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Complexity, Institutions And Public Policy

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Complexity, Institutions And Public Policy

Agile Decision-Making in a Turbulent World

Graham Room

Graham Room, Professor of European Social Policy, University of Bath, UK

2011 392 pp Hardback 978 0 85793 263 1
2011 Paperback 978 0 85793 265 5
ebook isbn 978 0 85793 264 8

Hardback £101.00 on-line price £90.90

Paperback £32.00 on-line price £25.60


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‘I was excited by the book and the light it threw on many current policy issues. I was immensely impressed by the sheer scope and bravado of what I read. It attempts to integrate complexity science with evolutionary theory and institutionalism. It engages with post-Darwinian theory but superimposes on this an equal concern with power and politics. The book is ambitious and complex but surprisingly lucid and well written. This is a work at last taking the analysis of policy making a big step forward.’
– Ian Gough, London School of Economics, UK


Further information

Graham Room argues that conventional approaches to the conceptualisation and measurement of social and economic change are unsatisfactory. As a result, researchers are ill-equipped to offer policy advice. This book offers a new analytical approach, combining complexity science and institutionalism.

Part 1 is concerned with the conceptualisation of socio-economic change. It integrates complexity science and institutionalism into a coherent ontology of social and policy dynamics.

Part 2 is concerned with models and measurement. It combines some of the principal approaches developed in complexity analysis with models and methods drawn from mainstream social and political science.

Part 3 offers empirical applications to public policy: the dynamics of social exclusion; the social dimension of knowledge economies; the current financial and economic crisis. These are supplemented by a toolkit for the practice of ‘agile policy making’.

This is a stimulating, provocative and highly original book. It will appeal to academics and students in social and policy studies and to a wide range of scholars in other disciplines where complexity science is already well-developed. It will also be of major interest for decision makers coping with complex and turbulent policy terrains.

Full table of contents

Contents: Preface 1. Introduction Part I: Concepts 2. The Complexity Paradigm 3. Complex Adaptive Systems 4. The Economy as a Complex Adaptive System 5. Institutional Settings and Architectures 6. Institutional Dynamics 7. The Struggle for Positional Advantage 8. Conceptualising Social Dynamics Part II: Methods 9. Attractors and Orbits in Dynamic Systems 10. Patterns in Time and Space 11. Connections and Networks 12. Mobility on Social Landscapes 13. Towards a Generic Methodology Part III: Policies 14. Agile Policy-Making 15. Poverty and Social Exclusion 16. Social Dynamics of the Knowledge Economy 17. Global Turbulence and Crisis Postscript: Tools for Policy-Makers References Index

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