This paper aims to include citizens in the analysis of policy change over time. By bringing together the policy design and policy feedback literatures, we argue that it is relevant to understand how public policies modify citizens’ perceptions and political agency and how the latter contribute to influencing policy developments. A stream of the policy feedback literature looks at the impacts of a policy on citizens’ political participation or political attitudes (e.g. (e.g. Campbell, 2003; Mettler, 2005). Citizens’ perceptions of the policy are central in the definition of the political and social feedback effects (Pierson, 1994). They also are recognised as relevant in constituency-building supporting positive or negative feedbacks effects (Weaver, 2010). Yet, when it comes to explaining policy dynamics over time, individual citizens are disregarded. We suggest a two-step analysis looking at through which mechanisms public policies shape citizens’ political participation, and whether and when citizens’ political agency influences public policy. We systematise the analytical power of the policy design and pinpoint what changes in selected policy design dimensions are likely to affect citizens’ perceptions and how these relate to mechanisms of policy feedback. Finally, we apply our framework to policy changes of active labour market and healthcare policies in England as a preliminary test.
Reference: Claire Dupuy and Margherita Bussi (2018), Paper prepared for the IPPA Joint sessions 2018 Workshop “Policy feedback and policy dynamics: Methodological and theoretical challenges” University of Pittsburgh June 26-28, 2018