The mechanistic approach to policy tool research tries to unpack the processes through which instruments reach (or do not reach) their expected goals by shedding light on the set of behavioural mechanisms and how the deployment of specific kinds of policy tools activates some compliance responses and not others in policy targets or ‘policy takers’. The mechanistic perspective assumes that instruments are not simply independent variables or co-variables; rather, they are real drivers of specific outcomes of interest. As a result, policy instruments are considered to be ‘activators’ of specific mechanistic chains through which the behaviours of individuals, groups and subsystems are altered in order to achieve specific outcomes. This means that instruments should not be considered as having a direct impact on the expected outcome, but rather serve as ‘triggers’ capable of activating a sequence of individual and aggregate behaviours that is expected to achieve a specific result. In general, each category of tool involves the use of a specific governing resource, but this resource use is expected to trigger or lever a specific characteristic or receptor in targets, inducing a certain behavioural response. Thus, the effectiveness of the deployment of such tools is linked not just to resource availability – a precondition of their use – but also to the existence of different ‘receptors’ on the part of policy targets which make them respond in a predictable way to the use of this resource when deployed. The policy mixes or bundles of policy instruments which arise in such cases typically involve not only a number of tools but also a range of motivations across a range of targets. This makes the assessment of the motivational structure of a policy realm more complex and difficult. It also suggests that rather than think about compliance in the context of single target-single instrument dynamics, policy design should centre on multiple target-multiple instrument ones.

How tools work. Policy Instruments as Activators and Mechanisms.

Capano, Giliberto;
2022

Abstract

The mechanistic approach to policy tool research tries to unpack the processes through which instruments reach (or do not reach) their expected goals by shedding light on the set of behavioural mechanisms and how the deployment of specific kinds of policy tools activates some compliance responses and not others in policy targets or ‘policy takers’. The mechanistic perspective assumes that instruments are not simply independent variables or co-variables; rather, they are real drivers of specific outcomes of interest. As a result, policy instruments are considered to be ‘activators’ of specific mechanistic chains through which the behaviours of individuals, groups and subsystems are altered in order to achieve specific outcomes. This means that instruments should not be considered as having a direct impact on the expected outcome, but rather serve as ‘triggers’ capable of activating a sequence of individual and aggregate behaviours that is expected to achieve a specific result. In general, each category of tool involves the use of a specific governing resource, but this resource use is expected to trigger or lever a specific characteristic or receptor in targets, inducing a certain behavioural response. Thus, the effectiveness of the deployment of such tools is linked not just to resource availability – a precondition of their use – but also to the existence of different ‘receptors’ on the part of policy targets which make them respond in a predictable way to the use of this resource when deployed. The policy mixes or bundles of policy instruments which arise in such cases typically involve not only a number of tools but also a range of motivations across a range of targets. This makes the assessment of the motivational structure of a policy realm more complex and difficult. It also suggests that rather than think about compliance in the context of single target-single instrument dynamics, policy design should centre on multiple target-multiple instrument ones.
Routledge Handbook of Policy Tools
61
72
Capano, Giliberto; Howlett, Michael
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/892183
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