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Designing policies that intentionally stick: policy feedback in a changing climate


  • Andrew Jordan


  • Elah Matt


Policy feedback is a widely used concept, but many who use it only focus on the positive and/or unintentional feedback effects of certain types of policy. The literature as a whole is therefore poorly equipped to make sense of the negative policy feedbacks that often appear in more regulatory areas such as climate change, where target groups are put under pressure to shoulder concentrated costs. Advocates of the ‘new’ policy design have an opportunity to address this gap by exploring how policy makers approach the design of policies that intentionally generate positive policy feedbacks and/or are resilient to negative ones. This paper contributes to that effort by identifying the conditions under which specific instrument designs are likely to have opportunity enhancing and/or constraining effects. It relates these expectations to a design situation where positive feedback seemed unlikely, and hence, the challenge of designing locked-in policies was correspondingly greater. It concludes by drawing on the findings of this exploratory case to investigate what the ‘new’ policy design can do better to explicate the temporal aspects of design. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Jordan & Elah Matt, 2014. "Designing policies that intentionally stick: policy feedback in a changing climate," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 47(3), pages 227-247, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:policy:v:47:y:2014:i:3:p:227-247
    DOI: 10.1007/s11077-014-9201-x

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jordan,Andrew & Huitema,Dave & van Asselt,Harro & Rayner,Tim & Berkhout,Frans (ed.), 2010. "Climate Change Policy in the European Union," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521196123, September.
    2. Ingram, Helen & Schneider, Anne, 1990. "Improving Implementation Through Framing Smarter Statutes," Journal of Public Policy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(1), pages 67-88, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Roberts, Cameron & Geels, Frank W., 2019. "Conditions for politically accelerated transitions: Historical institutionalism, the multi-level perspective, and two historical case studies in transport and agriculture," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 221-240.
    2. Andrew J. Jordan & John R. Turnpenny (ed.), 2015. "The Tools of Policy Formulation," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 15898.
    3. Edmondson, Duncan L. & Kern, Florian & Rogge, Karoline S., 2019. "The co-evolution of policy mixes and socio-technical systems: Towards a conceptual framework of policy mix feedback in sustainability transitions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(10).
    4. Giliberto Capano & Andrea Lippi, 2017. "How policy instruments are chosen: patterns of decision makers’ choices," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 50(2), pages 269-293, June.
    5. Burroughs, Richard, 2015. "Feedback switching and the evolution of U.S. coastal management," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 94-100.
    6. Christoph H. Stefes & Carol Hager, 2020. "Resistance to Energy Transitions," Review of Policy Research, Policy Studies Organization, vol. 37(3), pages 286-291, May.
    7. Steven Bernstein & Matthew Hoffmann, 2018. "The politics of decarbonization and the catalytic impact of subnational climate experiments," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 51(2), pages 189-211, June.
    8. Daniel Béland & Michael Howlett & Philip Rocco & Alex Waddan, 2020. "Designing policy resilience: lessons from the Affordable Care Act," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 53(2), pages 269-289, June.
    9. Fergus Green, 2015. "Nationally Self-Interested Climate Change Mitigation: A Unified Conceptual Framework," GRI Working Papers 199, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    10. Carol Hager & Nicole Hamagami, 2020. "Local Renewable Energy Initiatives in Germany and Japan in a Changing National Policy Environment," Review of Policy Research, Policy Studies Organization, vol. 37(3), pages 386-411, May.
    11. Veronica Alejandra Neumann & Jochen Hack, 2019. "A Methodology of Policy Assessment at the Municipal Level: Costa Rica´s Readiness for the Implementation of Nature-Based-Solutions for Urban Stormwater Management," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(1), pages 1-38, December.
    12. Nicolas Rocle & Denis Salles, 2018. "“Pioneers but not guinea pigs”: experimenting with climate change adaptation in French coastal areas," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 51(2), pages 231-247, June.
    13. Carsten Daugbjerg & Adrian Kay, 2020. "Policy feedback and pathways: when change leads to endurance and continuity to change," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 53(2), pages 253-268, June.
    14. Giliberto Capano & Michael Howlett, 2020. "The Knowns and Unknowns of Policy Instrument Analysis: Policy Tools and the Current Research Agenda on Policy Mixes," SAGE Open, , vol. 10(1), pages 21582440199, January.
    15. Fergus Green & Richard Denniss, 2018. "Cutting with both arms of the scissors: the economic and political case for restrictive supply-side climate policies," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 150(1), pages 73-87, September.
    16. Grace Skogstad, 2020. "Mixed feedback dynamics and the USA renewable fuel standard: the roles of policy design and administrative agency," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 53(2), pages 349-369, June.
    17. Brendan Moore & Andrew Jordan, 2020. "Disaggregating the dependent variable in policy feedback research: an analysis of the EU Emissions Trading System," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 53(2), pages 291-307, June.
    18. Leonore Haelg & Sebastian Sewerin & Tobias S. Schmidt, 2020. "The role of actors in the policy design process: introducing design coalitions to explain policy output," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 53(2), pages 309-347, June.
    19. Lockwood, Matthew, 2016. "The UK's Levy Control Framework for renewable electricity support: Effects and significance," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 193-201.
    20. Sebastian Sewerin & Daniel Béland & Benjamin Cashore, 2020. "Designing policy for the long term: agency, policy feedback and policy change," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 53(2), pages 243-252, June.
    21. Hamish van der Ven & Steven Bernstein & Matthew Hoffmann, 2017. "Valuing the Contributions of Nonstate and Subnational Actors to Climate Governance," Global Environmental Politics, MIT Press, vol. 17(1), pages 1-20, February.


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