Institutional and process dimensions of policy styles: key insights

Michael Howlett and Jale Tosun


One key objective of comparative public policy has been to identify patterns in how policies are made and determine if and how such patterns affect policy outputs and outcomes. This body of research strives to provide an explanation for how policy responses come about in specific decision-making situations. Recently, this interest became manifest, for example, in the work of Jones et al. (2014) and Maor (2014) on disproportionate policy responses which links particular kinds ot policy-making processes with specific kinds ot policy over- and underreactions to policy problems. This approach has served as a useful theoretical perspective for investigating policy responses to the COV1D-19 pandemic and demonstrated the usefulness of such approaches to understanding important cross-national policy phenomena (Capano et al. 2020; Maor et al. 2020).

As set out in the Introduction to the book, the concept of a “policy style” as a discernible and relatively long-lasting “typical” way in which policies are made was developed with the ambition to explain routine policy-making processes in Western Europe close to 40 years ago (Richardson et al. 1982). The original formulation ot such styles as a way in which policies were formulated — whether they are anticipatory vs. reactive in nature and whether governments seek consensus or impose them on policy actors — remains timely. It continues to provide a parsimonious take on interactions between actors, links styles and outputs, and resonates with many newer themes in comparative public policy such as policy design (Howlett and Mukher- jee 2018) and policy learning (Dunlop and Radaelli 2017). And it is complementary to research that focuses on politics and polity since policy styles refer to informal institutions and processes in government and not just formal ones such as the rules and procedures in parliaments (Muller and Sieberer 2014), which, for example, determine legislative behavior (Back and Debus 2016).

Richardson et al.’s early work focused exclusively on the national level. However, in this volume, while we took their notion of national policy styles as the point of departure, we asked contributing authors to look at two larger units of analysis: institutional styles across levels of government, from the sectoral to the national, and process styles linked to the different stages of the policy process (Howlett et al. 2020). Authors were asked to examine aspects ot one of these two subjects and to show how the concept of a “style” helped understand the aspects ot the policy-making process and level of government each examined. The aim of each chapter was to capture possible types of routinized behavior which were likely to persist for a given period of time in, for example, leadership styles or managerial ones, as well as state or sectoral level policy-making.

In this chapter we present the outcomes contained in the nearly three dozen chapters in the volume. As we will show, in our view, stretching the idea of a policy style beyond Richardson et

What we take away from this exercise is that many different kinds of styles can be found in policy-making, and their analysis helps to unite many of the most important subdisciplines of comparative policy analysis. Moreover, the connection between policy and politics inherent in the original concept enabled a stimulating dialogue between the representatives of each perspective.

Furthermore, this open approach to the original styles formulation helped to address some of the criticism expressed about it. Most notably, several chapters explicitly elaborated upon the question of to what extent institutional and process styles are subject to change and how these changes can be brought about (van Waarden 1995). Another criticism on the concept of policy styles concerned the question of whether analytically national policy styles are more meaningful than sectoral styles are (Freeman 1985) and sections of the Handbook dedicated to the discussion of sectoral and national styles, for example, directly addressed this latter criticism and transformed it into an exciting view of how to better conceptualize and theorize both concepts.

In the remainder of this chapter, we first give an overview of the analytical contribution of each of the individual chapters in the book. Being aware that every research has its limitations, in the second section we also set out several avenues and topics for future research that can continue to build on aspects we consider not to have been adequately clarified or discussed in this volume. In a last step, we offer some general concluding remarks.

From "policy styles" to "institutional styles" and "process styles"

As the Introduction to this volume noted, the book is divided into two sections. In the first section, five chapters in each of three parts reflected on the status and interactions of styles at the national, sectoral, and administrative or governance levels. In the second section, three chapters in each of five parts examined aspects of styles in the policy process: agenda-setting, policy formulation, decision-making, policy implementation, and policy evaluation.

Here, we discuss the insight offered by each contribution to the volume. In so doing, we concentrate on the following aspects:

  • • Research perspective: How each chapter differentiates between a focus on the process of policy-making or policy outputs and others.
  • • Temporal dimension: This dimension captures whether the chapters adopted a dynamic understanding of “styles” or a static one.

Analytical lens: Recapitulates the explanations provided in each chapter for the emergence, persistence, and change ot “styles”.

Remarks: Provides clarifications on the analytical approach or findings if considered helpful.

Institutional styles

In Part 1 of the first section, five chapters examined well-known cases of national policymaking previously identified with a distinctive national style. In Chapter 2, the editors reviewed the literature and define the key concept of a national policy style. Then, in Chapter 3 Jeb Barnes set out the nature of “adversarial legalism”, often tagged as the national policy style of the United States. This notion originates from the work of Kagan (2001) and stipulates that policy-making in the United States is a participatory process, for which, the possibility ot all participants to litigate is key. Barnes contends that this style has undergone changes over time as different governments have attempted to reduce the ability of the courts to determine policy outcomes. According to his assessment, adversarial legalism remains characteristic of US policymaking but has been pushed back somewhat in the US, a change brought about by political reforms launched in recent decades by Republican politicians to restrict litigation.

Policy experimentation represents a central feature ot the Chinese policy style and is examined by Jiwei Qian in Chapter 4. He explained how policy experimentation works on the ground in the Peoples Republic but also offered an analytical narrative regarding the importance of experiments in the Chinese context, as these enable the state to cope with what otherwise are highly static bureaucratic institutions featuring a high level of institutional “lock-in” (see, e.g., Peters et al. 2005).

In marked contrast to the previous chapter, Reimut Zohlnhoter and Jale Tosun in Chapter 5 examined Germany and stress the modification of the German policy style which has occurred since it was first examined by Dyson in 1982. The authors argue for the importance of the institutional changes the country experienced — especially the reunification of East and West Germany in 1990 — as key changes which transformed the German policy style from the “rationalist consensus” (Dyson 1982) to what they view now as a style of “exclusive incrementalism”.

Then, in Chapter 6, Aziz Burkhanov examined the situation in several post-Soviet states in Central Asia. The analysis provided here is similar to the German experience to the extent that both East Germany and the Central Asian states experienced the collapse of a previous political regime and underwent fundamental transformation processes as a result; changes which severely affected their national policy styles. While this transformation has resulted in a well-functioning democratic system in Germany, in the Central Asian states the political systems are still marked by aspects of their Soviet legacies and numerous authoritarian elements. Consequently, the policy style found in countries like Kazakhstan has not changed as much as one would have expected considering the political transformation process they underwent. One of the defining features of the current policy style in the Central Asian states which remains outstanding is that, as in the Soviet years, it continues to depend on intra-elite consensus.

Overall, the chapters on national policy styles offer an improved understanding of what are the constituting elements ot national policy styles, conditions under which such styles change, and which factors need to be taken into account to explain the variation of national policy styles that can be found across countries and over time.

The next set ot five chapters dealt with sectoral policy styles, beginning with a conceptual discussion by Paul Cairney. In Chapter 7 Cairney put forth the argument that sectoral policy styles add another layer of complexity to the notion of policy styles since it is reasonable to expect that both coexist side by side, with their exact interactions unclear in the literatures on each topic. Cairney located the foundations of sectoral policy styles in the policy communities which constitute a respective sector. Although they operate within a general national style constituted by the nature of national political institutions, he argued each policy community has its own institutions, networks, ideas, and standard responses to a given policy problem which can be seen to help constitute a distinct sectoral style.

In Chapter 8, Alexander Horn and Jennifer Shore looked at social policy styles and sought to determine how these affect social policy outputs and whether these outputs vary over time. The authors found that both social policy styles (defined as welfare values or ideas) and social policy outputs vary over time. They located the main explanation for the changes in outputs in the varying partisan composition of the governments, which take up needed social policy decisions. In Chapter 9, Azad Singh Bali and Adam Hannah adopted a similar analytical lens but this time examined healthcare policy styles and their impact on healthcare policy outputs. The authors argued that outputs follow a functional logic but are affected by specific values or ideas about what “good” health policies should ideally look like. These two chapters have in common that they mostly concentrate on policy outputs, while still offering insights into the underlying policy-making process and the impact and nature of sectoral policy styles in these two very important areas of domestic policy-making.

In Chapter 10, Jale Tosun and Marc Debus did the same but look at a newer policy area, that of environmental policy. They focused on one part of the policy community that helps explain differences in environmental policy styles across countries and over time: the environmental policy positions of parties represented in government. The authors linked different party constellations in government with how environmental policies have been formulated and adopted, affecting both policy styles and policy outcomes.

Caner Bakir and M. Kerern Coban in Chapter 11 then examined sectoral styles beyond the nation-state by investigating the origins and development of global monetary and financial regulatory policy styles. They focused on the role of the Bretton Woods institutions in shaping monetary and financial regulation and policy-making leading up to the set of international agreements that shape the regulatory choices of ratifying states. The authors identified a hierarchical-proactive style (1945 to early 1970s), a consensual-reactive style (early 1970s to 2008), and a shift to a refined consensual-reactive style (after 2008). The changes they observed are linked to relevant events such as crises which affect the kinds of ideas and actions followed by financial regulators.

Similar to the chapters on national policy styles, these chapters on sectoral policy styles revealed that the concept is applicable both within and beyond the nation-state. However, these chapters also showed that the application can quickly become complicated. Cairney’s point about increasing complexity by expanding the notion of styles to other political phenomena is very well taken on that score and continues to serve as a challenge to studies extending beyond well-trodden ground at the national level.

The next group of chapters examined styles within governments and governance arrangements. Part 3 began with a straightforward discussion of administrative styles provided by Louisa Bayerlein and her colleagues in Chapter 12. The authors showed how the study of administrative styles has a lengthy history but has also changed over time. They noted that the “first generation” of research on administrative styles liaised intensely with conceptualizations of policy styles, while “second generation” research extended the original concept’s scope by addressing the politico-administrative nexus. This, they argued, helped facilitate the explanation of differences across countries or subnational entities as well as temporal variation in such styles.

Chapter 13 by John Halligan examined one aspect of such styles in investigating characteristic ways in which civil service systems are constituted. He looked particularly at the kinds ot relationships existing between the political and administrative branches of the state as key components ot civil service systems and styles. Characteristic kinds of relationships between Westminster-style or parliamentary governments found in many countries thus lead to civil service systems which are very different from those found in authoritarian regimes, for example, where administrative autonomy is often frowned upon and discouraged.

In Chapter 14, Louisa Bayerlein and her colleagues revisited the concept of an administrative style and focused in more detail on how such bureaucratic regimes emerge and their significance in determining not only how governments operate but what kinds ot decisions they make, especially how and why they tend to develop standard operating procedures which affect their own choices and activities.

This is followed in Chapter 15, by Mark Wiering and Tetty Havinga, who adopted an explicitly dynamic approach to the study of administrative styles and examine whether and how existing domestic administrative implementation styles in European nations may have converged, diverged or persisted due to Europeanization, that is, due to the need ot the member states to implement European legislation. They observed that certain elements converged whereas others persisted so that current administrative styles in Europe often exhibit a somewhat chaotic blend ot national and transnational elements.

State actors are not the only ones present in administrative decision-making, and the concept of a “style” is extended to the level of governance arrangements by Howlett and his colleagues in Chapter 16. That chapter provided an in-depth discussion of the relationships possible between public and private actors and how balanced they are, which relates to the dimension of imposition and consensus highlighted in the original formulation of policy styles by Richardson el al. (1982). Some governance arrangements promote collaborative relationships between public and private actors while others are more likely to promote contention. The chapter elaborated on the importance of governance capacity tor the selection ot one governance style rather than another.

Process styles

The second section ot the volume examined each of the major stages in the policy-making process, and each chapter detailed some ot the stylistic elements present in each stage. The section began with the policy stage that is widely considered to be the beginning of the policy cycle — agenda setting — and examined several different aspects of this policy activity. In Chapter 17, Max Gromping examined the different styles of media-government relations often considered to be a key dimension of agenda-setting activity and advanced the argument that societal groups’ access to media with a view to engage in agenda setting is of critical importance. He highlighted how this is a critical element of a national policy style and is structured by specific kinds of institutional and issue contexts. Regarding the institutional context, it is important how open media systems are to access by societal groups while the issue context then refers to how given issues are typically placed on the agenda via the media, both traditional and new social media.

Darren R. Halpin and Bert Fraussen then examined styles in interest group behavior and activity which affect agenda-setting styles. They contended that the way groups are organized and operate shapes how likely it is that they are able to fit into prevailing governmental or institutional policy styles. In this regard, in Chapter 18, the authors identified tour dimensions along which group agenda-setting styles can be conceptualized: structure, carrying capacity, process, and posture. By drawing upon these for dimensions, they identified an “orthodox” agenda-setting style and an “alternative” agenda-setting style followed by such groups. While this chapter mainly treats group agenda-setting styles as a dependent variable, it also discussed which of the two agenda-setting styles fits best with the kinds of national policy styles identified by Richardson et al. (1982).

In Chapter 19, Shaun Bevan, Enrico Borghetto, and Henrik Seeberg focused on the nature of parliamentary agendas, and especially the scope or capacity of the agenda to carry forward several issues at the same time. The authors investigated whether the composition of parliamentary agendas differs across political systems because of the different styles in which the agenda is formed by actors such as the media and interest groups. They found clear patterns in the scope of parliamentary debates and therefore policy styles, which are affected by various factors, including the manner in which a coalition government is formed or the entrance of a new party to parliament.

Interestingly, despite the noticeable variety in themes covered, this group of chapters offered a coherent collective message in the sense that they found this stage of agenda setting to lend itself very well to be scrutinized from the perspective of “styles”. One reason we see this fit is that the original formulation of national policy styles also focused on interest groups and advocacy activity, which are also important themes in research on agenda setting.

Policy formulation, advisory systems, and policy design was the subject of Part 5. In Chapter 20, Michael Howlett and Ishani Mukherjee elaborated on the idea of policy formulation styles. They identified four formulation styles that depend on the level of government knowledge present at this stage of policy-making and upon whether the intention of the government in addressing policy problems is more or less instrumental. They argued that “capable policy design” results when there are high levels of knowledge and an instrumental intention. “Poor policy design” results from low government knowledge when an instrumental formulation intention is nevertheless still present. If the government has a high level of knowledge but a less instrumental formulation intention, this creates the possibility of “capable political nondesign”. And, finally, when the knowledge level is low and there is little instrumental intention, the likely outcome is “poor political non-design”.

In Chapter 21, Moshe Maor examined the question of whether governments might tend to often over- or underreact to problems. The reasons for these styles of disproportionate policy responses, he argued, are rooted in psychological and institutional explanations. For example, policy over- and underreaction styles may occur as a result of psychological biases and strong emotions among policy-makers and the public, as well as due to institutional values, procedures, myths, and routines. However, these styles can also emerge as strategic responses to real or manufactured policy problems.

David Aubin and Marleen Brans then discussed styles of policy advice in Chapter 22. The authors followed the original formulation of policy styles provided by Richardson et al. (1982) and identified four types of policy advice linked to them. The two dimensions along which they arranged these types are the governments approach to problem-solving (short/reactive vs. long-term/anticipatory) and whether the advice system is a closed or open one. In closed systems with a short-term/reactive approach, the advice style is typically “incremental”, whereas it will correspond to “sense-making” when the system is open and the government strives for long-term/anticipatory solutions. A “policy analytical” approach emerges when the system is closed but the government has a long-term/anticipatory orientation toward problem-solving. An advice style best described as “advocating” occurs when the advice system is open, but the government is interested in short-term/reactive policy solutions.

Overall, this group of chapters is particularly valuable as it was the first ever to discuss policy styles in policy formulation. The chapters covered different themes, but they still liaised with each other and provided complementary insights on how formulation can settle into established and often difficult-to-change patterns.

Part 6 dealt with decision-making, an important aspect of policy-making which, like agenda setting, which has received detailed treatment in the past. In Chapter 23, Christopher A. Cooper and Patrik Marier gave an overview of two kinds ot executive policy styles often found in policy decision-making: the civil service executive style and the politicized executive style. The authors contended that whether public servants are hired according to merit or their political loyalties results in different types of behavior, different processes, and different outcomes. While this chapter conceptually elaborated on the executive policy styles, it also related these policy styles to policy outputs. Yet the most welcome feature of this chapter is that it showed, by referring to the case of Canada, that there can be substantial variation in executive styles within countries.

Maria Tullia Galanti then offered an engaging discussion of leadership styles in Chapter 24. Concentrating on the degree ot delegation found in an administrative system and the extent to which political decision-making is centralized, she identifies four common leadership styles: “selective instrumental” leadership as observed tor instance in the France, “selective inspirational” leadership found in the United Kingdom, “pluralist coordinated” leadership found in the United States, for example, and “inclusive cooperative” leadership otten practiced in Germany. The chapter also discussed the connection between these leadership styles and how likely they are to be conducive to different degrees of policy change: selective instrumental being unlikely to produce policy change at all, whereas selective inspirational and inclusive cooperative leadership are likely to produce radical policy change. With pluralist coordinated leadership, policy change is also likely to occur but more incrementally.

Kai Wegrich s discussion ot executive styles in Chapter 25 concentrated on how politicians and bureaucrats interact and how policies are coordinated across boundaries and conflicts are resolved. This chapter is a valuable addition to this part for at least two reasons. First, it provided the conceptual background to the previous two chapters. Second, it linked the executive styles perspective to the wider literature on executive politics, which sharpens the analytical focus of the various notions ot “styles” on institutional and political factors as the drivers of executive styles and also discusses the source of variation among these styles.

The discussion of implementation styles by Michael Howlett et al. in Chapter 26 engaged with the role and importance of policy instruments in the implementation stage of policymaking and how governments develop a preference and propensity to choose certain tools and not others in putting their decisions into action. This chapter aligns with the logic ot both national and sectoral styles. It is compatible with the idea of national policy styles since in some countries, for example, regulatory instruments are preferred over marked-based ones. Likewise, it is compatible with the perspective that policy styles are sector-specific rather than country- specific since sectors also have differing preferences concerning the policy instruments they use.

In Chapter 27, Christian Adam and Steffen Hurka continued this discussion in conceptually distinguishing between tour styles of regulation: authority (strict rules/severe sanctions), lenient authority (strict rules/lenient sanctions), punitive permissiveness (liberal rules/severe sanctions), and permissiveness (liberal rules/lenient sanctions). Similar to the previous chapter, this chapter stressed the impact of styles upon policy outputs. Nonetheless, the process dimension was addressed to the extent that the policy problems underlying these different styles of regulation are shown to be likely to produce different policy-making processes leading to these outcomes.

In Chapter 28, Michael Howlett then put forth a dynamic perspective on implementation styles by linking policy implementation styles directly to policy instrument choices, which complements the conceptual discussion presented in Chapter 26. Indeed, this chapter offers a process-oriented complementary discussion to the discussion of “substantive” tools found there. Another feature distinguishing this chapter from Chapter 26 is that Howlett developed a model that can not only explain policy implementation styles but also how these change over time. Thus, it offers a more dynamic perspective on the subject.

In sum, these chapters on implementation styles form a coherent body, as was the case with the chapters on agenda setting and decision-making. Interestingly, they place an emphasis on discussing patterns of policy outputs. This suggests that depending on the respective research perspective, the relationship between policy outputs and policy styles is an important topic deserving more attention.

Turning to the last part of the book dealing with policy evaluation, Claire A. Dunlop and Claudio M. Radaelli elaborated on styles of policy learning in Chapter 29. With low problem tractability and low certification of actors, the authors argued that a style of “reflexive” learning is likely, whereas with the opposite constellation of high problem tractability and high certification of actors leads to a different style of “learning in the shadow of hierarchy”. Actors can also learn “through bargaining” if they have a low certification, but the tractability of the problem is high. “Epistemic” learning is then a fourth style which can be observed for actors with a high certification but a low problem tractability.

Focusing more on the actors involved in evaluation, in Chapter 30 Fritz Sager and Celine Mavrot then contrasted participatory evaluation styles with expert evaluation styles. They were concerned with the implications of these arrangements for the corresponding evaluation process but also discussed their respective analytical strengths and weaknesses. In light of the politics of “post-truth democracy” (Habermas 2006), the authors proposed that policy-makers should be pragmatic and blend both types into a new “hybrid” style.

Finally, in Chapter 31 Fabrizio De Francesco and Valerie Pattyn complemented the previous chapter and discussed evaluation styles in a broad manner. They stressed that a country may have many different evaluation practices and techniques at their disposal, but because of various factors, such as the influence of international organizations, these have often converged on three dominant evaluation styles consisting of standard cost model, regulatory impact assessment, and randomized control trials.

This group of chapters forms a complementary set to those on policy formulation styles, befitting the similarities existing between ex ante and ex post evaluations.

The way forward

Based on the insights provided by the contributions to this volume, we can identify several promising avenues for future research, which refer to both conceptual-theoretical work and future empirical analysis.

The first refers to the various conceptualizations of institutional and process styles in this volume, which appear logically compelling, but not all chapters have empirically assessed the validity of their conceptual approaches. Consequently, the first obvious way forward concerns the empirical testing of the conceptualizations and theoretical arguments advanced here.

Second, as spelled out by Bevan et al. in Chapter 19, the original formulation of policy styles by Richardson still offers possibilities for advancement, both conceptually and theoretically. The original work did not pay attention to parliamentary processes, for example, and yet we know that this is the venue where policy decisions are made. Therefore, we see value in strengthening the analytical link between discussions of policy styles and policy processes, something underscored by the chapters here on agenda setting and decision-making.

Likewise, very few chapters systematically examine policy styles as an independent variable for explaining policy outputs. The chapters by Horn and Shore (Chapter 8) and Bali and Hannah (Chapter 9) were notable exceptions on that score and demonstrated the usefulness of the styles concept for explaining the emergence ot broad policy patterns. Therefore, as a third avenue for future research, we consider it potentially rewarding to invest more work in the analysis of how policy styles affect and explain policy outputs.

A very important observation was also made by Cairney in Chapter 7 that concerns the conceptual and empirical relationship between different types of styles, especially national and sectoral ones. Notwithstanding the discussion ot transnational and international styles, this question is most relevant tor the relationship between national and subnational policy styles. However, there clearly continues to exist a gap in the conceptual debates concerning the relationship between different types of institutional policy styles, which is unwanted and needs to be addressed. Similarly, any hypothesized relationships between different levels or kinds of policy styles should be tested by empirical investigation.

A related research perspective relates to the discussion triggered by Howlett el al. in Chapter 16 on how the concept of governance maps onto the concept of policy styles. While the authors provided a compelling treatise that these concepts are complementary rather than competing, a more comprehensive approach to conceptualizing and theorizing governance and policy-making could alter this finding. Therefore, it also appears worthwhile to continue examining how governance concepts fit together with the various notions of policy styles, something that may well ultimately explain the missing links between national and sectoral styles.

Lastly, we still seem to be in need of a discussion ot the time scale necessary to speak of the emergence of routines and styles and how they change. In this regard, Chapter 10 by Tosun and Debus is quite radical since it considers one legislative period of four to five years to be long enough to speak ot a policy style. In marked contrast, Chapters 12 and 14 by Bayerlein el al. stress the emergence and persistence of administrative styles over much longer periods ot time, whereas other chapters did not elaborate on the time scale at all. This is an issue that is not limited to the concept of policy styles but concerns quite a few concepts in comparative public policy (e.g., Baumgartner and Jones 1993). Overall, it is clear that this is another issue which needs further conceptual thinking and empirical exploration.


Politics is about “who gets what, when and how” in social life, as Lasswell (1936) famously put it, and Lowi (1972) established an analytical connection between politics and policies in affecting this issue that is still accepted today. Richardson el al. (1982) provided an approach to integrating policy and politics which was at the heart of this volume in their derivation ot the concept of a policy style. Authors interested in how policy-making works in different countries and whether groups of countries could be identified with similar patterns took up this research interest empirically in, for example, the work by Esping-Andersen (1990) or Castles (1993). In fact, policy scholars are still fascinated by the question ot why things work the way they do in certain countries, and this basic analytical interest has already produced an extensive body ot research and we expect even more in the future. This has been done in the case of the 2019—2020 COVID-19 pandemic (Capano el al. 2020), and we expect many more such studies to appear over the next several years as this approach further matures and develops.

While the analytical interest of the original formulation of policy styles was exactly to understand the processes underlying policy-making in countries, with this volume we attempted to increase the usefulness of the concept of “styles” tor a broader set of comparative public policy research by moving away from a focus on just national policy styles to look at many different aspects of both institutional and process styles. The contributions to this volume demonstrated that the concept can travel to other political phenomena, which are, of course, all in some way connected to the formulation and implementation of public policy, two aspects of policymaking which Richardson (1982) first focused upon. We are confident that the conceptualizations of “styles” presented in this volume are conducive to further comparative research which can develop and refine this concept and approach. They allow for the identification and comparison of policy styles across subnational entities, sectors, organizations, and different phases of the policy cycle and have broached the key linkages existing between styles and outputs which is of interest both conceptually and empirically in policy studies. Another important advancement of the study of policy styles can be seen in the explicit discussion of whether and under what conditions these can change over time.

Overall, we are confident the contributions to this volume will play a key role to breathing new life into the development and application of the concept of policy styles within policy studies. It is now up to the scientific community to apply the conceptualizations presented here to a range of outstanding research questions in the field and to critically appraise their analytical value, participating and advancing academic exchange and contributing to the further development of cumulative knowledge on the subject.


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