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Cover Comparative Politics

22. The impact of public policies  

Atsuko Ichijo

This chapter examines the role of public policies. It starts by defining public policy and introducing a series of tools for analysing different types of public policies. The chapter argues that we need to consider both the short-run effects of policies and their longer-run political effects, with each empirical section examining both how policies work and how they shape (or fail to shape) longer-run political coalitions. It starts by analysing policies affecting income equality, looking at policies shaping longer-run patterns of income redistribution. It then turns to economic performance, reviewing arguments about different ‘varieties of capitalism’ and their underlying political and economic logics. The penultimate section turns to examining the role of quotas and other policies in shaping women’s representation in legislatures. The chapter concludes with discussion of climate change and the economic and political logics of policies aiming to reduce carbon emissions.