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Social Quality as a Tool for Policy Analysis

The Place of Children in Family Policy

Yitzhak Berman

This paper will consider the use of social quality as an analytical tool for the study of social policy, with special emphasis on the social quality of children placed within the framework of family policy. The paper’s main focus is on the relationship between parents and children as expressed through family policy. Two central themes are addressed. The first concerns the expectations from the relationship of parents and children as expressed through family policy, and how these policies enhance the social quality of children. The second theme asks the question whether social quality is a useful tool for policy analysis, and is based on a case study analysing a European family policy document.

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Georg Menz

English abstract: European immigration policy making has often been characterized either as a largely spill-over driven process or as “venue shopping,” a way to escape from the confines of national capitals. This article suggests that success in policy creation hinges crucially on the presence of a policy entrepreneur; while the European Commission faced propitious conditions for acting in this fashion, it did not always manage to do so. Drawing on the creation of key directives on asylum and labor migration as empirical case studies, the argument is developed that only when the European Commission exhibits the core characteristics of successful policy entrepreneurs does it succeed in shaping migration directives.

Spanish abstract: La formulación de la política migratoria europea a menudo se ha caracterizado ya sea como un gran proceso conducido por el desborde (“spillover”), o como un lugar de escape (“venue shopping”) de los confines de capitales nacionales. Este artículo sugiere que el éxito en la creación de políticas se basa esencialmente en la presencia de un emprendedor político, y mientras que la Comisión Europea enfrenta condiciones propicias para actuar de esa manera, no siempre logra hacerlo. Sobre la base de la creación de directivas centrales sobre asilo y migración laboral como casos empíricos de estudio, el argumento se desarrolla cuando la Comisión Europea presenta las características esenciales de un emprendedor político y logra éxitos en la conformación de las directivas de migración.

French abstract: L'élaboration de la politique migratoire européenne a souvent été caractérisée comme un processus piloté par spillover ou encore comme « venue shopping » d'évasion aux confins des capitales nationales. Cet article suggère que le succès de l'élaboration d'une politique dépend crucialement de la présence d'un entrepreneur politique ; et que, bien que la Commission européenne ait eu des conditions favorables pour agir dans ce sens, elle ne l'a pas toujours fait. S'appuyant sur la création des directives clés en matière d'asile et de la circulation de la main-d'œuvre comme sur des études de cas empiriques, l'argument ici développé montre que ce n'est que lorsque la Commission européenne aura réuni avec succès les qualités de base relatives à l'entrepreneuriat politique qu'elle parviendra à modeler les directives européennes sur la migration.

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Peter Scholten

Policy innovation is necessary for many environmental issues such as climate change and water management. Highly motivated individuals, who are both willing and able to take the lead and press home innovative proposals and as such transform existing policy, are vital in this process. This article focuses on such individuals. An exploration of the literature is confronted with the findings of an empirical study among local policy makers with a reputation for daring. The result is a conceptual map that can be used to further explore and understand the role of leadership and particularly daring decision making in environmental policy innovation.

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Roger Karapin

Germany has reduced its emissions of greenhouse gases more than almost any other industrialized democracy and is exceeding its ambitious Kyoto commitment. Hence, it is commonly portrayed as a climate-policy success story, but the situation is actually much more complex. Generalizing Germany's per-capita emissions to all countries or its emissions reductions to all industrialized democracies would still very likely produce more than a two-degree rise in global temperature. Moreover, analyzing the German country-case into eleven subcases shows that it is a mixture of relative successes and failures. This analysis leads to three main conclusions. First, high relative performance and high environmental damage can coexist. Second, we should see national cases in a differentiated way and not only in terms of their aggregate performances. Third, researchers on climate policies should more often begin with outcomes, work backward to policies, and be prepared for some surprises. Ironically, the most effective government interventions may not be explicit climate policies, such as the economic transformation of eastern Germany. Moreover, the lack of policy-making in certain areas may undercut progress made elsewhere, including unregulated increases in car travel, road freight, and electricity consumption. Research on climate and environmental policies should focus on somewhat different areas of government intervention and ask different questions.

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Katy A. Crossley-Frolick

Since the end of the Cold War, Germany has assumed a greater profile in addressing global security concerns. This article analyzes the evolution of Germany's approach to peacebuilding in the post Cold War era. It argues that while Germany could play a unique and important role in such missions, it has largely demurred. The muted quality of German leadership in international peacebuilding reveals a foreign policy role identity that remains circumscribed by a culture of restraint (Kultur der Zurückhaltung). From a constructivist perspective, this “culture of restraint” acts as a cognitive map for political leaders and policy makers, privileging a set of norms that guide policy-making. Peacebuilding missions present opportunities for Germany to operationalize the most fundamental tenets undergirding Germany's postwar foreign policy identity: the preference to cooperate with other states through multilateral institutions, the use of economic instruments to obtain foreign policy goals, and support for supranational institutions to address global problems. But such opportunities are not seized due to the absence of political elite consensus, inter-party, and inter-ministerial dissensus, institutional fragmentation and insufficient material support for international peacebuilding endeavors.

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Paul D. Hirsch and Valerie A. Luzadis

We develop a twofold approach to the development and utilization of policy-relevant knowledge. First, we propose that moving beyond competition to focus on compatibility may promote more effective interdisciplinary collaborations in the context of complex social-ecological problems. Second, we propose that attention to the policy affordances of a set of compatible hypotheses may inform the development of a more holistic and robust set of policy options. This twofold approach is modeled in our methodological approach, in which we have sought to discover how the concepts each of us have been developing are compatible with each other, and what affordances they might offer for improving translation across the science-policy boundary. We illustrate and apply our approach to the complex milieu surrounding the issue of lead paint toxicity. In addition, we draw on findings from focus groups with researchers involved in collaborations at the science-policy boundary to develop recommendations for productive and policy-relevant interdisciplinary collaboration.

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History and Transport Policy

The Swiss Experience

Ueli Haefeli, Fritz Kobi and Ulrich Seewer

Based on analysis of two case studies in the Canton of Bern, this article examines the question of knowledge transfer from history to transport policy and planning in the recent past in Switzerland. It shows that for several reasons, direct knowledge transfer did not occur. In particular, historians have seldom become actively involved in transport planning and policy discourses, probably partly because the academic system offers no incentive to do so. However, historical knowledge has certainly influenced decision-making processes indirectly, via personal reflection of the actors in the world of practice or through Switzerland's strongly developed modes of political participation. Because the potential for knowledge transfer to contribute to better policy solutions has not been fully utilized, we recommend strengthening the role of existing interfaces between science and policy.

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Riccardo Bellandi

This chapter examines three important events of 2013: the worsening of the crisis with India concerning the threatened withholding of two Italian marines involved in the deaths of two Indian fishermen, the repatriation of the wife and daughter of Kazakh dissident Mukhtar Ablyazov, and the political struggle over the purchase of F-35 fighter jets. This analysis allows us to take stock of the Italian “national security model,” the decision-making processes governing the relations and powers of Italian institutions in managing international crises, and the adoption of national guidelines for defense and foreign policy.

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Gender Policy in Australian Schools

A Missed Opportunity?

Deborah Hartman

This paper describes the rise of boys’ education as a substantial social and educational issue in Australia in the 1990s, mapping the changes in Australian discourses on boys’ education in this period. Ideas and authors informed by the men’s movement entered the discourses about boys’ education, contributing to a wave of teacher experimentation and new ways of thinking about gender policies in schools. The author suggests that there is currently a policy impasse, and proposes a new multi-disciplinary approach bringing together academic, practitioner, policy, and public discourses on boys’ education.

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Jocelyn Evans

Political parties use policy radicalism as a means of attaining electoral success. Differentiation from other parties and ideological renewal after a period of incumbency or prolonged opposition are valid reasons for policy innovation, but excessive radicalization has a number of detrimental effects, including mismanaging voter expectations. This article analyzes a number of examples of policy radicalization under the French Fifth Republic. It starts from concepts taken from policy mood and spatial competition models, and examines how French political parties of both Left and Right have overreached in their ideological stances, and thereby exacerbated political disenchantment among the French public. The article concludes by looking at the notion that mainstream politicians may not be acting in their own best interests when they radicalize the political agenda by misreading electoral competitive cues.