Street Level Bureaucrats, Policy Entrepreneurship, and the Challenge of Enforcing Bans on Informal Economy Activities

Date

2023-01-14

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Conference on Policy Process Research

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Conference

Peer reviewed

Yes

Abstract

Street Level Bureaucrats (SLBs), public officials who deliver policies in citizen-facing roles, implement policy, once it is agreed elsewhere (typically they have not been part of this process). They may, however, have some flexibility over how exactly that policy is implemented (enforcement or compliance might be more pertinent in some contexts)– or, in some cases, the more appropriate word is ‘enforced’. One issue is the extent to which SLBs act as policy entrepreneurs. Their implementation experiences may reveal problems with policy design that, with adjustment, could improve implementation. Most studies analyse SLBs’ ability to act as a ‘traditional’ policy entrepreneur, using their knowledge, contacts, etc, to press policymakers to deliver policy change. In terms of the policy process, they act as informal policy evaluators, seeking to trigger a new round of policy. Other studies suggest that even by making adjustments to how they implement policy, they act as policy entrepreneurs. Part of this literature reflects on the importance of context, especially institutional, in shaping or restraining SLB actions. In this research, we undertake an in-depth analysis of two informal economy policies enacted in Lagos, Nigeria – the banning of street hawking, and the restriction then banning of okada (motorcycle taxis). We analyse the factors influencing the varying approaches to policy implementation and enforcement with reference to emerging results from a project that has collected data through 2021 and 2022. Six focus-group interviews were conducted with stakeholders, notably from government ministries, informal economy workers and their representatives; an in-depth citizen-survey yielding 1736 responses; and a workshop with policymakers, enforcement officers, and workers. Analysis is ongoing, but initial reflections suggest that institutional and economic contexts are important in the implementation and enforcement of these two bans, with SLBs willingness and ability to act as policy entrepreneurs evident, but different in the two cases.

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Citation

Igudia, E., Ackrill, R., Oyalowo, B. and Olusanya, O. (2023) Street Level Bureaucrats, Policy Entrepreneurship, and the Challenge of Enforcing Bans on Informal Economy Activities. Conference on Policy Process Research (COPPR) 2023: Advancing Policy Process, Theories, and Methods, January 12 – 14, 2023, Denver, Colorado, USA

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Research Institute

Institute for Applied Economics and Social Value (IAESV)