Journal of Policy History (J Pol Hist )

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Journal description

The Journal of Policy History provides an interdisciplinary forum for scholars concerned with the application of historical perspectives to public policy studies. The journal aims to encourage researchinto the formation and development of public policy while encouraging the application of diverse methods and theories to public policyand their politics within a histrocial perspective. In addition to social scientist and historians, the journal seeks to inform policy makers through a historical approach to public policy. The Journal of Policy History is intended to give voice to scholars interested in understanding public policies and their development through historical inquiry and interpretation. The journal publishes historical studies of specific policy areas and policy institutions, and explores continuities and shifts in policy over time. The journal encourages interdisciplinary research into the origins and development of public policy in the United States and other countries. Comparative historical approaches to the development of public policies are also welcomed. Each year the first issue is devoted to a special topic such as drug control policy, the refugee/asylum dilemma, urban policy, equal opportunity and affirmative action, and civil rights policy. This issue is also published separately as a paperback (Issues in Policy History) for course use.

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Additional details

5-year impact 0.00
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Website Journal of Policy History (JPH) website
Other titles Journal of policy history (Online), Journal of policy history, JPH
ISSN 0898-0306
OCLC 42429567
Material type Document, Periodical, Internet resource
Document type Internet Resource, Computer File, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

Publisher details

Cambridge University Press

  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author can archive a post-print version
  • Conditions
    • Author's Pre-print on author's personal website, departmental website, social media websites, institutional repository, non-commercial subject-based repositories, such as PubMed Central, Europe PMC or arXiv
    • Author's post-print for HSS journals, on author's personal website, departmental website, institutional repository, non-commercial subject-based repositories, such as PubMed Central, Europe PMC or arXiv, on acceptance of publication
    • Author's post-print for STM journals, on author's personal website on acceptance of publication
    • Author's post-print for STM journals, on departmental website, institutional repository, non-commercial subject-based repositories, such as PubMed Central, Europe PMC or arXiv, after a 6 months embargo
    • Publisher's version/PDF cannot be used
    • Published abstract may be deposited
    • Pre-print to record acceptance for publication
    • Publisher copyright and source must be acknowledged with set statement, for deposit of Authors Post-print or Publisher's version/PDF
    • Must link to publisher version
    • Publisher last reviewed on 07/10/2014
  • Classification
    ​ green

Publications in this journal

  • Journal of Policy History 10/2014; 26(04):625-643.
  • Journal of Policy History 10/2014; 26(04):509-533.
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    ABSTRACT: In his tour of the Malay States on the east coast of the Malay peninsula in 1838, Munshi Abdullah, a Muslim scholar, described an apathetic Malay polity, where there existed “all kinds of taboos” between the ruler and the ruled and that the Malay population could not “criticise the unreasonable conduct of kings without the risk of being sentenced to death.” Slightly over a hundred years later, in 1946, the Malay masses were throwing their weight against their rulers in reaction to the British-proposed Malayan Union. The Malays felt that the Malayan Union would effectively spell the end of Malay political dominance because it would grant non-Malays citizenship status, employ equal citizenship rights, and revoke Malay special status. By agreeing to the proposal, they felt, the Malay rulers had short-changed Malay political rights. Reacting to the event, Ayob Abdullah, a political activist, reminded the Malay rulers of their responsibility toward the Malay masses. He also urged Malays to form political organizations since “they could no longer rely on their Rajas to defend their society.” The transformation of the Malay masses from political apathy to political activism surprised even the drafters of the Malayan Union. Edward Gent, the main architect of the Malayan Union proposal, wrote to the State Secretary of the Colonies expressing his surprise at Malays’ opposition to the Union, saying the Malays “showed considerable apprehension of any substantial admission of non-Malays to citizenship rights.” What contributes to the transformation of the Malay masses from political apathy to a determined and cogent portrayal of Malay nationalism in the twentieth century? Was the show of Malay nationalism in 1946 an ad hoc display? Or was Malay nationalism a product of a historical process that had led to the transformation of the Malay polity? This article attempts to answer these questions and will argue that Malay nationalism was a result of the British colonial administration’s inability to remove completely de jure Malay power, even when the administration managed to remove de facto Malay power. This inability to remove completely Malay de jure power was due to the British fear that a complete dismantling of Malay feudal structures would come at considerable financial and political costs. However, it was this failure to remove Malay de jure power that set off a path-dependent process, one where the colonial administration needed to continue to factor in the Malay political presence within its policy calculations. By factoring Malay de jure power, British policies created a self-reinforcing process that not only engendered the development of Malay social and political capacities but also created a network of Malay-based institutions that, in aggregate, gave rise to Malay political expression. By adopting the historical institutional tool, this article hopes to offer a new explanation to Malay nationalism. Indeed there have been many works that provide historiographical description of Malaya and Malay nationalism. Though these works provide a good account of actors and issues involved in Malay nationalism, they do not trace social, political, and economic processes over the long term and do not place a premium on the fact that small policy choices may add to building up a large outcome over a long period of time. They either pay attention to specific Malay actors to explain nationalism (Malay intellectuals, organizations) or pick historical moments to depict Malay nationalism. Take, for instance, one of the important works on Malay nationalism by William Roff. Excellent as Roff’s work is, the “Origins of Malay Nationalism” is centered on one aspect of nationalism, one where “new social and political elite groups form the core of his analysis.” Roff’s work falls short of explaining the sources of the development of Malay political expression. For instance, how is it possible that the twentieth century saw a rapid growth of Malay elites? Also, what made the British administration implement policies that favored the Malays in the earlier twentieth century when such policies were clearly out of character with British liberal values? More interestingly, what triggered the British change of policy toward Malays in the twentieth century when none was put in place in the nineteenth century? Why did the British allow the growth of the...
    Journal of Policy History 04/2014; 26(2).
  • Journal of Policy History 10/2011; 4(04):467-470.
  • Journal of Policy History 10/2011; 10(04):471-474.
  • Journal of Policy History 10/2011; 4(04):481-485.
  • Journal of Policy History 10/2011; 23(04):586-593.
  • Journal of Policy History 07/2011; 8(03):383-386.
  • Journal of Policy History 07/2011; 9(03):387-391.
  • Journal of Policy History 07/2011; 5(03):392-396.
  • Journal of Policy History 07/2011; 7(03):387-392.
  • Journal of Policy History 04/2011; 11(02):215-218.
  • Journal of Policy History 04/2011; 23(02):267-272.
  • Journal of Policy History 04/2011; 11(02):211-214.
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    ABSTRACT: A society in stable equilibrium is—by definition—one that has no history and wants no historians. Research with human subjects is a sensitive matter. Every now and then, cases in which research subjects are seriously harmed meet the eye of the public, which then calls for more governance of research. The result is that research with humans today is governed by an extensive and complex set of regulations. The history of this regulatory system in the Netherlands is usually told as a story of a free, licentious medical profession that had to be put under control by externally enforced public regulations. The Central Committee on Research Involving Human Beings (CCMO), which supervises accredited medical research ethics committees (MRECs), highlights the establishment of the first MREC in 1976 and the Dutch Law on Research involving Humans (WMO), which was established in 1999. Before then, the CCMO suggests, many informal ethical review committees were doing their job but lacked central control and uniform criteria. Only the 1999 law, which established the CCMO, solved such problems. The CCMO's 2003 self-evaluation report presents the law as necessary, if not always popular: "The Law didn't have any transitional arrangements and the field was hardly enthusiastic about the law and the central committee," it notes. "Moreover, there were a lot of uncertainties: it was unknown how many local research ethics committees were active, and how many of these committees wanted to be eligible for accreditation. Also, a national register for research with human beings was lacking." Henk Visser, the CCMO's chairman, paints a more positive picture, but his statement also implies a radical improvement since legislation was established. He stated in the CCMO's first annual report: "In our country since the early nineteen eighties procedures of medical research with human subjects—as well as ethics review—in practice was in general adequately arranged. When the WMO came into force on December 1, 1999, an integral regulation and review system was established." This historical account of the development of research regulation in the Netherlands shows a particular deterministic style. A common presumption or methodological premise in such determinist histories is that events in the historical sphere have a chain of causation with an inner logic, which is considered characteristic for the course of events. Generally, all events in a chain ought to be explainable by specific laws. Typically, these laws only mention characteristics or variables in terms of which the chain is specified, which suggest completeness. Also, the explanations of events exclude everything outside this logic, which suggest the state of closure. Determinism in this sense can also be found in the historiography of Dutch governance of ethical issues in research with human subjects. It suggests that strict and formal regulation offers the solution to all obstacles that might be encountered. Subsequently, historical events are defined and explained in this framework and seem to form a progressive path to the future. Such a narrow historical view might prohibit a thorough understanding and evaluation of current ethical review practice. It also seriously narrows the scope of potential alternatives, since formal regulations are regarded as the best and only logical way of governing research ethics. In this article, I try to provide a more balanced history of ethics governance of human-subjects research. By taking seriously the controversies about governance issues, it argues that, instead of resulting from inevitable historical logic, things could have been otherwise, and regulation was not the only possible solution to governance dilemmas. It describes changes in Dutch governance of ethics in research with human subjects by exploring three controversial issues in the development of research governance. First, it will focus on the debate about internal and external control regarding the medical profession to show that different stakeholders held different views on how to govern ethics of research with human subjects. Second, it will describe discussions about centralized versus decentralized governance. This topic was especially relevant in the constitution of formal ethical review practices in the late twentieth century. Third, it will investigate the homogeneity versus heterogeneity issue with respect to substantive and procedural criteria for the assessment of research. Exemplary for this issue is the multicenter...
    Journal of Policy History 01/2011; 32(1):74-93.
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    ABSTRACT: In universities across the United States, institutional review boards, or IRBs, claim that they have the moral and legal authority to control the work of researchers in the humanities and social sciences. While IRBs may claim powers independent of federal regulations, they invariably point to these regulations as a key source of their authority. This article draws on previously untapped manuscript materials in the National Archives to trace the history of the federal regulation of social science research. Officials raised sincere concerns about dangers to participants in social science research, especially the unwarranted invasion of privacy as a result of poorly planned survey and observational research. On the other hand, the application of the regulations to the social sciences was far less careful than was the development of guidelines for biomedical research. Regulators failed to define the problem they were trying to solve, then insisted on a protective measure borrowed from biomedical research without investigating alternatives.
    Journal of Policy History 04/2008;
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    ABSTRACT: Journal of Policy History 14.4 (2002) 384-416 The last quarter century has witnessed a rising tide of skepticism among scholars about the link between information-gathering and policymaking. Drawing on several decades of research and rethinking, students of organizational behavior concluded that organizations collect information for reasons that have more to do with organizational dynamics than with the making of choice. Students of public policy found high-stakes policy controversies deeply resistant to recourse to "the facts." Not surprisingly, the rethinking extended to the fact-finder himself, now depicted as a cipher, seeing what he had been conditioned to see. Challenging this depiction, this article argues that being "in the field" has a powerful effect on the fact-finder. The fact-finder may have significant degrees of freedom in interpreting the mandate to collect information; the fact-finder may respond not only to the intended audience for his information but also to his informants; and, when confronted by difficulties in assessing what he finds, the fact-finder may not necessarily turn reflexively to the beliefs that he brought to the field. This article begins with a review of the literature on information-gathering and the making of choice, paying particular attention to the assumptions (stated and unstated) about the dynamics of fact-finding in the field and the role of the fact-finder. To conceptualize and analyze the experience of "being there," the article examines at close range the fact-finding carried out in Russia between 1925 and 1927 by the Rockefeller Foundation's Division of Medical Education. The site commends itself on several grounds. From its earliest days, the Foundation trumpeted the importance of information-gathering for decision-making; for several of the Rockefeller philanthropies, the dispatch of an officer to the field to conduct a "survey of local conditions" was an indispensable requirement for gift-giving. The diplomatic "silence" between Russia and America made information-gathering in Russia politically sensitive and logistically difficult: in 1927, after nearly five-years of dithering, a Rockefeller Foundation officer finally went to Russia to find the facts. The specifics of the "Russian matter" strained both the Foundation's insistence on securing firsthand information and its vaunted commitment to taking "the facts" into account in making its determinations. Equally, the strength of the assumptions about Russia prevalent in the Foundation before the 1927 visit tested the ability of the fact-finder to "see" beyond what he had been schooled to see. By the late 1950s, "classical" rational-choice theory had been modified to accommodate the limited or "bounded" nature of human rationality. Over the course of the next decade and a half, scholars who styled themselves as "heretics" within the church of rational choice challenged its "bishops" to think through the implications of limited rationality for a variety of aspects of institutional functioning, not the least of which was the search, purveying, and use of information by organizations. According to "classical" rational-choice theory, organizations designed their information strategies to resolve uncertainties about future states of the world relevant to the choices with which they were grappling. An organization would therefore seek information only if the precision, relevance, and reliability of that information were compatible with the cost of acquiring it. This perspective on information generated specific expectations: relevant information would be collected and analyzed before decisions were made; available information would be scrutinized before requests were issued for more information; and only information relevant to specific decisions would be gathered. In the mid-1970s, March and Olsen reported what seemed like anomalous findings about organizational behavior: information bearing on a decision was often collected after the decision has been taken; regardless of the information available when a decision was first considered, more was invariably requested; and available information might even be ignored. In the face of this evidence, in the scant half-decade between 1976 and 1981, students of organizational behavior reformulated the logic behind information-gathering. According to the new trope, bureaucratic analysts produced information for reasons that often had more to do with organizational dynamics and norms than with the requirements of making choices. The production of information reduced the vulnerability of an organization...
    Journal of Policy History 02/2002; 14(4):384-416.
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    ABSTRACT: The years surrounding 1970 marked the coming of age of the modern environmental movement. As that movement enters its fourth decade, perhaps the most striking change is the virtual abandonment by national environmental groups of U.S. population stabilization as an actively pursued goal. How did the American environmental movement change so radically? Answering that question will be a challenging assignment for historians. The authors are not historians. We have spent most of our lives as a journalist and an environmental scientist, respectively. But to the historians who eventually take up the task, we have many suggestions of where to look. To begin to understand why that retreat has occurred and the significance of the retreat, it will be important to review the 1970-era movement and its population roots.
    Journal of Policy History 02/2000; 12(1):123-56.
  • Journal of Policy History 02/1995; 7(1):22-52.
  • Journal of Policy History 02/1995; 7(1):72-102.