What Is Lowi's Proposed Three-Party Policy Typology?

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Since Lowi (1964) first proposed three-party policy typology- distributive, regulatory and redistributive, policy typology has been a widely used theoretical framework to describe and explain public policy processes. In his theoretical scheme, policy actors with specific expectations on policy outputs and outcomes would interact with each other in a more or less conflicting way, an argument that was supported by the review of 17 case studies in the context of American politics (Lowi, 1964; 1972). That is, community structures of policy coalition might vary across policy types. Built on the premise that different types of policy might shape specific political structures and relationships, recent research primarily focused on either developing…show more content…
Since Lowi first published his paper, party polarization has become more severe. It is unknown whether most policies are framed as bipartisan cleavage nowadays. If this is the case, policy typology might have weaker explanatory power. Moreover, we have no certain answer on whether Lowi’s argument could be generalized outside the American context. Especially, electoral systems vary across countries. In American, only one candidate for members of Congress is elected from a single electoral district; some countries have multiple legislators from the same electoral district. The difference between institution incentives might affect politician’s preference for particular policy outcomes, and then would contribute to a political dynamic Lowi might not anticipate. Without taking these issues into account, we might misunderstand the real political dynamic, so that overestimated the effect of policy typology. In practical, we might be able to take actions to make changes on policy coalition formation if institution does
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