1st Edition

The Structure of Policy Evolution Painting an Integrated Picture of Change in Policy and Institutional Systems

By Oldrich Bubak Copyright 2023
    224 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Continue Shopping

    This book advances novel tools for the study, analysis, and development of public policy, essential in a world of growing diversity, complexity, and accelerating change.

    Inspired by research in technology innovation, the book brings its forward applications into the studies of policy and institutional systems, answering, among others, the disciplinary need for a common model of change. Relating together the dynamics and the structure of policy evolution, the unified approach offers scholars important new insights into the logics and direction of policy development while advancing policy practitioners’ capacity for forecasting and optimizing designs. Analyzing social and labour market policy development across two model jurisdictions, the United Kingdom and Denmark, it substantiates the new approach while demonstrating its significance to the study of welfare modernization and to policy scholarship more generally. 

    The book will be of key interest to scholars and students of policy and institutional development, policy analysis, and public administration and management, as well as comparative policy, evolutionary and complexity policy, and social policy and welfare state modernization research.

    Part 1: Setting Contexts

    1. Introduction: Towards a Better Grasp of Policy Change

    2. Modernizing Social Policy: Pressures and Patterns

    3. On Stability and Change in Welfare Systems: A Path Forward?

    Part 2: Moving Boundaries

    4. Complexity, Evolution and Public Policy

    5. The Structure-in-Evolution: An Integrated Picture of Policy Change

    6. Mapping Change in Policy Systems: The Structure-in-Evolution Alternative

    Part 3: Exploring Evolutions

    7. Developing the Danish Welfare State: Paths and Transitions

    8. Evolving Social Policy in the United Kingdom: Constraints and Adaptations

    9. Conclusion: Ahead of Policy Evolution

    Epilogue: Investing Anew


    Oldrich Bubak is a Research Professor at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Hradec Králové, Czech Republic.

    "Building from a basis in complexity science and work on technological innovation, this groundbreaking book moves forward thinking on policy change, an age-old concern in policy studies. Developing a "Structure-in-Evolution" approach and applying it to case studies in Denmark and the UK, the volume shows how policies evolve in stages with their component subsystems developing individually and non-uniformly, leading to unique and alternating periods of functional and procedural policy complexity and simplicity. Innovative in its own right, the book challenges policy scholars to think more deeply about policy dynamics, the potential for policy reform, and development."

    Michael Howlett, Burnaby Mountain Professor and Canada Research Chair, Simon Fraser University, Canada.

    "The ever-dynamic world and its forces of change impact policies, making even the most effective ones eventually obsolete. How policies evolve therefore should be an essential question for academics as well as practitioners who try to study and manage the evolutionary processes. By developing an innovative theoretical framework and combining it with empirical chapters, this path-breaking book persuasively demonstrates the importance of evolutionary and complexity thinking and, further yet, their unified potential in understanding policy change. It also provides practitioners with powerful new tools in supporting the policy development processes." 

    Norio Tokumaru, Professor of Economics, Faculty of Policy Studies, Kansai University, Japan