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The Micro-Dimensions of Policy Design: A Key Challenge for Real-World Policy Practice

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posted on 2023-03-22, 12:05 authored by Michael HowlettMichael Howlett, M Ramesh, Giliberto Capano


A key challenge to real-world policy making is determining how to match policy goals with the means available to implement them. This match is problematic for several reasons, not the least of which is the lack of  conceptual clarity surrounding how targets should be set for policy goals and how exactly policy tools should be calibrated to meet them. These subjects have been examined by a number of scholars, but  their insights have not been synthesized into a common framework, applicable in practice. This paper examines this literature and presents a framework which allows analysts and practitioners  to ensure that the designs they propose contain the necessary elements to have a significant chance of attaining policy success. The utility of the framework is illustrated through examination of two high profile recent cases of policy development: the Affordable Care Act in USA, and the regulation of car emissions in the EU.


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Lead author country

  • Italy

Lead author job role

  • Higher Education Researcher

Lead author institution

University of Bologna

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