Policy divergence in implementation: How conflict among decisive legislators reinforces the effect of agency preferences

Annemarije Oosterwaal, René Torenvlied*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The question whether political conflict affects the course and outcomes of policy implementation is debated among scholars in public administration. Whereas some scholars emphasize the mediating effects of procedures for political control of bureaucracy, other scholars highlight the actions and preferences of agencies. The present study combines both perspectives and argues that policy divergence is explained by political conflict in interaction with agency preferences. Political conflict is specified in conjunction with the decision-making context. Conflict among decisive legislators - rather than the legislature as a whole - is hypothesized to reinforce the effect of agency preferences on policy divergence. Using a cross-classified multilevel design, data on local policy making and implementation in the Netherlands offer support for these hypotheses and reveal that preferences of agencies and conflict among decisive legislators should be included in explanations for policy divergences in the implementation process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-217
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of public administration research and theory
Volume22
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes

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