Policy Styles and Policy-Making. Exploring the Linkages
Richardson et al.’s respected and seminal Policy Styles in Western Europe (1982) shed valuable light on how countries tend to establish long-term and distinctive ways to make policies that transcend short-term imperatives and issues. This follow-up volume updates those arguments and significantly expands the coverage, consisting of 16 carefully selected country-level case studies from around the world. Furthermore, it includes different types of political regimes and developmental levels to test more widely the robustness of the patterns and variables highlighted in the original book.
The case studies – covering countries from the United States, Canada, Germany and the UK to Russia, Togo and Vietnam – follow a uniform structure, combining theoretical considerations and the presentation of empirical material to reveal how the distinct cultural and institutional features of modern states continue to have implications for the making and implementation of public policy decisions within them.
The book is essential reading for students and scholars of public policy, public administration, comparative politics and development studies.
The dominant policy style in Russia is reactive, short-term, hierarchical, and state-driven – the result of a strong legacy of authoritarianism as a stable component of political regimes in the Russian Empire, USSR, and the Russian Federation. More complex reasons lie behind this riven or divided policy-making style: namely, a split between universalities or ideology as a foundation for policy legitimacy and implementation. There is a significant gap between declared policy goals and ideas, planned policy strategies and formulations, on the one hand, and policy implementation, on the other. Manual government, corruption, and state imposition define the policy formulation process in Russia. Due to the strength of the imperial legacy and “empire syndrome” ideology, the riven policy style is reproduced by bureaucrats, experts, political elites, and the public, despite the widening gap between public declarations and policy outcomes. Simulations and imitations of strategic and anticipative policy-making, especially at the policy formulation stage, characterize the behavior of key policy actors. Nevertheless, in some sectors such as education, policy styles can differ from the dominant one to a more anticipative and inclusive, long term because of the active position of policy communities such as citizens’ groups and associations or epistemic communities.