Governmental Response to Crises and Its Implications for Street-Level Implementation: Policy Ambiguity, Risk, and Discretion during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Maayan Davidovitz, Nissim Cohen, Anat Gofen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

What are the implications of governmental responses to crises for street-level implementation? The COVID-19 pandemic presents a unique opportunity to compare the formal role that decision-makers require of street-level bureaucrats (SLBs) during a crisis. Textual analysis of 36 legislative documents and emergency regulations in Israel indicates that the additional duties assigned to police officers, teachers, and physicians reflect three interrelated changes in street-level implementation: increased policy ambiguity, higher risk exposure, and expanded discretion. Decision-makers’ expectations of SLBs during a crisis highlight the inherent limit of policy-as-written to account for the operational, action-imperative essence of on-the-ground service delivery.Note: In the interests of space, street-level theory and the pandemic context underpinning the articles for this Special Issue are discussed in detail in the Introduction to the Issue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-130
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • crisis
  • discretion
  • risk
  • street-level bureaucrats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration

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