Handbook on Complexity and Public Policy


Handbook on Complexity and Public Policy

9781782549512 Edward Elgar Publishing
Edited by Robert Geyer, Professor of Politics, Complexity and Policy, Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion, Lancaster University and Paul Cairney, Professor of Politics and Public Policy, Division of History and Politics, University of Stirling, UK
Publication Date: 2015 ISBN: 978 1 78254 951 2 Extent: 496 pp
Though its roots in the natural sciences go back to the early 20th century, complexity theory as a scientific framework has developed most rapidly since the 1970s. Increasingly, complexity theory has been integrated into the social sciences, and this groundbreaking Handbook on Complexity and Public Policy has brought together top thinkers in complexity and policy from around the world.

With contributions from Europe, North America, Brazil and China this comprehensive Handbook splits the topic into three cohesive parts: Theory and Tools, Methods and Modeling, and Application.

Copyright & permissions

Recommend to librarian

Your Details

Privacy Policy

Librarian Details

Download leaflet

Print page

More Information
Critical Acclaim
More Information
Though its roots in the natural sciences go back to the early 20th century, complexity theory as a scientific framework has developed rapidly from the 1970s onwards. Since the 1990s, it has been increasingly integrated into the social sciences and public policy. The ground-breaking and wide-ranging Handbook on Complexity and Public Policy brings together the latest work from top academics, researchers and policy actors working with complexity and policy from Europe, North America, Brazil and China and organizes it into three clear and cohesive parts:

· Theory and Tools
· Methods and Modelling for Policy Research and Action
· Applying Complexity to Local, National and International Policy.

With its distinctive combination of theory, methods and policy applications, comprehensive coverage of the field and state of the art overview, this Handbook is an essential read for students, academics and policy practitioners.

Critical Acclaim
‘Over recent years Complexity Science has revealed to us new limits to our possible knowledge and control in social, cultural and economic systems. Instead of supposing that past statistics and patterns will give us predictable outcomes for possible actions, we now know the world is, and will always be, creative and surprising. Continuous structural evolution within such systems may change the mechanisms, descriptors, problems and opportunities, often negating policy aims. We therefore need to redevelop our thinking about interventions, policies and policy making, moving perhaps to a humbler, more ‘learning’ approach. In this Handbook, leading thinkers in multiple domains set out these new ideas and allow us to understand how these new ideas are changing policymaking and policies in this new era.’
– Peter M. Allen, Cranfield University, UK

‘Complexity Theory has come to the fore because the world we live in is complex and many of the issues which confront us cannot be handled by the conventional tools of science, including social science. In public policy and professional practice, we are well aware of wicked issues where simple interventions often make things worse instead of better. The chapters in this excellent Handbook put complexity to work where it matters - in informing our thinking and action across governance and public policy.’
– David Byrne, Durham University, UK
Contributors: S. Astill, U.Bilge, T. Bovaird, P. Cairney, A. Caloffi, T. Carmichael, M. Darking, G. de Roo, B. Edmonds, C. Gershenson, R. Geyer, M. Givel, B. Gray, M. Hadzikadic, P. Haynes, C. Hobbs, M. Howlett, L. Johnson, R. Kenny, K.E. Lehmann, A. Little, Q. Liu, E. Mitleton-Kelly, G. Morçöl, D. Nohrstedt, S. Occelli, J. Price, J. Rayner, C. Ricaurte, G. Room, F. Rossi, M. Russo, F. Semboloni, K. Treadwell Shine, J. Stroud, T. Tenbensel, C. Warren-Adamson, T.E. Webb, A. Wellstead, J. Whitmeyer


1. Introduction
Paul Cairney and Robert Geyer

2. Complexity, Power and Policy
Graham Room

3. Complexity and Real Politics
Adrian Little

4. Critical Legal Studies and a Complexity Approach: Some Initial Observations for Law and Policy
Thomas E. Webb

5. ''What''s the Big Deal?'': Complexity Versus Traditional US Policy Approaches
Michael Givel

6. Can We Discover the Higgs Boson of Public Policy or Public Administration Theory? A Complexity Theory Answer
Göktuǧ Morçöl

7. The Policymaker''s Complexity Toolkit
Jim Price, Philip Haynes and Mary Darking, Julia Stroud, Chris Warren- Adamson, Carla Ricaurte-Ouijano

8. Effective Policy Making: Addressing Apparently Intractable Problems
Eve Mitleton-Kelly

9. Complexity Theory and Political Science: Do New Theories Require New Methods?
Stuart Astill and Paul Cairney

10. Complexity Modelling and Application to Policy Research
Liz Johnson

11. Policymaking as Complex Cartography? Mapping and Achieving Probable Futures Using Complex Concepts and Tools
Kasey Treadwell Shine

12. The Role of Models in Bridging Expert and Lay Knowledge in Policy-Making Activities
Sylvie Occelli and Ferdinando Semboloni

13. Modelling Complexity for Policy: Opportunities and Challenges
Bruce Edmonds and Carlos Gershenson

14. Using Agent-Base Modelling to Inform Policy for Complex Domains
Mirsad Hadzikadic, Joseph Whitmeyer and Ted Carmichael

15. Local Government Service Design Skills Through the Appreciation of Complexity
Catherine Hobbs

16. Managing Complex Adaptive Systems to Improve Public Outcomes in Birmingham, UK
Tony Bovaird and Richard Kenny

17. Brazil and Violent Crime: Complexity as a Way of Approaching ''Intractable'' Problems
Kai Enno Lehmann

18. Educating for Equality: The Complex Policy of Domestic Migrants'' Children in China
Qian Liu

19.The Emergence of Iintermediary Organizations: A Network-based Approach to the Design of Innovation Policies
Annalisa Caloffi, Federica Rossi and Margherita Russo

20. Complexity Theory and Collaborative Crisis Governance in Sweden
Daniel Nohrstedt

21. Going for Plan B- Conditioning Adaptive Planning. About Urban Planning and Institutional Design in a Non-linear, Complex World
Gert de Roo

22. Complexity and Health Policy
Tim Tenbensel

23. A Case Study of Complexity and Health Policy: Planning for a Pandemic
Ben Gray

24. How useful is Complexity Theory to Policy Studies? Lessons from the Climate Change Adaptation Literature
Adam Wellstead, Michael Howlett, Jeremy Rayner

25. Agent Based Modelling and the Global Trade Network
Ugur Bilge

26. The International Financial Crisis: The Failure of a Complex System
Philip Haynes

27. Where does Complexity and Policy Go from Here?
Paul Cairney and Robert Geyer


eBook for individuals
978 1 78254 952 9
From £48.00
Click here for options
eBook for library purchase
978 1 78254 952 9
View sample chapter and check access on:
eBook options

Available for individuals to buy from these websites

Or recommend to your institution to acquire on Elgaronline
  • Buy as part of an eBook subject collection - flexible options available
  • Downloading and printing allowed
  • No limits on concurrent user access, ideal for course use
My Cart