SISP2024
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SISP Conference 2024

SISP2024 Sections and Panels

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Section 6 - Public Policies and Public Administration

Managers: Marco Di Giulio, Renata Lizzi, Laura Polverari

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The section hosts panels on the factors and conditions that favor or inhibit innovation and learning in democracies in times of turbulence. The invitation is to deal with transversal issues that can be addressed from multiple perspectives and dimensions: reforms, the public-private relationship, science and new technologies, evaluation, human rights, the role of experts, big data, social and environmental sustainability.
In an era of global change, such as the climate crisis, the pandemic emergency linked to the spread of Covid-19, and the transformation of the balance of power at the international level, the ability to plan, effectively implement, and evaluate the impact of policies and services on beneficiaries will be an important yardstick of public intervention in the coming years.
In this vein, the section calls for panels tackling the complex challenges that governments and communities at various levels – local, national, and supranational – face through the Next Generation EU framework. How can government policies and administrations provide credible answers to new programming and investment opportunities?
Identifying and testing innovative solutions implementing and evaluating their effectiveness regarding old and new problems and needs is now the challenge to measure the success and failure of policies. Moreover, government action’s not always positive impacts suggest considering the potential and limits of new ideas, tools, strategies, governance systems, and new forms of citizen involvement in decision-making processes. In this sense, transversality, coordination, and policy coherence represent new theoretical and methodological challenges.
The section invites proposals of panels, workshops, and round tables on topics that, although traditional, can be treated with innovative techniques and points of view. It also invites the
community to reflect on continuity and innovation within the public policy analysis field itself. It invites proponents to reflect on the significant challenges posed, for example, by big data and the use of artificial intelligence (AI), and on the stimuli coming from new approaches, such as the behavioral public policy and the experimental approach to public administration that enrich more consolidated methods and paradigms. Lastly, proposals would also be welcome that relate to: (i) the implementation of devolved policies in a framework of (potential) differentiated autonomy (law decree 1 February 2023); (ii) the digitalization of the public sector and of public policies (e.g. e- health); (iii) administrative capacity building, recruiting and career development of PA staff, also in the light of crisis management, foresight and risk management; (iv) the future directions of public policy and public administration research, and the theories of policy and public administration change, and theory development. Papers that couch the Italian case in wider comparative analyses will be particularly welcome. While paper and panel proposals will be received in both Italian and English, efforts will be paid to organize at least one panel in the English language to attract scholars from abroad.
 

Panel 6.1 Controlling migration: politics, policies, trajectories


During the twenty-first century borders, and border control, have become a growing focus of policy, especially in relation to migration. Controlling migration is a common challenge for all countries, but it creates dilemmas, particularly in liberal democracies. The so-called “liberal paradox” (Hollifield 1992) shows how complicated it can be to reconcile economic (markets) and demographic pressure, which push to open up to immigration, with political and security concerns, which instead push towards growing closure. Since September 11 2001, Global North governments have increasingly assimilated immigration into matters of national security, and immigration has become a highly contested issue. Currently, in many countries, the composition of migration flows has changed from being predominantly workers to being families and refugees, as family reunification and asylum-seeking have become the main channels of migration, especially in Europe. Pandemics, and then the conflict in Ukraine, have further exacerbated the “liberal paradox”, adding uncertainty in a four-sided game played by security, markets, rights and culture (Hollifield et al. 2022). This panel encourages proposals that aim to explore, theoretically and empirically, the direction in which migration policies are going within the countries of the Global North and in the European Union. How do policy-makers frame the regulation and control of migration and how do governments face the liberal paradox in times of war and post-pandemic societies?
The panel accepts contributions in English and Italian.

Chairs: Matteo Bassoli, Francesca Campomori

 

Panel 6.2 Future-oriented policy-making for anticipatory and collaborative governance


In today’s rapidly evolving global landscape, policy-makers are facing an increasingly complex task: envisioning and crafting policies that are not only effective in the present, but also adaptive and resilient in the face of future challenges. From climate change and resource scarcity to global health crises and technological disruption, these long-term challenges demand innovative policy responses that incorporate long-term views. These responses rest on governance features such as evidence-based policy-making, learning, bottom-up and inclusive performance management, as well as participatory decision-making involving governments, public administrations, businesses, and civil society (Esposito, Felicetti, et al., 2023; Esposito, Terlizzi, et al., 2023; Esposito & Terlizzi, 2024; Arda et al, 2024).

Policies that can navigate emerging trends and challenges are at the center of national and international agendas. For example, the European Union’s Better Regulation agenda recognizes the importance of regulatory tools such as consultation of stakeholders, evaluation, and impact assessment to make policies that are evidence-based, simplified, and also “fit for the future” (European Commission, 2021). To do that also non-treaty-based principles have been introduced such as the ‘innovation principle’ (Taffoni, 2020), the ‘do not significant harm’, or the ‘evaluate first’ even if the firmness of their application remains contested. Still on the EU agenda, with the revised toolbox of the Better Regulation in 2021 (European Commission, 2021), strategic foresight has been promoted as a participatory approach to long-term thinking and policy-making. The outbreak of Covid-19 provides a clear illustration of why foresight is needed when planning new policy initiatives (Radaelli & Taffoni, 2022). Strategic foresight helps to withstand shocks, anticipating and adapting to changes and governments are increasingly integrating these methodologies into policy-making, albeit more efforts are needed in the evaluation phase and the involvement of citizens (De Vito & Taffoni, 2023).

In bringing together public policy and organization studies (Profeti, 2022), we underscores that strategic foresight is crucial for public sector organizations, facilitating sense-making and interpretation of the unknown (Sakellariou & Vecchiato, 2022). It enables collective action by creating a shared vision of potential futures, bridging present decisions with future possibilities (De Vito & Radaelli, 2023). Engaging stakeholders in constructing this vision ensures coordinated efforts organization-wide, enhancing adaptability and proactivity. This process not only helps in navigating uncertainties but also ensures that today’s decisions are informed by an understanding of future scenarios, underlining strategic foresight’s importance in organizational resilience (De Vito, 2024).

By bridging scholarships in public policy and administration with management and organization theory, the panel invites submissions that catalyze innovative approaches to policy design and implementation from different perspectives and experiences on future-oriented policies. We invite articles that look at issues and reforms in the public sector and explore different tools and mechanisms that promise to strengthen anticipatory and collaborative forms of governance.

- De Vito, L. (2024). Foresight for sustainable governance and well?being development in Wales. Welsh Government.
- De Vito, L., & Radaelli, C. M. (2023). Another brick in the wall? The case for embedded foresight. STG Policy Papers, 18.
- De Vito, L., & Taffoni, G. (2023). Strategic Foresight and Policy Evaluation: Insights for an Integrated Approach. European Journal of Risk Regulation, 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1017/err.2023.77
- Esposito, G., Felicetti, A., & Terlizzi, A. (2023). Participatory governance in megaprojects: the Lyon–Turin high-speed railway among structure, agency, and democratic participation. Policy and Society, 42(2), 259–273. https://doi.org/10.1093/polsoc/puac029
- Esposito, G., & Terlizzi, A. (2024). Organizing wicked policy fields: A strategic framework for capacity-building in cross-border transport megaprojects. In A. Lippi & T. Tsekos (Eds.), Policy, Design, Capacity and the Sustainable Development Goals: Wicked Problems in Uncertain Environments. Emerald Publishing.
- Esposito, G., Terlizzi, A., & Pichault, F. (2023). The Panopticon reloaded: A critical analysis of performance management systems in the trans-European transport network policy. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, 1–23. https://doi.org/10.1177/23996544231208546
European Commission. (2021). Better Regulation Toolbox. European Union.
- Profeti, S. (2022). Teoria dell’organizzazione e analisi delle politiche pubbliche: Agende parallele, concetti di confine e (auspicabili) convergenze. Quaderni Di Scienza Politica, 3, 307–330. https://doi.org/10.48271/106332
- Radaelli, C. M., & Taffoni, G. (2022). What is the role of foresight in impact assessment? Early experience and lessons for the European Comission. STG Policy Papers, 17. https://hdl.handle.net/1814/74665
- Sakellariou, E., & Vecchiato, R. (2022). Foresight, sensemaking, and new product development: Constructing meanings for the future. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 184, 121945. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2022.121945
- Taffoni, G. (2020). Regulating for Innovation? Insights from the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the European Union. European Journal of Risk Regulation, 11(1), 141–147. https://doi.org/10.1017/err.2020.7

Chairs: Laura De Vito, Giovanni Esposito, Gaia Taffoni, Andrea Terlizzi

 

Panel 6.3 Anti-Corruption and Integrity in the Digital Age


Anti-corruption and integrity efforts have become synonymous with good governance and have gained ground in the public debate. These efforts are seen as essential to optimise the use of public funds, offer better public policies and service delivery, and ultimately restore trust in democracy in times of turbulence. In this context, digital transformation holds great promise for strengthening integrity and anti-corruption measures by increasing transparency, reducing discretionary powers and mitigating corruption opportunities associated with certain types of human interactions. New technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), are also expected to facilitate accountability mechanisms, enabling anti-corruption and integrity measures by the public and private sectors, as well as civil society.
However, there is still a lack of empirical research and theoretical frameworks to fully understand the nuances of anti-corruption and integrity efforts in different contexts, their likely outcomes and limitations, especially when digital technologies are intertwined with these efforts. This is not unique to Italy - it can be seen as a global challenge, despite the many efforts in the form of legislation and public pressure to implement golden standards and best practices on issues such as bribery, procurement, political finance management, and illicit money flows. The relationship between anti-corruption and AI also needs to be assessed in the European context, with the recent approval of the EU AI Act and the forthcoming adoption of the European Anti-Corruption Directive.
With this in mind, we invite scholars from different fields to submit abstracts that offer fresh perspectives and innovative approaches to the study of anti-corruption and integrity mechanisms in the digital age. All theoretical and empirical contributions are welcome. We encourage abstracts related to:
- The use of emerging technologies, including AI, and big data to fight corruption and promote integrity;
- Civic engagement and bottom-up anti-corruption technologies;
- Integrity policies and public administration in a datafied society;
- Government digitalization as an integrity and transparency strategy.

Chairs: Francesco Merenda, Fernanda Odilla

 

Panel 6.4 Reinventing Security: Evaluating the Impact of New Crime Prevention Policies in liberal democracies


One of the most neglected consequences of the transition from the Welfarist state to the neo-liberal state is the political redefinition of the concept of ‘security’. The shift from a social conception of security to one more focused on the problems of crime and public order has accompanied the restructuring of the state, redefining its role and functions. In this perspective, many countries have witnessed, in the last twenty years, an expansion in their crime prevention policies. As a matter of fact, aside the traditional goal of pre-empting the commission of crime, crime prevention policies have included goals that have usually pertained to other legal systems, such as the reduction of fear and insecurity, problems of social integration, and the enhancement of people’s quality of life.

From an institutional point of view, research in criminology and political science has highlighted that crime prevention and control traditionally involved delegating powers to entities other than formal law enforcement agencies, such as the police. Local authorities, on a different scale of government, have increasingly been given responsibilities in the realm of security. Italy is no exception to this trend, as several scholars have investigated the processes of administrative decentralization and the empowerment of regional and local monocratic offices (regional presidents and mayors) since the 1990s. In particular, the increased autonomy of mayors in many Western countries has been accompanied by an expansion of their powers, especially in the area of new security policies.

Among the different instruments used in liberal democracies to inform such policies, contracts and pacts, antisocial behaviors orders, hybrid civil laws, individual orders, mayors’ administrative orders, have been a principal means of advancing crime prevention, especially but not limited to UK, USA and Italy. While a number of policy evaluation studies have examined the formal dimension of those instruments, in terms of their diffusion, distribution, and contents, much less empirical evidence is available on their substantial dimension, in terms of their effectiveness and/or efficiency.
There is growing consensus on the need of evaluating the impact of new security policies to determine “what works, what doesn’t, what’s promising” based on solid scientific knowledge and empirical evidence. Despite this recognition, still much work remains to be done in translating this knowledge into action. For instance, although crime rates have been decreasing in most Western countries at a steady rate, it remains to be clarified which specific policies or measures have contributed to these declines and in what context (e.g., year, country). Additionally, while some studies have evaluated small-scale crime prevention programs in the USA (e.g., school, family, or community level), there is a lack of research on the outcomes of large-scale crime-related policies, particularly in Continental and Southern European countries.

Therefore, this panel aims to host papers that, from various perspectives, reflect on at least one of the following topics:

- Theoretical frameworks and conceptual analyses of the evolving notions of security and crime prevention in the transition from welfare to neo-liberal paradigms.
- Comparative studies examining the divergent trajectories of crime prevention policies across European countries in response to shifting political and socio-economic landscapes.
- Empirical investigations into the effectiveness and efficiency of various crime prevention instruments, such as contracts and pacts, antisocial behaviors orders, hybrid civil laws, individual orders, mayors’ administrative orders.
- Evaluation methodologies and challenges in assessing the impact of new security policies on crime rates, fear and insecurity reduction, and the enhancement of quality of life.
- Case studies exploring the role of local authorities, mayors, and regional governments in shaping and implementing crime prevention strategies, with a particular emphasis on administrative decentralization and the expansion of municipal powers.
- Cross-national analyses of policy outcomes and effectiveness of crime-related policies, with attention to differences in policy contexts, implementation strategies, and socio-cultural factors between Western, Continental, and Southern European countries.
- Exploration of methodologies and challenges in conducting evidence-based impact evaluations of new security policies, emphasizing the importance of utilizing rigorous scientific methods and empirical evidence to determine the effectiveness and efficiency of crime prevention strategies, including administrative orders, contracts and pacts in achieving their intended outcomes.

The panel welcomes submissions of both single-case and comparative studies. Papers with a focus on Italy, continental and Southern European countries are especially encouraged. We embrace diverse theoretical approaches and methodological pluralism. We invite scholars from various disciplines other than political science, including but not limited to sociology, criminology, and law, to contribute empirical, theoretical, and methodological insights to advance our understanding of the complex interplay between state restructuring, security discourses, and crime prevention policies and instruments. Submissions offering innovative perspectives and policy recommendations are particularly encouraged.

Chairs: Marco Calaresu, Diego Giannone

 

Panel 6.5 The Politics and Policy of Digital Twins


Digital Twins offer a unique opportunity to transform the way we govern, manage and interact with the social and political reality around us. This emerging technology is not limited to representing material entities, whether artificial or natural, but also extends to processes, organizations and even people, dynamically reproducing all the characteristics of the represented entity through the constant updating of real-time data. The rapid spread of Digital Twins on a global scale stimulates the investigation of new opportunities for public sector, innovation, and socio-political design. New frontiers of development and research are opening in various fields, from governance to public administration, from active citizenship to data architecture, making it necessary to systematically explore the changes taking place.
The panel welcomes papers on the topic of Digital Twins, proposing to extend the concept beyond its traditional use in industry and engineering, and bring it to the core of the political and social science research agenda. The advent of this technology introduces new ways to conceive, organize, and decide on the horizons of contemporary society and politics, enriching the debate on the evolving features of digital politics. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

• History, perspectives, and theoretical approaches to the concept of Digital Twins
• Digital Twins in international, national and private governance strategies
• Redefining the role, organizational methods and purposes of public administration
• Improving public services through Digital Twins, applications and case studies
• Governance models for Digital Twins ecosystems
• Digital Twins and public policies
• Digital Twins, participation, and citizenship
• Digital Twins and related concepts (e.g. metaverse, digital double, avatar, transposition, phygital)
• Data architecture and data governance in different policy regimes
• Cybersecurity and Digital Twins
• Regulatory processes, privacy and ethical implications of Digital Twins

The panel, therefore, intends to welcome proposals that explore the topic of Digital Twins from different perspectives, with no preference for specific methods of analysis and establishing a synergy between scholars from different disciplines to develop a dialogue capable of fully grasping the potential offered. Contributions may focus on application of this technology, collect empirical evidence, or produce theoretical reflections on the concept identifying emerging trends and future areas of development and research also from a comparative perspective.

ITA

The Politics and Policy of Digital Twins

I Digital Twins (“gemelli digitali”) offrono un’opportunità unica per trasformare il modo in cui governiamo, gestiamo e interagiamo con la realtà sociale e politica che ci circonda. Questa tecnologia emergente non si limita a rappresentare entità materiali, che siano artificiali o naturali, ma si estende anche a processi, organizzazioni e persino persone, riproducendo dinamicamente tutte le caratteristiche dell’entità rappresentata attraverso l’aggiornamento costante dei dati in tempo reale.
La rapida diffusione dei Digital Twins su scala globale stimola l’indagine delle nuove opportunità per il settore pubblico, l’innovazione, e la progettazione socio-politica. Si aprono nuove frontiere di sviluppo e ricerca in diversi settori, dalla governance alla pubblica amministrazione, dalla cittadinanza attiva all’architettura dei dati, rendendo necessarie occasioni di approfondimento sistematico sui cambiamenti in corso.
Il panel accoglie paper sul tema dei Digital Twins, proponendo di estendere il concetto al di là del suo utilizzo tradizionale nell’ambito dell’industria e dell’ingegneria, e portarlo al centro dell’agenda di ricerca delle scienze politiche e sociali. L’avvento di questa tecnologia, introduce nuove strade per concepire, organizzare, e decidere sugli orizzonti della società e della politica contemporanea, arricchendo il dibattito sui profili cangianti della politica digitale.
Il panel si propone di esplorare, tra gli altri, i seguenti aspetti:

• Storia, prospettive, e approcci teorici al concetto di Digital Twins
• Digital Twins nelle strategie di governance internazionali, nazionali e private
• Rielaborazione del ruolo, dei metodi organizzativi e scopi dell’amministrazione pubblica
• Migliorare i servizi pubblici attraverso Digital Twins, applicazioni e casi di studio
• Modelli di governance per lo sviluppo di Digital Twins
• Digital Twins e politiche pubbliche
• Digital Twins, partecipazione, e cittadinanza
• Digital Twins e concetti affini (es. metaverso, digital double, avatar, trasposizione, phygital)
• Data architecture e data governance in diversi regimi politici
• Cybersecurity e Digital Twins
• Processi di regolamentazione, privacy e risvolti etici dei Digital twins

Il panel, dunque, intende accogliere proposte che esplorino il tema dei Digital Twins da diverse prospettive, senza preferenze particolari per metodi di analisi specifici ed instaurando una sinergia tra studiosi di diverse discipline per sviluppare un dialogo in grado di cogliere appieno le potenzialità offerte. I contributi possono concentrarsi su un’applicazione di questa tecnologia raccogliendo evidenze empiriche, o produrre riflessioni teoriche sul concetto intercettando tendenze emergenti e future aree di sviluppo e ricerca anche in ottica comparata.

Chairs: Fortunato Musella

 

Panel 6.6 The Policy and Politics of Language


The field of scientific investigation known as Language Policy and Planning (LPP) began in the 1950s, primarily as a sub-field of sociolinguistics. However, it soon developed as an interdisciplinary field that attracted the attention of numerous political scientists. Pioneers of empirical political research like Karl W. Deutsch, Jean A. Laponce, and Stein Rokkan wrote extensively on national and minority languages, linguistic arrangements and state language regimes. Political scientists often cooperated with sociolinguists and language planners in the study of national development and the practice of nation-building. After the 1980s, the critical and postmodern turn in the social sciences promoted a drift of LPP from its initial interdisciplinary and policy-oriented approach, by promoting discursive and ethnographic approaches to the study of LPP. Much attention, therefore, has been given to the study of power relations that are reflected, produced and reproduced through discourse and manifested in practice, but little attention has been paid to the actual planning, implementation and evaluation of language policies. This has created a worrying isolation of the discipline of LPP from public policy studies as well as from the concrete concerns of political decision-makers who have to make decisions on topics such as state educational policies, support for minority languages, and language integration of migrants. Since the early 2000s, however, and more intensively in recent years, signs of convergence have emerged again. On the one hand, the role of governments and state policies (as opposed to individuals’ language practices) in the making of language policy has been stressed; on the other hand, attention has been placed on the politics of language and language planning as well as on how to better study the process of language policy design, implementation, and evaluation. Within this broad perspective, the panel invites paper proposals that deal with language policy as public policy, minority language promotion and protection, public policies for the integration of immigrants, management of linguistic diversity in the public administration (both at the national level, e.g. in officially multilingual countries such as Switzerland and Belgium, and at the international level, e.g. In the EU) and in higher education, the linkage between language planning and identity-building at local, national and international level, and the role of power and politics in language planning.

Chairs: Michele Gazzola

 

Panel 6.7 Environmental Policy or Environmental Policies? Challenges and Opportunities in Multilevel Contexts


Over the decades, the increasing perception of risks, the advancement of scientific knowledge, and demands from stakeholders for public decision-makers to achieve greater "environmental security" have led to an expansion of the concept's scope, permeating numerous policy areas. Environmental policy, initially drawing from various sectors that were most relevant, has evolved and consolidated into a policy realm shaped by the challenges of risk society, necessitating the extension of environmental protection across multiple sectors (Pellizzoni e Osti 2008). Consequently, environmental policy undergoes a reverse process, becoming fragmented and influencing other policy sectors not only horizontally but also vertically across different levels of government and European and international institutions, pressing increasingly for the achievement of concrete goals to improve environmental quality.

This leads us to speak of "environmental policies" in the plural, referring to functional policy areas serving different objectives related to environmental issues (Coletti 2024). It is indeed naïve and incomplete to expect a single environmental policy designed by a central actor, given the vertical multidimensionality and high horizontal interdependence with many policies pursuing environmental protection objectives, involving various actors belonging to diverse policy networks (Jordan and Lenschow 2008; Howlett and Saguin 2018).

Environmental policies encompass a range of initiatives advocated by actors from both public and private sectors, as well as civil society, at various levels of governance and institutions. These initiatives aim to prevent, reduce, and eliminate sources of pollution while addressing environmental damage. Additionally, they strive to ensure responsible management of natural resources through collaboration among actors.

The panel aims at gathering scholars who study environmental policies, also with a multilevel perspective, promoting theoretical research and empirical analysis on the topic. Both national case studies and comparative analyses are welcome, focusing on the entire policy cycle: agenda setting, policy formulation, decision making processes, implementation, and evaluation phases, concretely put into action by policy actors. Papers in Italian or English are accepted.

Chairs: Paola Coletti

 

Panel 6.8 Critical approaches to corruption and anti-corruption: Imaginaries, definitions and policy discourses from around the globe


Corruption is conventionally understood as a multidimensional governance problem that affects every part of the globe. Such a shared understanding has given rise to multiple international anti-corruption norms and best practices that, over several decades, have spread pretty much worldwide. However, scholars across diverse disciplinary traditions have been increasingly pointing to the fact that incidences of corruption, acceptance, and non-acceptance of corrupt norms and practices, and even definitions of corruption vary significantly across countries and that one-size-fits-all definitions and approaches tend to yield poor results for corruption control. For example, critics of these overarching discourses and approaches have raised several concerns against the neo-liberal and universalistic conceptions of corruption produced in the Global North on countries of the Global South. While there is a general consensus among various anti-corruption stakeholders that corruption is a constant feature of the political economies of the countries of the Global South, deterring their growth and development, there is a strong colonialist gaze that marks this characterization. At the same time, current definitions and approaches to corruption tend to downplay the relevance of less clear-cut forms of institutional opaqueness, such as lobbying, revolving doors, or illicit financing. This leaves aside discussions on forms of legalized corruption and their impact on democracy, even in the Global North. When considering these factors together, it can be argued that we need a greater understanding of national, regional, and local policies of corruption (and their resultant imaginaries) with emphasis on the sociocultural dimensions alongside the economic, political, environmental, technological, and legal ones. The panel aims to facilitate conversations on perceptions, imaginaries, narratives, and definitions of corruption, focusing both on (anti)corruption policies at different levels of administration; as well as the work of local political actors, including (but not limited to) governments, local courts, ombudsmen, civil society organizations, transparency activists, and business and financial entities. A further aim of our panel is to interrogate global top-down policy measures like international anti-corruption norms and their efficacy in contexts vastly different from those in which they were created. This is motivated by the fact that most anti-corruption initiatives in developing countries fail, often because of the lack of context-specific approaches, an implied Western bias (ethnocentrism), and an oversimplification of strategies that lead interventions off-track.



We invite both theoretical and empirical papers using a wide range of methodologies on the following broad themes:



Critical reflections on international anti-corruption norms, policies and practices

Translating international (anti)corruption policies to local practices

Imaginaries and definitions of corruption and anti-corruption from street-level bureaucrats and other everyday political actors

Context-specific appraisals of (anti)corruption definitions and practices

Imaginaries and perceptions of (anti)corruption from Global South

Global South-North knowledge exchanges on (anti)corruption issues and policymaking

Chairs: Anwesha Chakraborty, Alessandra Lo Piccolo

 

Panel 6.9 Navigating complexity: Policymaking across policy subsystems


Taming complex problems means considering dense interactions between policy issues and coordinating interdependent actors belonging to different policy subsystems – i.e., with different views, goals, and interests.

The study of policymaking across policy subsystems is not a new theme in policy studies, but it has gained renewed interest recently (Domorenok et al., 2021). It is considered particularly important to tackle cross-cutting issues, such as the loss of biodiversity, climate change, or global health crises (Trein et al., 2023).

While policymaking is tied to traditional siloes, complex problems cannot be tamed alone by one sector. Hence, policy analysts have shown a growing interest in the various ways in which policy subsystems interact in policymaking. This interest is expressed in many strands of research, such as policy coherence, policy mainstreaming, boundary-spanning policy regimes, joined-up governments, and others. Tosun and Lang (2017) proposed to consider all of them under the umbrella concept of policy integration to allow for theoretical cross-fertilization.

Scholars agree on some basic characteristics of policy integration such as its procedural nature (Candle & Biesbroek, 2016; Cejudo, Trein, 2023) and its reliance on policy capacities (Domorenok et al., 2021). However, different conceptualizations of this process coexist, contributing to its fuzziness. In addition, policy integration research still needs to explain why the integration of public policies successfully occurs, as well as its effects. Finally, the political aspects of policy integration are still understudied (Trein et al., 2023).

This panel welcomes proposals dedicated to policy integration and coordination (and related concepts) with a focus on the linkages of different policy subsystems. We welcome diverse contributions, among others:
- Studies conceptualizing or analyzing the implementation and evaluation phases of the policy integration (and related concepts), including reasons for policy (integration) failure,
- Studies describing co-benefits and trade-offs between policy instruments across sectors,
- In-depth qualitative case studies regarding interactions between two sectors (e.g., eco-social nexus, water-energy nexus, interactions between climate mitigation and adaptation goals, etc.),
- Studies addressing the effects of policy integration and coordination (and related concepts),
- Studies addressing the (de-)politicization of policy integration (and related concepts).

The panel will be conducted exclusively in English to facilitate participation from international scholars and promote diversity within the panel.


References
Candel, J. J., & Biesbroek, R. (2016). Toward a processual understanding of policy integration. Policy Sciences, 49, 211-231.

Cejudo, G. M., & Trein, P. (2023). Pathways to policy integration: A subsystem approach. Policy Sciences, 56(1), 9-27.

Domorenok, E., Graziano, P., & Polverari, L. (2021). Introduction: Policy integration and institutional capacity: Theoretical, conceptual and empirical challenges. Policy and Society, 40(1), 1-18.

Tosun, J., & Lang, A. (2017). Policy integration: Mapping the different concepts. Policy Studies, 38(6), 553-570.

Trein, P., Fischer, M., Maggetti, M., & Sarti, F. (2023). Empirical research on policy integration: a review and new directions. Policy Sciences, 56(1), 29-48.

Chairs: Niccolò Aimo, Ekaterina Domorenok, Francesco Sarti

 

Panel 6.10 Who governs the twin transitions of energy and digital in Europe? Elites, networks coalitions, emerging interests and strategies, between private and public sphere


The processes of transition have always captured the attention of scholars studying political and social change, as well as far-reaching technological and organizational innovations. The energy and digital transitions are the two major pillars of the current "ecological or green transition," understood here as a process of technological, social, and economic conversion oriented towards a sustainable development model. These are highly complex phenomena that intersect multiple dimensions, levels of government, public and private actors, and coalitions supporting change or defending the status quo. One focus investigated by recent literature concerns the various categories of actors and the roles they play in influencing the directions and outcomes of the transition. Several contributions categorize the actors and their different roles in the various phases of the transition (Markard 2018; Thurneim & Sovacool 2020; Bjerkan et al. 2021; Kungl 2024; Lindberg & Kammermann 2021). Such analytical distinctions can be very useful in identifying the protagonists of transitions and addressing the question: How can actors' roles and the constellations they constitute shape transitions? The current energy transition is, as known, closely associated with the digital transition; the latter plays a central role in transforming processes of energy production, distribution, and consumption. Given these premises, the panel calls for contributions that separately or jointly study the two transitions, paying attention to the actors, coalitions governing them, and the different roles they assume in various phases. The panel also welcomes contributions studying the transition in sectors connected to the energy and/or digital sectors (e.g., transportation, agriculture, healthcare, automobiles). More specifically, the energy transition and its associated policies have been among the most studied in the last decade from various disciplinary perspectives. After all, the energy transition is the one with the most interconnections with climate change, the development of renewables, innovations related to digital technology, industrial conversion processes, and more generally, cultural and social changes.

In the early phase of the energy transition, when renewables were still a small niche in fossil-fuel dominated national energy systems, coalitional dynamics, interests and strategies were easier to detect. Pro-green industries and actors generally advocated for financial and regulatory support (e.g. feed-in tariffs, subsides, priority access to the electricity grid, simplified localization procedures) whereas opponents – typically fossil fuel industries, large utilities, incumbents, and large industrial consumers – underlined the risks and costs of renewables opposing ambitious policies for promoting their deployment. However, in the current phase, marked by an acceleration of the energy transition, the declining costs of renewables, the diffusion of new technologies such as hydrogen and electric vehicles, and rising competitive pressures for traditional energy business, actors’ coalitions, interests and strategies are in a flux process of reconfiguration.
This trend is particularly interesting in Europe. The energy crisis triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine has spurred a new wave of interventionism at the EU and the national level and has opened the way for a return of investments in traditional sectors, from coal to natural gas infrastructures. The crisis, however, has also (again) highlighted the inherent risks and costs of fossil fuel dependency; this could act, along with growing climate concerns, as a further push for promoting renewables. These tensions are particularly evident in a country like Italy, traditionally highly dependent on Russian natural gas, but also with large potentials in the area of renewables.

Specifically, this panel aims to collect papers, focusing on country-level or adopting a cross-countries comparative perspective, that investigate one (or more) of the following issues:

- The reconfiguration of actors and coalitions around key strategies and polices for promoting (or hindering) the energy and/or the digital transition
- The changing role of incumbents and large utilities in the current phase of the energy transition. The structuration of interests and coalitions around emerging digital and green technologies (green hydrogen, batteries, electric vehicles, etc.) or novel policy tools and practices (e.g. Renewable Energy Communities, Power Purchase Agreements, etc.)
- The framing and reframing of renewables and energy transition polices in the wake of the crisis triggered by the war
- The framing and reframing of digital transition policies impacting on several economic and social spheres (e.g. energy, health, education, public services, citizenship)

Chairs: Luca Germano, Renata Lizzi, Andrea Prontera

 

Panel 6.11 Policy Success and Failure: Or of the fine art of not falling into the traps of excessive simplification when assessing public policies


How to analyse the success and failure of complex public policies has been debated in public policy literature (BOVENS et al., 2002; BOVENS, 2018; DUNLOP, 2020; MCCONNELL et al., 2020; OLAVARRÍA-GAMBI, 2022; HEAD, 2023). In Europe, both the Cohesion Funds and the post-Covid ‘Next Generation EU’ program, have intensified the linkages between funded programs and well-defined outcomes to be achieved: the NGEU will reimburse the member states’ expenses only after the realisation of specific outcomes. Within this framework, the appropriate identification of the results to be achieved and of the method of measurement becomes of paramount importance. The key importance of the ‘end’ results of public policy and programs challenges policy makers and civil servants to focus on the value and purposiveness of public action. In other words, the outcomes perspective entails a judgement of success or failure of public programs that often is synthetic and could oversee the complexities of public policy implementation. This panel aims to gather scholars interested in critically discussing this perspective and providing framework and research strategies useful for understanding of successes and failures of complex public policy programs.
Various critical elements of the definition of policy success or failure – or ‘grey areas in between’ (MCCONNELL, 2010) - have been discussed, including the setting up of relevant, not merely formal ex-ante objectives, and the ability to discern and weight different types of success for different types of stakeholders affected. The appreciation of outcomes initially established could be unsatisfactory or even misplaced, for instance: in case of poor or conflicting policy design (Compton et al. 2021); uneven design and implementation processes (Shepherd, 2011); change in the political mood; unexpected conflicts, or external events (Covid pandemic, Russia-Ukraine war, etc) that substantially changed the salience of the intervention or the resources available at the beginning (McConnell, 2010). The process of determining and measuring policy success or failure is moreover challenged when public interventions are either inconsistent or complex (e.g., in the case of multilevel governance, where responsibility for policy planning and implementation is dispersed between different levels of administration). These may include different policies to solve crosscutting issues or wicked problems (Bailie et al., 2022(HEAD, 2023).
Various authors have noted that a linear and entirely predictable policy design is not suitable for the more complex and challenging policy domains. Theory-based evaluations (CHEN, 1990; WEISS, 1997; CHEN, 2012; MAYNE, 2015) and realist designs based on the CMO or the CIMO configuration (PAWSON and TILLEY, 1997; PAWSON, 2006; PEDERSEN and RIEPER, 2008; PUNTON et al., 2020), suffer from the tendency to represent oversimplified policy processes, without adequately considering the complexity of these processes and positive and negative, expected and unexpected outcomes. The advocates of ‘formative’ evaluations (SCRIVEN, 1991, 1996; STAME, 2004) (Scriven, 1991, 1996; Stame, 2004) have underlined the shortcomings of evaluating complex policies and programs, and the consequent need for more open-ended evaluation designs, that in turn could be less able to synthesize clear-cut judgements about the program’s ultimate results. On their side, the quasi-experimental and formal evaluation advocates – or as they have been called, the ‘truth-seeking’ or positivist stream of evaluation theory (SHADISH et al., 1991) - struggle to take into consideration the implementation process and its reasons for particular designs (COOK et al., 1979), as well as strategies aiming at political sustainability (PATASHNIK and WEAVER, 2021), thus risking an adequate interpretative framework for evaluation findings, or sometimes not focusing on the most relevant outcomes. In other words, by doing so, they expose themselves to the risk of oversimplification and thus to hasty, ungenerous, and sometimes unfounded judgments about policy strategies and results.
Starting from the public policy debate on policy success and failure, the panel aims to gather contributions and experiences of scholars who have addressed critical issues about the relationships between programmes, the evaluation of policy success and failures, and the capacity to provide relevant policy advice to policy makers, institutions, including the EU and other international organisations, citizens and stakeholder groups. Particularly welcomed are paper discussing these issues in the context of the implementation of NRRP reforms and programs.
In particular, the panel will raise the following research questions:
• How does policy coherence (or the lack thereof) affect policy implementation in complex governance structures?
• What are the consequences of evaluation-policy process dysfunctions in terms of methodological choices, evaluation policy process, and relevance of evaluation findings for citizens and other stakeholder groups?
• Are there epistemological questions, approaches and solutions to cope with these challenges? Which lessons can we derive from their application?
• Are there analytical frameworks, strategies and tools, including AI-based analytical instruments, able to mitigate or strengthen these relationships and challenges?
• How do policy makers and policy advisors take into account and overcome these challenges? Are there systemic approaches being considered over episodic ones?



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BOVENS M. (2018) Revisiting the study of policy failures, Fiascos in Public Policy and Foreign Policy, pp. 23-36. Routledge.
BOVENS M. A., T'HART P. and PETERS B. G. (2002) Success and failure in public governance: A comparative analysis. Edward Elgar Publishing.
CHEN H.-T. (1990) Theory-driven evaluations. Sage, Newbury Park, Calif.
CHEN H. T. (2012) Theory-driven evaluation: Conceptual framework, application and advancement. Springer.
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DUNLOP C. A. (2020) Policy learning and policy failure: Definitions, dimensions and intersections, Policy Learning and Policy Failure, pp. 1-22. Policy Press.
HEAD B. W. (2023) Wicked problems in public policy, Encyclopedia of Public Policy, pp. 1-8. Springer.
MAYNE J. (2015) Useful theory of change models, Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation 30.
MCCONNELL A. (2010) Policy Success, Policy Failure and Grey Areas In-Between, Journal of Public Policy 30, 345-62.
MCCONNELL A., GREALY L. and LEA T. (2020) Policy success for whom? A framework for analysis, Policy Sciences 53, 589-608.
OLAVARRÍA-GAMBI M. (2022) Policy Failure, in FARAZMAND A. (Ed) Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance, pp. 9494-7. Springer International Publishing, Cham.
PATASHNIK E. M. and WEAVER R. K. (2021) Policy analysis and political sustainability, Policy Studies Journal 49, 1110-34.
PAWSON R. (2006) Evidence-Based Policy : A Realist Perspective. Sage, London.
PAWSON R. and TILLEY N. (1997) Realistic evaluation. Sage.
PEDERSEN L. H. and RIEPER O. (2008) Is realist evaluation a realistic approach for complex reforms?, Evaluation 14, 271-93.
PUNTON M., ISABEL V., LEAVY J., MICHAELIS C. and BOYDELL E. (2020) Reality bites: Making realist evaluation useful in the real world, CDI Practice Paper 22.
SCRIVEN M. (1991) Prose and cons about goal-free evaluation, Evaluation Practice 12, 55-62.
SCRIVEN M. (1996) Types of evaluation and types of evaluator, Evaluation Practice 17, 151-61.
SHADISH W. R., COOK T. D. and LEVITON L. C. (1991) Foundations of program evaluation: Theories of practice. Sage.
STAME N. (2004) Theory-Based Evaluation and Types of Complexity, Evaluation 10, 58-76.
WEISS C. H. (1997) How can theory-based evaluation make greater headway?, Evaluation review 21, 501-24.

Chairs: Erica Melloni, Giancarlo Vecchi