“Ideas, federalism and policy feedback: an institutionalist approach”
Federalism and policy feedback are central issues within the institutionalist tradition, but scholars who study the role of ideas within that tradition have paid surprisingly limited attention to these two issues. More specifically, within the public policy literature, little has been published about the relationship between federalism and the ideational dimension of policy feedback. The objective of this article is to explore this relationship at the theoretical level before illustrating basic analytical claims about it through empirical work. The empirical sections draw on two case studies from Canada to illustrate the interaction between federalism and ideational policy feedback over time: provincial social policy, with a focus on Quebec, and the federal National Energy Program, with a focus on its impact on Alberta. The analysis stresses the role of identity formation in mediating the connection between ideational and institutional processes in federal political systems.