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2021 Conference of the ECPR Standing Group on Politics and Gender

Disproportionate Policy Response by Design: Towards a Conceptual Turn

Political Psychology
Public Policy
Decision Making
Policy Change
Moshe Maor
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Moshe Maor
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Since the U.S. response to 9/11 and the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, there has been increasing interest in the concept of disproportionate policy response and its two component concepts—policy over- and underreaction. These concepts are viewed by traditional policy theory as unintentional policy mistakes. This paper highlights a conceptual turn whereby these concepts are re-entering the policy lexicon as types of intentional policy choices. This turn, as well as rising negativity and populism in democratic politics, force policy scholars and policymakers to ignore the negative connotations associated with these concepts and to recognize instead the repertoire of disproportionate policy response and, at times, its success in achieving policy goals. The paper elaborates on this theoretical advancement and concludes by identifying five areas that offer promising possibilities for future research on intentional disproportionate policy response: definitional foundations, micro-foundations, levels of analysis, temporality, and dynamism, and process research.
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