Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Self-Undermining Policy Feedback and Social Policy Making in Iraq

Cerami, Alfio (2023): Self-Undermining Policy Feedback and Social Policy Making in Iraq.

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This article examines self-undermining policy feedback and social policy making in Iraq. It discusses Jacobs and Weaver's (2015), self-undermining feedback mechanisms which include: Mechanism 1) Self-undermining-feedback through emergent losses for individuals and for organized groups (eg. emergent costs); Mechanism 2) Policy losses in mass cognition for individuals and for organized groups (eg. negativity bias, framing effects, informational conditions); and Mechanism 3) Expanding menus of alternatives/menu effects of policies for individuals and for organized groups (eg. windows of political opportunity). In Iraq, governments implemented both policies of blame avoidance and of credit claiming that became “self-undermining over time” (Weaver 1986; Jacobs and Weaver 2015). In patronage and exclusionary politics associated with civil war or the war against terror, new pension entitlements, health care, protection against unemployment and social safety nets, which tend to reward special privileged categories or loyal ethnic groups, such as state officials and corrupt members of the security apparatuses might intentionally escalate tensions to increase their own profits. This have led in an increase in expenses for those programs that can become self-undermining over time and could block their dismissal, whilst decreasing the scope for later development and social policy improvements. Politics and policies have become in this way without dignity for the beneficiaries, since they became part of a clannish exclusionary tribal politics that rises expenses without resolving the conflict resolution problem.

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