the life of vast sectors of the society, not only those for which the policies have been designed to benefit, influence or affect, but also on other social groups not initially or mainly considered as recipients of policy actions and decisions. Public policies effects could include the following: modifying the role of actors, changing the structure of relationships among them and the terms of public debates (including who may take part or not in those debates); modifying the resources available to specific actors or groups of actors, and changing the preferences of groups and actors.

The Panel proposed will attempt to analyse some of the social and political effects of public policies, with specific focus, among others, on the following: the effects of policy designs on strategic behaviour of political actors and coalitions facing policy change; the policy effects in terms of social trust and the mechanisms through which these occur, the institutional effects of drinking water policies and the different ways in which policy could have social effects on the wellbeing of the society and the preferences of social actors.

12. Session 1

Thursday 27th June, 8h00-10h00, Room 1 IEP


  • Prof. Alex Caldera, México, University of Guanajuato

The complex relationship between trust, informal institutions and public policies María Cecilia Güemes, cecilia.guemes, José Hernández Bonivento jose.hernandez.bonivento
PDF - 532.5 kb

PDF - 532.5 kb

The scholars point out the complex and bidirectional relation between trust, informal institutions and public policies. The effectiveness at implementation of public policies depends on the level of social and institutional trust and on the ways of doing that North called "informal institutions". But also, trust and social practices are affected by public policies in different and indirect ways. In this paper we try to analyze some peculiarities of this relation focus on Latin America societies. First, we describe some features of trust and informal institution in the region. Second, we sum up the social and political effects of neoliberal public policies on them. Third, we reflect on the obstacles that low level of social and institutional trust has on the formulation and implementation of public policies and state reforms. We consider this reflection is especially relevant in an era where the old ways of governance are on the table and the Government tries to open to citizenship and convince them to participate and take part on public issues.

Public policies and subjectivity: the impact of social policy on perceptions of uncertainty Fiorella Mancini, fiorella

During recent decades, public policies in Mexico have undergone profound transformations in their composition and dynamics. The “privatization of social risks” has changed not only the social life but also the perceptions of uncertainty. Nowadays, the idea of life subject to comprehensive social security systems is questioned in different societies, which demands new attempts to explore understandings of the impact of social policy on subjectivity. Objectives: The paper will attempt to analyses the impact of public policies on subjectivity and uncertainty perceptions in Mexico. It will try to understand the different ways in which social policy could have social effects on subjective wellbeing of the individuals and the preferences of social actors. The purpose of the paper is to discuss whether certain social policies are producing a fundamental shift in the perceptions of risk and uncertainty. The aim is to examine how the relationship between uncertainty and other facets of people’ lives is filtered by public policies, in particular the regulation of working conditions. The methodology to be adopted includes statistical analysis in order to deal with each of the specific objectives. To generate the necessary information, the primary source used is a probabilistic longitudinal survey that allows us to make statistical inferences. Events history analyses would be the most appropriate tool for processing information from this type of data source. The central hypothesis is that the impact of social policy on uncertainty’s perceptions is experienced differently in different social groups due to variations in their regulatory life course. At the same time, welfare regimes, social organizations, family systems, and individual’ trajectories modulate the impact of social policy on subjective dimension of risks. The analytical relevance of the paper is focused on the subjective effects of public policies, taking into account differences in social sector, gender, cohort, and level of education.

Understanding the linkages and possible causal relationships between the provision of basic public services, government performance and subjective wellbeing: the case of Mexico at the subnational (state) level Roberto Castellanos-Cereceda rcastellanos
PDF - 552.2 kb

PDF - 552.2 kb

During the last 15 to 20 years there has been an increasing attention to analysing, measuring and understanding non-economic aspects of wellbeing such as life satisfaction and happiness, that is, the subjective wellbeing (SWB) of societies.As part of this field of inquiry, which has expanded to the policy arena and into the use of measurements and approaches of SWB in policy design (i.e. UK, Buthan, France, China, among others), one of the many questions posed is the extent to which and in what areas, public policy and governmental action may be correlated or could influence peoples SWB. Based on empirical information, in the paper I will try to explain and answer the question of whether there is and what kind of correlation and possible causal relationship may exist between the provision of basic public services and people’s SWB in México. The main focus will be on three basic public services, water supply, public basic education and public health provision, both in terms of its presence (provision) or absence and the perception of its quality (in this latter case, only for public basic education and public health). The empirical analysis will be based on the results of a National Values Survey of México of 2010, which offers, for the first time, detailed information regarding SWB (happiness and life satisfaction) and the people’s perception of the quality of basic education and public health at the subnational (state) level (i.e. for the 32 states of México). As a way of contrasting the results of the analysis based on this Survey, I will consider the results recently presented (on December 2012) by the National Statistics Office of México (INEGI) regarding the levels of self-reported wellbeing (life satisfaction) of the population, the first survey of its kind promoted by the INEGI.

Policy feedback and the allocations of policy responsibility in European multi-level states Claire Dupuy, claire.dupuy, Virgine Van Inglegom, virginie.vaningelgom
PDF - 346.8 kb

PDF - 346.8 kb

The focal point of the literature on policy feedbacks (Campbell, 2012; Soss & Schram, 2007) is to investigate how public policies impact upon citizens’ attitudes. The contemporary changes in the distribution of power across Europe provide interesting empirical material to address this strand of research. As long shown by theories of state-building in Western Europe, welfare systems had been a powerful tool used by political centers to build up a sense of a national community, to legitimate national political actors, and thereby the nation-state (Bartolini, 2005). But since the 1970’s, central states are not the sole providers of welfare anymore as regional governments have been entrusted with social policy responsibilities (Keating & McEwen, 2005). If one takes seriously the hypothesis of policy feedbacks, major changes in the legitimacy structure should therefore be noticed.
Starting from the classical distinction between input-oriented and output-oriented legitimacy (Scharpf, 1999), this paper examines how the restructuring of European (welfare) states has affected the legitimacy attributed to regional and national levels of government. The legitimacy is operationalized by citizens’ preferences for the allocation of policy responsibility (De Winter, Swyngedouw, & Goeminne, 2008). Specifically, the paper explores how the features of regional social policy impact upon citizens’ preferences for the allocation of social policy responsibility in a complex and multilevel polity. It hypothesizes that the visibility and the traceability of social policy (Pierson, 1993) are key to the explanation of the feedback effects of regional social policy on citizens’ preferences for the regional, respectively the national, level. Empirically, the paper draws on the regional authority index built by Marks, Hooghe & Schakel (2008), and on secondary survey data (EVS, ESS and Eurobarometers). Additionally, the paper uses qualitative and quantitative contextual data on regional policy.

12. Session 2

Thursday 27th June, 13h30-15h30, Room 1 IEP


Different Regimes of Educational Policies in Spain Eliseo López Sánchez, eliseorl, Maite Labrador Pérez, mlabradorperez
PDF - 314.3 kb

PDF - 314.3 kb

The paper aims to analyze the processes of design and formulation of educational policies in four Autonomous Communities of Spain, in a context of uncertainty and ambiguity. The paper is result of an ongoing research project which aims to identify and analyze the inequalities produced to the citizens of four significant Autonomous Communities (Catalonia, Basque Country, Andalusia and Madrid) as a result of public policy choices who have made their political leaders. We will try to explain why there have been various policy options by the developers of educational policies from: - The characteristics of governments: types of parliamentary majority, number of parties in government, longevity of mandate, and the importance of ideology in shaping the alternatives of choice in education policy. - Intergovernmental Relations: dynamic multilevel governance and relations with political parties and between them, as they have been shown to be important actors in relations between governments, to identify how the Spanish government in influencing the decisions of the regional governments on education policy. - Governance Models: relationship between institutions and pressure groups, think tanks, and relationships between parties and pressure groups, analyzing policy networks around the alternatives. - Financing Model of the autonomous regions: the Basque country has a different funding model of the other three communities, and this model has also changed in 2009, so we have three different funding models. - The importance of public opinion for the formation of the agenda and of the choice alternatives, the relationship between decisions and electoral calculation.

Water human right and its implications in terms of institutional design in the field of water and sanitation in Mexico. An analysis of the transfer set public policy Alex Ricardo Caldera, profalexcaldera
PDF - 335.9 kb

PDF - 335.9 kb

In Mexico the human right to water has been formally and in 2012 has been recognized in the federal Constitution. In the past, the country had signed international agreements with this recognition, but the resistances were present in the country expressed by various political actors. The political process is currently being developed to design an institutional framework consistent with this recognition in order to guarantee effectively this right. This paper attempts to reconstruct the debate around this political process, identifying the political strategies of the actors at both the national and local levels. The specific observations of cases of Jalisco, Aguascalientes and Guanajuato try to identify the impacts of the transfer of a national policy to local patterns of political change and the role of public policy networks in the transformation of the sector of drinking water and sanitation.

The impact of higher education and research policy reforms in recruitment, retention and retirement in Spanish academia Laura Cruz-Castro, Luis Sanz-Menéndez, Luis.Sanz

Over the last decade, a series of higher education and research public policy reforms and programs have impacted on the recruitment, promotion and funding systems of Spanish universities. Similarly to other continental European research policies, the Spanish one has evolved to include elements of centralised evaluation and excellence criteria. However, the degree of autonomy that universities have as regards faculty hiring and promotion decisions and other investment decisions is yet considerable. Despite the growing demand for greater accountability, excellence and relevance of publicly funded research, little is known about the effects of recent higher education and research policies on the strategic behaviour of university actors facing policy change, and on their relative external autonomy with respect to the state and the development of an internal managerial authority. In this paper we analyse the policy rationales behind the design and adoption of different research funding and human resources policies, but we move forward the analytical design to address the changing behaviour of academics and researchers and universities and public research institutions in the context of growing differentiation and competition. Based on the notion of “organisational dilemmas” we explore an analytical framework to understand the relative degree of conflict and coexistence between actors’ policy adaptation at the macro level to maximise resources’ acquisition, and decoupling behaviour at the micro organisational social level, and with the ability of organisations to find niches for survival.

The Brazilian constitutional process of 1987-88 and the production of public policy: a necessary relationship, a difficult exercise Mariele Troiano, marieletroiano
PDF - 256.8 kb

PDF - 256.8 kb

This research aims to understand how the relation between the studies about
Brazilian Constitution and public policy. The Brazilian constitutional process of 1987-88 was influenced by a context of economic changing, social and political majority, of the entire society, and by a set of rules that defined the ways to that decisions and interests would pervade. It appears that the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) has ensured the participation and representation of various sectors of society, including directly their actions, in the formulation of a new consensus contingent of changes and responses to social demands.
Therefore, the inclusion of public policy was inevitable as future project and a response to social demands. This paper points to possible claims that there are a lot of public policies incorporated in the Brazilian Constitution, justified by the objective of the constituent process.
The analysis of public policy in Constitutions must also consider the political and economic context in which it appears. With the NCA, for example, we can illustrate the limited relationship between actors and institutions in the definition of public policy and constitutional content. Furthermore, this article was intended to draw attention to a field unexplored: the effects of institutions on public policy. Public policy can directly reach and influence actors and institutions by tunneling resources, influencing public opinion and changing collective consensus. Thus, public policy can also be thought of as institutions.
Studies on the production of public policy lead us to complex questions about citizenship formation and execution of the democratic system. As methodology, was used minutes of the National Congress, literature review and press materials available at the Senate’s site.