The Policy Space provides opportunity to discuss ideas about policy research. The main focus is to create a bridge between theory and practice, so that:
1. theory is tested with real-world policy data, so the usefulness of theory improves over time and
2. practice improves with the benefit of research (or at least practitioners have an understanding of how policy theory can help)

Contributions, suggestions and requests are welcome!

My own public policy research looks at why some environmental policies just work, and others flounder or fail. Although it’s easy to form a view about policy, but we have limited understanding of what makes successful policy. The dominant perspective is that there are no fixed criteria for policy success – it depends too much on individual circumstances. Notwithstanding this, there are plenty of opinions about the causes of failure and the ingredients for success.

Quantitative methods will be used to identify the common factors that separate the policies that thrive from those that fizzle. The findings will help ensure policies achieve their environmental goals, as well as identifying and testing criteria for policy evaluation. The current focus is on using quantitative methods to reveal trends, including in environmental issues and the use of policy instruments.

I’m using policy data from NSW, which is the most populous state in Australia, with its oldest Parliament and democracy. Environmental policy in NSW dates back to at least 1879. This long history in environmental policy makes an ideal study area.

PhD Student, Australian National University


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