policy and governance
Learning by our mistakes is an accepted wisdom, yet how does this apply in the sphere of public policy. In this re-post from The Mandarin, Catherine Althaus and David Threlfall examine the conditions needed to support innovation in public policy
This week on Power to Persuade, we are focusing on 'Impact'—how can academic research make a contribution to society? How can it influence the development of policy, practice or service provision? In today's post, Paul Cairney and Richard Kwiatkowski explore the importance of using insights from psychological science to effectively communicate research to policymakers. A modified version of this post originally appeared on Paul's blog.
'Impact' is a fickle concept. We talk about it a lot, but what does it really mean? What form does it take in practice? And what can we do, as researchers and policymakers, to support its emergence? Impact is our theme this week on Power to Persuade. To kick us off, today's post by University of Stirling Senior Lecturer Dr Peter Matthews (@urbaneprofessor) reports on new research from the United Kingdom that explores how academics perceive barriers to achieving impact. This post originally appeared on Peter's blog and has been edited for length.
In the UK in particular, but also in Australia, debate about mental health and mental illness are increasingly appearing on political agendas and appearing in the mainstream media. Whilst there is a concerted effort to reduce the stigma attached to mental illness, mental health and illness remain largely located in health focused policy debates. In the post below, Dr Sarah-Jane Fenton looks at why mental health is a topic pertinent to all contemporary public policy, and uses highlights from recent blog posts to show how embedding understanding of mental health issues should be central to all policy maker’s agendas.
Is inequality rising or falling? The answer, if recent public debate is anything to go by, may appear at first to depend on who you ask. Peter Whiteford Professor, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University explores in this re-post from the Conversation.
NHS statistics released this week documented that eating disorders in men have increased by 70% in the UK, finding that these illnesses are rising at the same rate in young men as they are in young women. The media has been inundated with headlines discussing this rise in male eating disorders pointing towards causes such as social media and rise of body image pressures on men and boys within modern society as a way to understand this phenomenon. While there is no doubt that such issues may have an influence on such a sharp rise in men experiencing such illnesses, male eating disorders are not a new phenomenon, simply one that has been “underdiagnosed, undertreated, and misunderstood” (Strother, Lemberg & Tuberville, 2012). A study in 2007 estimated that up to 25% of individuals with eating disorders were male, with underdiagnoses being debated due to the low number of men within services.
Research into the reasons why people develop these illnesses have developed steadily in recent years with evidence suggesting that the similarities outweigh the differences between genders with regards to the core features and psychology of eating disorders. With treatment outcomes reported as equally successful for men as for women, Dr Una Foye asks the question remains why this “sudden” increase?
With the rise in authoritarianism comes very real concerns about effective governance. In today’s post, policy whisperer Susan Maury ( @SusanMaury ) of Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand explores how the psychology of group identification is used by government to vilify specific groups of people, thereby limiting public accountability for ensuring robust policy.
Climate change is a problem that can and should be fought in multiple ways and at many different levels, argue policy researchers Michael Mintrom (ANZSOG) and Joannah Luetjens (Utrecht University) in their recent journal article. Policy entrepreneurs actively work with others in and around policymaking venues to promote policy change. They play – and will continue to play – an important role in efforts to address climate change.
Can alcohol and drugs be called a ‘cause’ of family violence? What do we even mean when we talk about ‘causes’ of social problems? In this post, ANZSOG Research Fellow Sophie Yates (@MsSophieRae) outlines research she presented last month at the 5th European Conference on Politics and Gender. She explains why problem framing is so important in public policy, and explores the framing of policy actors talking about alcohol and drugs in Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence.
As the first of its kind internationally, the Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health (CRE-DH) is Australia's new national research centre to improve the health of people with disabilities. The CRE-DH, in collaboration with key stakeholders, will gather the evidence needed to guide social and health policy reform. How will the organisation work? CRE-DH's Celia Green and Zoe Aitken explain.