Publications

Forthcoming
Maor, Moshe. Forthcoming. “Blame avoidance, crisis exploitation, and COVID-19 governance response in Israel.” Israel Studies Review, 36, 3. Abstract
Surprisingly, although the Israeli government adopted unregulated, unorganized, inefficient, uncoordinated, and uninformed governance arrangements during the first wave of COVID-19, the public health outcome was successful, a paradox that this theoretically informed article seeks to explain. Drawing on insights from blame avoidance literature, it develops and applies an analytical framework that focuses on how allegations of policy underreaction in times of crisis pose a threat to elected executives’ reputations and how these politicians can derive opportunities for crisis exploitation from governance choices, especially at politically sensitive junctures. Based on a historical-institutional analysis combined with elite interviews, it finds that the implementation of one of the most aggressive policy alternatives on the policy menu at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis (i.e., a shutdown of society and the economy), and the subsequent consistent adoption of the aforementioned governance arrangements constituted a politically well-calibrated and effective short-term strategy for Prime Minister Netanyahu.
PDF icon maor_isr_web_august_2021.pdf
Maor, Moshe and Michael, Howlett. Forthcoming. “Policy instrument interactions in policy mixes: Surveying the conceptual and methodological landscape.” In Routledge Handbook of Policy Tools, edited by Michael, Howlett. London: Routledge. Abstract

 

Resolving a complex policy problem often requires a mix of policy instruments and thus the identification of the most promising instrument combination. However, the relevant terminology of instrument interactions in a policy mix has not been standardized, hindering a straightforward identification of superior instrument combinations. To address this challenge, the chapter defines the terminology necessary for detecting three different possible policy instrument interactions—namely synergistic, counter-productive, and additive effects. It identifies two approaches to analyzing instrument mix effects: the “effect-based” and the “effort-based” methods. It then discusses the practical advantages and limitations of each approach and elaborates on key methodological issues that policy scholars and practitioners face at each step of developing a new policy mix. 

 

Resolving a complex policy problem often requires a mix of policy instruments and thus the identification of the most promising instrument combination. However, the relevant terminology of instrument interactions in a policy mix has not been standardized, hindering a straightforward identification of superior instrument combinations. To address this challenge, the chapter defines the terminology necessary for detecting three different possible policy instrument interactions—namely synergistic, counter-productive, and additive effects. It identifies two approaches to analyzing instrument mix effects: the “effect-based” and the “effort-based” methods. It then discusses the practical advantages and limitations of each approach and elaborates on key methodological issues that policy scholars and practitioners face at each step of developing a new policy mix. 

 

Maor, Moshe. Forthcoming. “Taking stokes: Strategic communication by regulatory agencies as a form of reputation management.” In Handbook on Regulatory Authorities, edited by Martino, Maggetti, Fabrizio, Di Mascio, and Alessandro, Natalini. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. Abstract

The chapter takes stock of studies that focus on regulatory agencies’ deliberate use of strategic communications as a form of reputation management, discussing the critiques that have recently surfaced and responding to them. To shed light on these issues, the chapter defines core concepts and reviews the major findings in this field, paying particular attention to regulatory agencies’ decisions concerning whether and how to communicate. It thereafter describes unanswered questions that can inspire and guide future research. Future agendas include, for example, the selection of audience segmentation strategies, and the management of competing and even contradictory communication for segmented audiences when agencies enjoy exclusive jurisdiction, in contrast to instances in which agencies share regulatory authority.

PDF icon taking_stokes1.pdf
2021
Maor, Moshe. 2021. “Deliberate disproportionate policy response: Towards a conceptual turn.” Journal of Public Policy, 41, 1, Pp. 185-208.
Maor, Moshe. 2021. “Policy over- and under-reaction as policy styles.” In The Routledge Handbook of Policy Styles, edited by Michael Howlett and Jale Tosun, Pp. 273-285. London: Routledge.
PDF icon over_under_policy_style_howjal.pdf
2020
Maor, Moshe. 2020. “A disproportionate policy perspective on the politics of crisis management.” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. Oxford University Press.
Maor, Moshe. 2020. “Policy over- and under-design: An information quality perspective.” Policy Sciences, 53, Pp. 395–411.
Maor, Moshe. 2020. “Policy over- and underreaction: From unintentional error to deliberate policy response.” In A Modern Guide to Pubic Policy, edited by Michael Howlett and Jale Tosun, Pp. 93-111. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.
PDF icon from_unintentional_to_deliberate_dis_policy.pdf
Maor, Moshe. 2020. “Policy overreaction styles during manufactured crises.” Policy & Politics, 48, 4, Pp. 523-539.
Maor, Moshe. 2020. “A social network perspective on the interaction between policy bubbles.” International Review of Public Policy, 2, 1, Pp. 24-44.
Maor, Moshe, Raanan Sulitzeanu-Kenan, and David Chinitz. 2020. “When COVID-19, constitutional crisis, and political deadlock meet: The Israeli case from a disproportionate policy perspective.” Policy and Society, 39, 3, Pp. 442-457.
2019
Maor, Moshe. 2019. “Overreaction and bubbles in politics and policy.” In Oxford Handbook on Behavioral Political Science, edited by Alex Mintz and Lesley Terris. Oxford Handbooks Online, Oxford University Press.
Maor, Moshe. 2019. “Strategic policy overreaction as risky policy investment.” International Review of Public Policy, 1, 1, Pp. 46-64.
2018
Maor, Moshe. 2018. “Rhetoric and doctrines of policy over- and underreactions in times of crisis.” Policy & Politics, 46, 1, Pp. 47-63.
2017
Maor, Moshe. 2017. “Disproportionate policy response.” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. Oxford University Press. Abstract

Disproportionate policy response is understood to be a lack of ‘fit’ or balance between the costs of a public policy and the benefits derived from this policy, and between policy ends and means. The study of this phenomenon and its two anchor concepts, namely, policy over- and underreaction, has been inspired by the insight that inefficiencies in the allocation of attention in policymaking leads policymakers to react disproportionately to information. This theory of information processing appears to be broadly accepted and has generated a large body of research on agenda setting. However, little attention has been devoted to actual policy over- and underreaction and how it affects the public. The latest developments are conceptual in nature and include a conceptualization and dimensionalization of policy over- and underreaction, as well as an early-stage development of a preference-driven approach to disproportionate policy response. These issues are fundamental to developing understanding of the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of disproportionate policy response. They are also valuable to those who want to better understand the processes through which policy over- and underreaction occur and are of considerable interest to practitioners who want to understand how to manage disproportionate policy responses more effectively.

Although disproportionate policy response poses methodological challenges because it is time-bound, context-sensitive and has a problematic counterfactual (i.e., proportionate policy response), it deserves academic attention. This is because the insight of the punctuated equilibrium theory—that policy responses oscillate between periods of underreaction to the flow of information coming from the environment into the system and overreaction due to disproportionate information processing—implies that policy oscillation is the norm rather than the rarity. To probe research questions related to the topic at hand, disproportionate policy response can be measured as individuals’ perceptions of what they think about the proportionality of policy. Alternatively, scholars may employ vignette survey experiments, sophisticated cost-benefit analysis and a comparison of policy outcomes with (national or international) standards developed by experts. Scholars may also undertake experimental manipulation using risk unfolding over time, combined with varying types of warnings.

The study of disproportionate policy response is a gateway to some of the most significant aspects of public policy. Global and domestic threats coupled with relatively skeptical publics about politicians and political institutions and rising negativity and populism in democratic politics imply that policy overshooting is increasingly required for the public to perceive policy action as sufficient and politicians as competent, at least in the short term. Not only has disproportionate policy response been a focal point for political actors seeking decisive and swift policy change in times of real or manufactured crisis or no change at all, but such action has time and time again also made a dramatic impact upon the direction and the character of policy and politics. Classic examples are the U.S. response to 9/11 and the federal response to Hurricane Katrina. So far the literature on policy change has not responded to the emergence of the stream of research aimed at fully understanding the complex phenomenon of disproportionate policy response, but a robust research agenda awaits those answering this article’s call for action.

Jale Tuson Andrew Jordan and Maor, Moshe. 2017. “Proportionate and Disproportionate Policy Responses to Climate Change: Core Concepts and Empirical Applications.” Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 19, 6, Pp. 599-611. Publisher's Version Abstract
A fresh perspective on policy-making and planning has emerged which views disproportionate policy as an intentional policy response. A disproportionate policy response is understood to be a lack of ‘fit’ or balance between the costs of a public policy and the benefits that are derived from this policy, and between policy ends and means. This paper applies this new perspective on the proportionality of policy-making to the area of climate change. The first part of the paper discusses the underlying causes of disproportionate policy responses in broad terms and then applies the theoretical reasoning to understand the conditions in which they are likely to appear in relation to climate change. These conditions are hypothesized to relate to four main factors: economic considerations; levels of public demand; focusing events; and strategic considerations. It concludes with the suggestion that societal actors may be able to manipulate these four factors to encourage politicians to adopt policies that mitigate climate change more rapidly than is currently the case in most countries.
Maor, Moshe. 2017. “Disproportionate policy response.” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics (Online). Abstract

Disproportionate policy response is understood to be a lack of ‘fit’ or balance between the costs of a public policy and the benefits derived from this policy, and between policy ends and means. The study of this phenomenon and its two anchor concepts, namely, policy over- and underreaction, has been inspired by the insight that inefficiencies in the allocation of attention in policymaking leads policymakers to react disproportionately to information. This theory of information processing appears to be broadly accepted and has generated a large body of research on agenda setting. However, little attention has been devoted to actual policy over- and underreaction and how it affects the public. The latest developments are conceptual in nature and include a conceptualization and dimensionalization of policy over- and underreaction, as well as an early-stage development of a preference-driven approach to disproportionate policy response. These issues are fundamental to developing understanding of the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of disproportionate policy response. They are also valuable to those who want to better understand the processes through which policy over- and underreaction occur and are of considerable interest to practitioners who want to understand how to manage disproportionate policy responses more effectively.

Although disproportionate policy response poses methodological challenges because it is time-bound, context-sensitive and has a problematic counterfactual (i.e., proportionate policy response), it deserves academic attention. This is because the insight of the punctuated equilibrium theory—that policy responses oscillate between periods of underreaction to the flow of information coming from the environment into the system and overreaction due to disproportionate information processing—implies that policy oscillation is the norm rather than the rarity. To probe research questions related to the topic at hand, disproportionate policy response can be measured as individuals’ perceptions of what they think about the proportionality of policy. Alternatively, scholars may employ vignette survey experiments, sophisticated cost-benefit analysis and a comparison of policy outcomes with (national or international) standards developed by experts. Scholars may also undertake experimental manipulation using risk unfolding over time, combined with varying types of warnings.

The study of disproportionate policy response is a gateway to some of the most significant aspects of public policy. Global and domestic threats coupled with relatively skeptical publics about politicians and political institutions and rising negativity and populism in democratic politics imply that policy overshooting is increasingly required for the public to perceive policy action as sufficient and politicians as competent, at least in the short term. Not only has disproportionate policy response been a focal point for political actors seeking decisive and swift policy change in times of real or manufactured crisis or no change at all, but such action has time and time again also made a dramatic impact upon the direction and the character of policy and politics. Classic examples are the U.S. response to 9/11 and the federal response to Hurricane Katrina. So far the literature on policy change has not responded to the emergence of the stream of research aimed at fully understanding the complex phenomenon of disproportionate policy response, but a robust research agenda awaits those answering this article’s call for action.

Tosun, Jale, Andrew Jordan, and Moshe Maor. 2017. “Governing climate change: The (dis)proportionality of policy responses.” Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 19, 6, Pp. 596-598.

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