The workshop tackles the “empirical gap” between policy ideas and policy design, i.e. policy strategies and policy instruments. We wish to discover the ways and the degree to which policy ideas – next to or in interaction with interests and institutions - determine strategies and instruments adopted and implemented in order to achieve desired policy outcomes.
This is a “sensitive” and “ambitious” subject for three different reasons: Firstly, because in dealing with this topic it is intended overcoming the pitfalls and shortcomings by focusing on the operational level of policy-making, that is on the concrete impact of policy ideas. Secondly, because we wish to closely connect “policy tools analysis” (Hood 2007) with the mainstream of public policy. Thirdly, because we want to call for a comparison and possible integration of the “specialized” frameworks which characterize the study of policy ideas and policy instruments in the public policy field.
So, the proposed subject focuses on an important “crossroad” in public policy. The attempt to bring together ideational literature, policy instrument analysis, and specialized sectoral policy knowledge, is of fundamental importance if we want to gain a better understanding of and solve some of the long-standing questions about the impact of ideas in policy-making (discourses, paradigms, réferentiel) on the design of policy strategies and instruments.
We invite the participation of scholars from various different theoretical and methodological schools of thought (historical- institutionalist, rational-choice, post-positivist policy analysis, constructivism, etc.), each with research experience in a different policy field.