Thus, this essay will argue that ideas affect policy change only indirectly, as paradigms frames and determinants of interest, such that its importance in understanding policy change is only secondary to other approaches.
To better understand the importance of a study of ideas in policy change, it is first necessary to understand what ideas are. Ideas are shared beliefs held by individuals. However, a distinction must be made between two categories of shared beliefs, particularly "consensual beliefs" and "economic ideas", where although not mutually exclusive differ in their relation to policy. As Jacobsen explains, the difference lies between those of "means" to "ends", where consensual beliefs "shape the legitimate ends of economic activity"; economic ideas are the means to reach these ends. 3 Taking this definition of ideas, the importance of a study of ideas in policy change can be summarised in their roles as paradigms, roadmaps, or ideational frames.
Comparing policy change to scientific revolutions, Hall (1989) places emphasis on the role of ideas through "policy paradigms", or "roadmaps" as Goldstein and Keohane (19 ...Show more