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Abstract

This review examines policy feedback effects among the mass public, with a focus on social policies in the United States and Europe. It shows that existing policies feed back into the political system, shaping subsequent policy outcomes. Policies exert this effect by altering not only the capacities, interests, and beliefs of political elites and states but also those of the public. Public policies can shape political participation and attitudes. These effects can be positive or negative, enhancing or undercutting participation and conferring positive or negative messages about individuals' worth as citizens. These effects originate in elements of program design, such as the size, visibility, and traceability of benefits, the proximity of beneficiaries, and modes of program administration. Thus, public policy itself shapes the distance of citizens from government, with profound implications for democratic governance.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-polisci-012610-135202
2012-06-15
2024-04-14
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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-polisci-012610-135202
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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