The authors address the question: how and why does policy get made in post-colonial contexts?
Based on 3 case studies of policy change; from Bangladesh, South Africa, and Singapore, they trace the drivers of policy change in these contexts. Much research has been done on policy making in Europe and North America, which has led to the development of theories and frameworks which theorise how and why specific policies are made. Examples of these include Sabatier’s Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) (2014) and more recent work on global norms and how these effect national policy making. Whilst the later have certainly made more of an effort to include examples from contexts other than Europe and North America, there remains a lack of information on how policy is actually made and implemented in these contexts.
The 3 case studies were conducted by the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) at the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh, the Asia Research Institute (ARI) at the National University of Singapore, and the African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS), at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. All the case studies made use of qualitative methods to map out the various roles played by key actors and organisations in influencing the policy under investigation. All 3 projects are studies on policy process and engage in process tracing methods.
Through a thorough analysis of all 3 studies, they conclude that there are 6 factors that shaped the policy making process in the 3 countries. These are components of policy change that were common across the country case studies even if their impact and nature varied. They propose that by paying attention to these aspects of policy making, they will be able to better understand, influence, and predict policy making in contexts outside of Europe and North America.
This paper is published under the Migrating out of Poverty programme, which is funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).
Ingrid Palmary and Thea de Gruchy. How unpopular policies are made: Policy making for migrant women in South Africa, Bangladesh and Singapore. Migrating out of Poverty RPC Working Paper No. 45. Migrating out of Poverty Consortium, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK (2016) 27 p.