Unintended Consequences in Public Policy: Formulation and Implementation of Michigan’s Safe Delivery of Newborns Law
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Public Affairs and Administration
Dr. Peter Kobrak
Dr. Matthew Mingus
Dr. William Long
It is generally believed that social policy is the result of careful research and planning on the part of officials. Yet there often exists a gap between theformulation and implementation of many social policies. This gap brings with it conflict, which in turn may result in unintended consequences. Theseconsequences may be so antithetical to the formulators' original intent as to make the policy implementation paradoxical.
This qualitative research study examines the ambiguities, challenges, or boundaries that policy formulators placed on practitioners responsible for implementing Michigan's Safe Delivery of Newborns Act and that ultimately created unintended consequences indicative of a public policy paradox. By utilizing elite interviews and content analysis of documents, the themes of moral development, social construction, decision making, and public policy issues are compared.
This research concludes that when public policies are formulated as the result of an emotional response to an issue, when there are epistemological differences between formulators and implementers, or when formulators fail to consider the voices of those directly impacted by their decisions, there is a likelihood that a paradoxical policy will arise.
Hacker, Anne Julie, "Unintended Consequences in Public Policy: Formulation and Implementation of Michigan’s Safe Delivery of Newborns Law" (2006). Dissertations. 946.