Regional government has become a fashionable topic of analysis, but the impact of regional autonomy on public policy has so far received little attention. In this book, Stefaan De Rynck examines how the creation of regional government has affected the substance of public policies in Belgium. He explains the observed pattern of policy change by referring to shifts in regional power structures. His publication offers a political analysis of policy change, and warns against concluding that public policy is responsive to social problems or cultural differences between regional societies. The book demonstrates the importance of political action for understanding the link between political institutions and policy change.
In its case-studies, Changing Public Policy: The Role of the Regions focuses on the development of education and agri-environmental policy in Flanders and Wallonia since 1988, the year in which competence for these sectors was transferred from the national to the regional level. The research material on the policy cases covers a twelve-year period. It is based on a wide range of interviews and extensive documentary analysis.
This study – based on a thesis presented at the European University Institute – was awarded a distinction in the annual Committee of the Regions thesis competition in 2001.