This article uses a case study of financial sector policy making in East Asia in the post 2000 period to examine and help to resolve questions surrounding the origins of the phenomenon of 'dynamics without change' in public policy making; that is, the appearance of policy activity and alteration without affecting the overall nature and orientation of policy outputs or outcomes. This is a phenomenon which has challenged existing notions of policy dynamics which associate enhanced policy activity with fundamental changes in outputs and outcomes and is an issue which has concerned policy studies since Robert Alford's seminal study of British health policy dynamics first noted the phenomenon in the mid-1970s. The article develops and extends the ideas put forward by Rayner et al. (2001, Privileging the sub-sector: critical sub-sectors and sectoral relationships in forest policy-making, Forest Policy and Economics, 2 (3–4), 319–332) that 'critical subsectors' or subsets of actors within a subsystem which control whether or not fundamental change occurs. Evidence from recent developments in the Asian financial sector is put forward supporting the argument that the uneven structuration and non-reciprocal nature of the relationships existing between components of a policy subsystem explain that policy's propensity for change and stability. The discussion moves the general analysis of policy change, policy subsystems and their role in policy change forward from the existing orthodoxy of 'dynamics with change' and provides the foundation for a new research programme analysing intra-sectoral policy dynamics in an empirically robust manner. Copyright © 2015 Taylor & Francis.
CitationWoo, J. J., & Howlett, M. (2015). Explaining dynamics without change: A critical subsector approach to financial policy making. Journal of Asian Public Policy, 8(3), 312-328. doi: 10.1080/17516234.2015.1082689
- Critical subsectors
- Policy subsystems
- Policy change