Photo of Anna Kopec, Assistant Professor, SPPA

Anna Kopec, Assistant Professor, SPPA

In her new paper, SPPA’s Anna Kopec considers how policy characteristics interact to influence the political participation of individuals experiencing homelessness in two cases: Toronto and Melbourne. Drawing on over 100 qualitative interviews Kopec offers important theoretical contributions to policy feedback theory and our understanding of how policies influence engagement.

The interactive effects of policies: Insights for policy feedback theory from a qualitative study on homelessness
Anna Kopec
First published: 10 April 2024 (Online Version of Record)
Policy Studies Journal


The policy feedback literature has long argued that policies influence politics. Several scholars have examined the interpretive and resource effects of policies on political participation. However, how different policy design characteristics – say their generosity and their delivery – interact to influence political engagement requires further attention. This article demonstrates that policy characteristics within and between policies interact and can have counteracting or complementary effects on engagement. Through a comparative study of homelessness in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto, Canada, and drawing on over 100 interviews with individuals experiencing homelessness, service providers, and policymakers, this article demonstrates the complex effects of policies. Qualitative interview data reveal that different characteristics of policy interact to influence the venue and form of participation, as well as the experiences associated. Anatomizing policies provides nuance to our understanding of effects and interactions with important contributions and areas of future research for policy feedback theory.

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