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Negative Feedback, Political Attention, and Public Policy

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More than 50 years of policy research has provided evidence of negative feedback where self-correcting mechanisms reinforce stability in public policies over time. While such mechanisms are at the heart of understanding change and stability in public policies, little attention has been given to the responses of individual policy-makers to public policies as a potential driver of negative feedback. Based on a unique survey dataset of spending preferences of local government politicians covering more than 90 Danish municipalities, three years, seven policy issues, and around 3,000 entries, we find that the expressed spending preferences of politicians are indeed negatively affected by previous spending levels. Moreover, such negative feedback effects are stronger, the less the political attention to the issue and even disappear at high levels of attention. Our analysis thus provides important evidence on the micro foundations and conditions of negative feedback in public policy.

TidsskriftPublic Administration
Sider (fra-til)210-225
Antal sider16
StatusUdgivet - mar. 2019

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