The politics of youth unemployment policy

Baldwin, Pamela (1985) The politics of youth unemployment policy. (MPhil thesis), Kingston Polytechnic, .


This study examines the influences on the evolution of youth unemployment policy, since the beginning of the 1970s. The focus is on the dynamic influences on youth unemployment policy and policy change. Informed by a reading of the policy studies literature, the investigation highlights not only the institutional influences on policy, but also broader factors, such as ideological and economic concerns. The policy history is told in three parts, based on periods where distinctive changes in relations within the policy community, in ideological influences and in policy itself, can be discerned. The empirical work employs a variety of research methods. A content analysis of The Times was conducted, for the period under investigation, in order to establish the pattern of public activity around youth unemployment policy. The policy history is based on content analysis of policy documents and interviews with policy actors. The object of the study is to understand the nature of power within the policy process in the case of youth unemployment policy. For this reason approaches to the study of public policy are grouped according to the notions of power they incorporate: pluralist and neo-pluralist, reformist and radical. The findings of the case study are discussed in the light of these approaches. The study concludes that radical perspectives, combined with the notion of human agency, implicit in pluralist, neo-pluralist and reformist approaches, provide the most useful framework to interpret the case of youth unemployment policy. Although general theoretical conclusions cannot be drawn from one case study, the research provides a basis for future comparative work on the influences on public policy.

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