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Reassessing Policy Drift: Social Policy Change in the United States

journal contribution
posted on 21.10.2015, 10:08 by A. E. S. Waddan, D. Béland, P. Rocco
As formulated by Jacob Hacker, the concept of policy drift turned institutional theories of public policy on their heads by suggesting that consequential policy changes often happen in the absence of reform. Especially prevalent in times of political gridlock or stasis, policy drift is a useful concept for capturing how inaction can gradually diminish the effectiveness of social programmes over time. By highlighting cases of difficult-to-see policy inaction, however, Hacker's concept sets a high bar for empirical scholarship. In this article, we suggest that analyzing policy drift requires attention to comparative policy outcomes, the implementation of reforms intended to alleviate drift, and the time frame of the study. With these insights in mind, we analyze the impact of drift on US retirement security and health care coverage to reflect policy changes that have occurred since Hacker's original analysis was published.

History

Citation

Social Policy and Administration, 2016, 50(2), pp. 201-218

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCE/Department of Politics and International Relations

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Social Policy and Administration

Publisher

Wiley

issn

0144-5596

eissn

1467-9515

Acceptance date

31/07/2015

Copyright date

2016

Available date

22/02/2018

Publisher version

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/spol.12211/full

Notes

The file associated with this record is under a 24-month embargo from publication in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy, available at http://olabout.wiley.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-820227.html. The full text may be available in the publisher links provided above.

Language

en

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