CFP: Social Policy: Formulation and Design in Comparative Perspective

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CFP: Social Policy: Formulation and Design in Comparative Perspective

by Michael Howlett
National University of Singapore
12-13 February 2014

Social problems are complex, with a variety of economic, social, and
political causes and consequences. Social policy design thus needs to be
correspondingly sophisticated if it is to address the different, often
contradictory, policy goals, requiring policy makers to employ a variety of
tools in intricate combinations.

Yet too much of the scholarly discussion on social policy is conducted at
very high levels of abstraction – dealing with issues such as state versus
market orientations; Eastern communitarianism versus Western welfarism;
social democratic versus neo-liberal welfare regimes, and so on – which do
not translate easily into policy designs considerations and knowledge. This
workshop focuses specifically on the latter issues: on the consequences and
significance of different design features of programs that are already in
place and the lessons and principles these provide to policy makers engaged
in developing new programs to address social problems.

The purpose of the workshop is thus to apply the concepts of policy
formulation and policy design thinking to the social policy sphere. Papers
at the workshop will apply the central concerns in public policy evaluation
‑ effectiveness, efficiency, equity, security, sustainability etc – to
different policy tools configurations in order to understand their
potential use and limitations across problems and socio-economic contexts.
In addition, papers will examine the manner in which policymakers and
client groups learn from past experiences, or not, in their design,
creation and enactment of social policy.

Papers are encouraged to examine questions such as:

· What is the range of policy tools available to policy makers for
addressing contemporary social problems? What sorts of policy tools are
appropriate for what policy problems? What are the predictable and actual
consequences of the choices?

· How are policy mixes constructed in social policy sectors and how
effective are they?

· How does public policy theory inform the understanding of public
policy making? What role does evaluation play in designing appropriate
policy tools for specific social problems, and influencing social policy

Proposals for papers of and entirely theoretical nature or
theoretically-grounded comparisons of social policies, especially social
protection in Asia, are particularly encouraged and welcome. The
comparisons may be cross-sector or cross-national in focus.

A small number of accepted papers will be eligible for economy-class
airfare to Singapore and hotel accommodation. The selection will be on the
basis of the quality of abstracts and their fit with the workshop theme.

Paper proposals (approximately 500 words) are due 15 Nov 2014. Decisions
on program composition and travel subsidy will be made in the first week of
Dec 2014. Final papers must be received by 1 February 2015.

Please send your proposals to

Workshop Conveners: M Ramesh, Michael Howlett, Namrata Chindarkar