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Léa Sébastien, Tom Bauler, and Markku Lehtonen

This article examines the various roles that indicators, as boundary objects, can play as a science-based evidence for policy processes. It presents two case studies from the EU-funded POINT project that analyzed the use and influence of two highly different types of indicators: composite indicators of sustainable development at the EU level and energy indicators in the UK. In both cases indicators failed as direct input to policy making, yet they generated various types of conceptual and political use and influence. The composite sustainable development indicators served as “framework indicators”, helping to advocate a specific vision of sustainable development, whereas the energy indicators produced various types of indirect influence, including through the process of indicator elaboration. Our case studies demonstrate the relatively limited importance of the characteristics and quality of indicators in determining the role of indicators, as compared with the crucial importance of “user factors” (characteristics of policy actors) and “policy factors” (policy context).

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Naomi C.F. Yamada

In both China and in the United States, policies of 'positive discrimination' were originally intended to lessen educational and economic inequalities, and to provide equal opportunities. As with affirmative action in the American context, China's 'preferential policies' are broad-reaching, but are best known for taking ethnic background into consideration for university admissions. The rhetoric of China's preferential policy discourse has remained surprisingly constant but shifts to a market-economy and incorporation of neoliberal elements have resulted in fee-based reforms that discourage inclusion of poorer students. In addition, as ethnic minority students principally from Western China compete to enter 'self-funded' college preparatory programmes, public funding is being directed towards the achievement of 'world-class' universities overwhelmingly concentrated in Eastern China. In contrast, in the United States, the difficulty of defending affirmative action in the face of a neoliberal climate has resulted in a shift in policy. If in China the policy remains even as the 'rule' has changed (Arno 2009), in contrast, in American institutions the rhetoric has shifted away from affirmative action in favour of diversity but efforts to hold on to the rules that promote equal opportunities remain.

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Arthur P.J. Mol

This paper aims to understand and illustrate how and to what extent the increasing role and importance of information, informational processes, and information technologies have changed the environmental policies and politics of state institutions. More specifically, how have states tried to find answers to the dilemmas resulting from a growing centrality of informational processes in environmental governance? As such, the paper sets out the contours of what can be labeled informational governance on the environment.

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Jos Spits, Barrie Needham, Toine Smits, and Twan Brinkhof

Many historical cities are built alongside rivers. Floodplains were attractive sites for urban expansion. However, the flood events since the 1990's have shown that many urban settlements are under flood risk. This research investigates how flood management and land use planning policies have changed after high water and (near)floods in the Netherlands, Germany, and France. In particular, it investigates how changing policies affect the development of urban riverfronts. Policy documents have been analyzed from all three countries and case studies illustrate the impact of changing policies on concrete developments.

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Sandra Häbel

norms abroad is via policy networks, which are webs of relationships between actors in one policy arena, in partner countries. This article explores why existing policy networks tend to undermine normative spillover between policy sectors and

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The Determination of Educational Policy

Shas, Politics, and Religion

Anat Feldman

This article aims to broaden understanding of the intersection of political power and educational policy. Researchers in various fields have analyzed how a state determines its educational policy, which typically follows a value- and principle

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Shobita Parthasarathy

For decades, governments across the world have tended to ignore, and sometimes even punish, poor and marginalized communities. Public policies have attended instead to the needs of our societies’ most privileged members. The COVID-19 pandemic has

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Policy coherence for development and migration

Analyzing US and EU policies through the lens of normative transformation

Harlan Koff

The European Union’s 2015–2016 “migration/asylum crisis” gave renewed prominence to discussions over the relationship between migration, security and development in global affairs. The EU’s policy responses to these flows have confirmed that

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Emily Anderson

with others in digital spaces. International development and humanitarian aid organizations, like UNICEF, have historically used old media tools to advance their agendas. Policy actors have expanded their engagement with new media tools to promote

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The New Economic Policy of 1962

How Israeli Economists Almost Changed the Israeli Economy

Ronen Mandelkern

In February 1962, the Israeli government adopted the New Economic Policy, a program for comprehensive economic liberalization reform, which is most remembered for the dramatic devaluation of the Israeli pound that it included. While the Israeli