The Political Economic Sources of Policy Non-design, Policy Accumulation, and Decay in Policy Capacity

Published date01 July 2023
AuthorM.Kerem Coban
Date01 July 2023
Subject MatterArticles
Administration & Society
2023, Vol. 55(6) 1035 –1065
© The Author(s) 2023
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/00953997231162522
The Political Economic
Sources of Policy
Non-design, Policy
Accumulation, and Decay
in Policy Capacity
M.Kerem Coban1
This article problematizes the political economic drivers of policy (non-)
design, instrument choice, and how prolonged non-design could trigger
policy accumulation with serious implications for policy capacity. Focusing
on the currency crisis-induced economic crisis in Turkey and relying on
elite interviews and secondary resources, it argues that the design space,
which is defined by the interactions between the credit-led growth model
and the growth regime that prioritizes loose monetary and bank regulatory
policies for higher economic growth rates, led to haphazard crisis response.
Prolonged non-design in response to the crisis triggered policy accumulation
and decay in systemic and organizational policy capacity.
policy non-design, policy capacity, policy accumulation, political economy of
policymaking, crisis management
1Kadir Has University, Istanbul, Turkey
Corresponding Author:
M.Kerem Coban, Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Kadir Has
University, Istanbul 34083, Turkey.
1162522AAS0010.1177/00953997231162522Administration & SocietyCoban
1036 Administration & Society 55(6)
Public policy scholarship provides various answers to the drivers of policy
design and instrument choice: technical/knowledge orientation (i.e., instru-
mentality), political orientation (Capano & Lippi, 2017), institutional
arrangements (Linder & Peters, 1989), the context (i.e., design space)
(Mayntz, 1987), whose various constellations define the design space wherein
policy (non-)design and instrument choices occur (Curley et al., 2020; Feiock
& Yi, 2018; Feiock et al., 2008; Peters, 2002; Howlett & Ramesh, 1993).
Furthermore, scholars have noted that policy design might not even be the
concern of the decision-makers (i.e., non-design) (Peters, 2018; Howlett &
Mukherjee, 2014) let alone them targeting effectiveness (Peters et al., 2018).
Still, we do not know much about the political economic drivers of policy
(non-) design and instrument choice, even if there have been calls for linking
public policy scholarship with comparative political economy scholarship
(John, 2018). In a similar vein, the emerging growth models and regimes
strand in comparative political economy scholarship points to the need for
studies that would examine how “economic developments shape political
interests and how do these interests feed into policy making” (Stockhammer
& Kohler, 2022, p. 15; Baccaro & Pontusson, 2016, 2022; Hassel & Palier,
This article addresses the disconnect between comparative political econ-
omy and public policy literatures. To this aim, it highlights the political eco-
nomic drivers of policy (non-)design and instrument choice. The article
focuses on the currency crisis-induced economic crisis between 2018 and
early 2022 in Turkey. This crisis period is useful as a critical juncture that
illustrates the role and impact of political-economic factors driving policy
non-design and instrument choice to make sense of a period of a major crisis
and the executive’s crisis response. Furthermore, the focus on a crisis is
insightful because crisis response with deliberate policy design and mobiliza-
tion of policy capacity are critical to limit harm to society and facilitate robust
recovery (Albright & Crow, 2021; Boin et al., 2005, 2008; Capano et al.,
2020). In this sense, political economic drivers of policy (non-)design and
instrument choice can determine the length and impact of crises, as well as
their legacy for the post-crisis period.
Besides, this case is intriguing for two reasons. First, the country has
become a basket case of a major developing country that has been undergoing
a currency crisis-induced economic crisis since mid-2018 (Akçay & Güngen,
2022; Orhangazi & Yeldan, 2021; Şenses, 2022). This crisis exposed finan-
cial and macroeconomic fragilities, and the decision-makers have experi-
mented with haphazard instruments in response to the crisis. Second, the

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