Bio: Grant Jordan is an academic researcher from University of Aberdeen. The author has contributed to research in topics: Politics & Government. The author has an hindex of 19, co-authored 49 publications receiving 1630 citations.
TL;DR: The authors examines the place of groups in the consultative process in British policymaking, and identifies the important divide between the relatively few groups with privileged status and the greater number of groups who find themselves consigned to less influential positions.
Abstract: This paper examines the place of groups in the consultative process in British policymaking. It stresses the importance of consultation even under the Thatcher government and distinguishes between consultation, bargaining and negotiation. The paper identifies the important divide between the relatively few groups with privileged status and the greater number of groups who find themselves consigned to less influential positions. The discussion revisits the insider/outsider typology often used to differentiate interest group strategies and status in policy development. It suggests that the insider group term is associated with a particular style of policy making, and offers amendments to the existing use of the terms to avoid the difficulties which occur from the conflation of group strategy and group status.
TL;DR: This piece attempts to record the variety of labels currently used to describe state/interest relations, to show the overlap between certain of these labels, and how they relate one to the other.
Abstract: . This introduction seeks to sketch out the relationship between a variety of terms that are used in contemporary discussion of the interaction between Government/State and interest groups. It starts with a short reflection on the main theories of interest intermediation — pluralism and corporatism — and argues for reserving the term policy network as a generic label embracing different types of network relationship. This piece thus attempts to record the variety of labels currently used to describe state/interest relations, to show the overlap between certain of these labels, and how they relate one to the other. The existing confusion of labels signal a greater variety than they deliver.
TL;DR: For instance, this paper pointed out that the lack of conceptual clarity in the social sciences has a negative effect on the ability to distinguish between interest groups and other policy relevant bodies, such as corporations or institutions.
Abstract: This article notes the systemic lack of conceptual clarity in the social sciences and attempts to illustrate the adverse consequences by closer examination of the particular example of the interest group field. It indicates the significant ambiguities implicit in the term. Not all policy-influencing organisations are interest groups as normally understood, but because there is a lack of an appropriate label the term interest group is used by default. The article seeks to distinguish between interest groups and other policy relevant bodies—often corporations or institutions. It finds disadvantages in adopting a functional interpretation of the interest group term (i.e. any organisation trying to influence public policy). While the wider range of organisations are crucial in understanding the making of public policy, it is confusing to assume that this wider population are all interest groups. The article instead advances the complementary notions of pressure participant, policy participant and interest group. This slightly expanded repertoire of terms avoids conflating important distinctions, and, in Sartori’s term permits ‘disambiguation’. The core assumption is that the search for comparative data and exploration of normative questions implies some harmonisation in the interest group currency. With few—if any—exceptions, concepts in the social sciences are poorly defined: indeed most prove popular precisely because they have an imprecision that allows promiscuous application. 1 Though the press and non-specialist political scientists think they know when an organisation is, or is not, an interest group, this is an area where more careful scrutiny produces less rather than more confidence. This article ‘tests’ a very basic ‘unit of analysis’ crucial to political science, the interest group, and finds that the elasticity of understanding among scholars in the area makes cumulative studies (unnecessarily) difficult. In the absence of definitional clarity, general conclusions about what sorts of groups dominate the democratic system—an important dimension to interest group study—are almost impossible to draw with any accuracy. The core proposition in this article 2 is that different authors cover different types of organisation in the field loosely delineated by the interest/pressure group label. While there is value in Karl Popper’s concern that we should not be ‘goaded into taking seriously words and their meanings’ (Popper 1976, quoted in Gerring 1999, 360), if there are no agreed language-tools there can be no comparison of conclusions.
01 Jan 2007
TL;DR: Prospect Theory led cognitive psychology in a new direction that began to uncover other human biases in thinking that are probably not learned but are part of the authors' brain’s wiring.
Abstract: In 1974 an article appeared in Science magazine with the dry-sounding title “Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases” by a pair of psychologists who were not well known outside their discipline of decision theory. In it Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman introduced the world to Prospect Theory, which mapped out how humans actually behave when faced with decisions about gains and losses, in contrast to how economists assumed that people behave. Prospect Theory turned Economics on its head by demonstrating through a series of ingenious experiments that people are much more concerned with losses than they are with gains, and that framing a choice from one perspective or the other will result in decisions that are exactly the opposite of each other, even if the outcomes are monetarily the same. Prospect Theory led cognitive psychology in a new direction that began to uncover other human biases in thinking that are probably not learned but are part of our brain’s wiring.
01 Jan 1998
TL;DR: The course is focused on historical texts, most of them philosophical as discussed by the authors, and context for understanding the texts and the course of democratic development will be provided in lecture and discussions, and by some background readings (Dunn).
Abstract: The course is focused on historical texts, most of them philosophical. Context for understanding the texts and the course of democratic development will be provided in lecture and discussions, and by some background readings (Dunn). We begin with the remarkable Athenian democracy, and its frequent enemy the Spartan oligarchy. In Athens legislation was passed directly by an assembly of all citizens, and executive officials were selected by lot rather than by competitive election. Athenian oligarchs such as Plato more admired Sparta, and their disdain for the democracy became the judgment of the ages, until well after the modern democratic revolutions. Marsilius of Padua in the early Middle Ages argued for popular sovereignty. The Italian citystates of the Middle Ages did without kings, and looked back to Rome and Greece for republican models. During the English Civil War republicans debated whether the few or the many should be full citizens of the regime. The English, French, and American revolutions struggled with justifying and establishing a representative democracy suitable for a large state, and relied on election rather than lot to select officials. The English established a constitutional monarchy, admired in Europe, and adapted by the Americans in their republican constitution. The American Revolution helped inspire the French, and the French inspired republican and democratic revolution throughout Europe during the 19 century.
TL;DR: Policy implementation has been a hot topic in recent years as discussed by the authors, with a resurgence of attention to the subject. But some of the discourse has shifted, the questions have broadened, and the agenda has become complicated.
Abstract: While policy implementation no longer frames the core question of public management and public policy, some scholars have debated appropriate steps for revitalization. And the practical world stands just as much in need now of valid knowledge about policy implementation as ever. Where has all the policy implementation gone? Or at least all the scholarly signs of it? And why? What has the field accomplished? Should a resurgence of attention to the subject be exhorted? And if so, in what directions? This article considers these questions as foci of an assessment of the state of the field, and the argument reaches somewhat unconventional conclusions: There is more here than meets the eye. While modest to moderate progress can be noted on a number of fronts, an initial assessment is likely to understate the extent of work underway on matters quite close to the implementation theme. Research on policy implementation-like questions has partially transmogrified. One has to look, sometimes, in unusual places and be informed by a broader logic of intellectual development to make sense of the relevant scholarship. Policy implementation work, in short, continues to bear relevance for important themes of policy and management. But some of the discourse has shifted, the questions have broadened, and the agenda has become complicated. Research on implementation, under whatever currently fashionable labels, is alive and lively.
TL;DR: The New Institutionalism as discussed by the authors is a set of theoretical ideas and hypotheses concerning the relations between institutional characteristics and political agency, performance and change, and it emphasizes the endogenous nature and social construction of political institutions.
Abstract: To sketch an institutional approach, this paper elaborates ideas presented over 20 years ago in The New Institutionalism: Organizational Factors in Political Life (March and Olsen 1984). Institutionalism, as that term is used here, connotes a general approach to the study of political institutions, a set of theoretical ideas and hypotheses concerning the relations between institutional characteristics and political agency, performance and change. Institutionalism emphasizes the endogenous nature and social construction of political institutions. Institutions are not simply equilibrium contracts among self-seeking, calculating individual actors or arenas for contending social forces. They are collections of structures, rules and standard operating procedures that have a partly autonomous role in political life. The paper ends with raising some research questions at the frontier of institutional studies.