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On policy feedback: insights from survey experiments


  • Clem Brooks
  • Inés Calzada


In comparative social science, policy feedback has become a widely popular device with which to understand policy persistence and the impacts of state-making and political entrepreneurship on mass opinion. Although the existence of such effects is frequently taken for granted, recent work has challenged prevailing assumptions about the unproblematic nature of feedback from policy change to mass opinion. This is an opportune time to put policy feedback to further test. We do so by bringing to bear the two main theoretical perspectives that underlie established and recent scholarship, and applying for the first time survey experiments to evaluate key expectations. Focusing on the relatively novel domain of counter-terrorism policy, we analyze data drawn from a national survey conducted in 2009. Results from embedded experiments suggest new evidence for policy feedback effects. Analysis of mechanisms suggests limits in interest-centered explanations, and the relevance of some under-studied, cognitive factors. We discuss implications and limits of our study for policy feedback scholarship, and with further reference to the case of U.S. attitudes toward the war on terror.

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  • Clem Brooks & Inés Calzada, 2011. "On policy feedback: insights from survey experiments," Working Papers 1102, Instituto de Políticas y Bienes Públicos (IPP), CSIC.
  • Handle: RePEc:ipp:wpaper:1102

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    1. repec:cup:apsrev:v:101:y:2007:i:01:p:111-127_07 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Joakim Palme & Walter Korpi, 1998. "The Paradox of Redistribution and Strategies of Equality: Welfare State Institutions, Inequality and Poverty in the Western Countries," LIS Working papers 174, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    3. Jean-Philippe Vergne & Rodolphe Durand, 2010. "The Missing Link Between the Theory and Empirics of Path Dependence: Conceptual Clarification, Testability Issue, and Methodological Implications," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(4), pages 736-759, June.
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