Sequences of Policy Failures and Effective Policy Responses

Anton Hemerijck and Martin Schludi

in Welfare and Work in the Open Economy Volume I: From Vulnerability to Competitiveness in Comparative Perspective

Published in print November 2000 | ISBN: 9780199240883
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600173 | DOI:
 Sequences of Policy Failures and Effective Policy Responses

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The chapter examines the dynamics of policy responses and their ultimate effectiveness. It identifies typical sequences of policy failures, caused by the misfit between new problems and existing policy legacies, which may generate processes of policy learning that ultimately produce effective solutions; but it also points to instances in which policy learning is blocked by conflicts of interest or by divergent cognitive orientations in multi‐actor institutional settings. Of equal importance are sequences of lateral spillovers, where the solutions to problems in one policy area generate new problems that subsequently must be dealt with in adjacent policy areas. In the 1970s and 1980s, these spillovers were most important in countries where the rise of open unemployment was mitigated by resort to early retirement and disability pensions. In analysing these sequences of policy failure, learning, and problem displacement, the chapter also compares and assesses the greater or lesser effectiveness of the policy responses actually adopted and identifies successful countries that were able to adjust to the challenges of the open economy without abandoning their welfare‐state goals.

Keywords: disability pension; early retirement; effectiveness; policy failure; policy learning; policy legacy; policy response; problem displacement; unemployment

Chapter.  42167 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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