The role of formal and informal institutional forces in changing three areas of U.S. public policy: privacy rights, civil rights and climate policy
There is no finality to the public policy process. Although it’s often assumed that once a law is enacted it is implemented faithfully, even policies believed to be stable can change or drift in unexpected directions. The Fourth Amendment, for example, guarantees Americans’ privacy rights, but the 9/11 terrorist attacks set off one of the worst cases of government-sponsored espionage. Policy changes instituted by the National Security Agency led to widespread warrantless surveillance, a drift in public policy that led to lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of wiretapping the American people.
Much of the research in recent decades ignores the impact of large-scale, slow-moving, secular forces in political, social, and economic environments on public policy. In Policy Drift, Norma Riccucci sheds light on how institutional forces collectively contributed to major change in three key areas of U.S. policy (privacy rights, civil rights, and climate policy) without any new policy explicitly being written. Formal levers of change—U.S. Supreme Court decisions; inaction by Congress; Presidential executive orders—stimulated by social, political or economic forces, organized permutations which ultimately shaped and defined contemporary public policy.
Invariably, implementations of new policies are embedded within a political landscape. Political actors, motivated by social and economic factors, may explicitly employ strategies to shift the direction of existing public polices or derail them altogether. Some segments of the population will benefit from this process, while others will not; thus, “policy drifts” carry significant consequences for social and economic change.
A comprehensive account of inadvertent changes to privacy rights, civil rights, and climate policy, Policy Drift demonstrates how unanticipated levers of change can modify the status quo in public policy.
"Great book for collections on US politics and government."-Choice
Drift is a timely and important book on how policies evolve and change
after they are enacted. Norma Riccucci shows that, as time passes between
enactment and initial implementation, policies can drift far from the apparent
intent of their advocates. Riccucci demonstrates how the three branches of
government and stakeholders continually jockey for influence over policy, while
changes in broader political, economic, and social forces influence the
relative power of contestants in policy making, often with profound
consequences...a fresh and readable approach to the policy process.”-Thomas A. Birkland,Author of An Introduction to the Policy Process: Theories, Concepts, and Models of Public Policy
“A welcome addition to a field largely
constructed around a mechanistic view of policy, law and institutions. Norma Riccucci’s attention to three
significant policy areas – surveillance and privacy rights, civil rights, and
climate policy – illustrates the surprises that are likely to emerge in an
adaptive world that is more like the exploding universe than a two-dimensional
assembly line.” -Beryl A. Radin,Author of Beyond Machiavelli: Policy Analysis Reaches Midlife
Drift, award winning author, Norma Riccucci, emphasizes that ‘governance
unfolds overtime’ and that there is no one size fits all model of public policy
formulation and implementation that will guarantee, predict, or explain policy
durability, stability, and instability. Rather, there are a multiplicity of
actors, institutions, conditions, and particularistic factors that contribute
to policy drift. Riccucci’s exceptionally well-crafted, cogent analysis
provides an excellent framework for future theory building and research and is
a very welcome—indeed, necessary--contribution to the fields of public
administration and policy studies.” -David H. Rosenbloom,Author of Administrative Law for Public Managers