Sequences of Policy Failures and Effective Policy Responses
The chapter examines the dynamics of policy responses and their ultimate effectiveness. It identifies typical sequences of policy failures, caused by the misfit between new problems and existing policy legacies, which may generate processes of policy learning that ultimately produce effective solutions; but it also points to instances in which policy learning is blocked by conflicts of interest or by divergent cognitive orientations in multi‐actor institutional settings. Of equal importance are sequences of lateral spillovers, where the solutions to problems in one policy area generate new problems that subsequently must be dealt with in adjacent policy areas. In the 1970s and 1980s, these spillovers were most important in countries where the rise of open unemployment was mitigated by resort to early retirement and disability pensions. In analysing these sequences of policy failure, learning, and problem displacement, the chapter also compares and assesses the greater or lesser effectiveness of the policy responses actually adopted and identifies successful countries that were able to adjust to the challenges of the open economy without abandoning their welfare‐state goals.
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