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My experience at the 2nd International Conference on Public Policy #ICPP2015

International Conference on Public Policy 2015 (Milano, Italia)One of the challenges that I have seen to public policy as a discipline is that sometimes every disciplinary silo is their parent, and sometimes it’s an orphan discipline. Both political science and public administration claim public policy as their child, yet it always ends up being a subordinate sub-field in both disciplines, instead of its own. It’s always a few panels at the American Political Science Association, or at the American Society for Public Administration conferences. Or any of the regional conferences (Midwest, Southern, etc.). But this conference was different, and that’s why I am gushing about it. Last week, I participated in the 2nd International Conference on Public Policy (ICPP) which saw the birth of the International Public Policy Association (IPPA), hosted by Éupolis Lombardia – Institute for Research, Statistics and Training and Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and hosted by UCSC in the center of Milan, Italy. ICPP was a dedicated conference for public policy theorizing and discussing, which is what made it so good. I had missed the chance to participate in the first ICPP, but I wasn’t going to miss this one.

I participated in two panels with some of the best scholars worldwide in the fields of public policy. And while this was slightly intimidating, it was also very reassuring. Because I want my research to have global impact and readership, I don’t want to just be a scholar of public policy in Mexico, but instead have international collaborations and advance our understanding of public policy theory globally.

International Conference on Public Policy 2015 (Milano, Italia)At the conference, I saw Chris Weible, Paul Cairney, Guy Peters, Helen Ingram, Nikolaos Zahariadis (of the multiple streams framework), Tanya Heikkila, and many more. This was by and large a heavy-weights conference on public policy. My first panel was on polycentricity, organized by Andreas Thiel (who is quickly becoming a very well established scholar of polycentricity) and Bill Blomquist (yes, THAT Bill Blomquist, from the Blomquist and Schlager 2005 critique of governing by river basin councils). My panel had Edella Schlager (yes, THAT Edella Schlager, one of the best and most well known scholars in the field) as discussant, Tom Koontz (yes, THAT Tom Koontz, one of the most well established collaborative governance scholars in the world).

Pacheco-Vega at ICPPMy second panel was organized by Chris Weible (University of Colorado at Denver) (of the Theories of Policy Process book) and Paul Cairney (University of Stirling). Paul is also a very well established scholar of public policy theory, having authored several books on the topic. The second panel examined how we use traditional theories in innovative ways. I presented my work on informal waste pickers there, using the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework. My co-panelists were all first-rate, world-class scholars. And obviously the discussants were amazing too. I actually noticed something at ICPP that I hadn’t noticed in many other conferences: the level was uniformly high. You know how at academic conferences you can see that the level is uneven? In this case, all presenters were high-level, and that was really amazing. By the way, that’s me presenting, photo credit Paul Cairney.

I look forward to incorporating the feedback I received into both of my papers for journal submission. I am particularly excited for both sets of papers – I am moving forward with my research on polycentric water governance, and with my global comparative politics of informal waste picking. And in both cases, my neoinstitutional theory work is also moving forward.

International Conference on Public Policy 2015 (Milano, Italia)

There was an entire delegation of professors from CIDE who participated in the conference (six of us, overall), which also made it very fun. This phenomenon was the result of happy coincidences, one of them that my colleague Mauricio Dussauge (CIDE) and Jose Luis Mendez from El Colegio de Mexico are editing a book on policy analysis in Mexico, so they organized several panels where my colleagues participated. The other one, that I was already coming here for the other panels that I had committed to.

International Conference on Public Policy (ICPP 2015) Polycentricity panel

Overall, I strongly recommend ICPP and joining IPPA. I will do my very best to come to the next one. Although the only drawback of holding ICPP in Milan in July was that it was 38 oC in the shade, and 27 oC at night, so that made it just about impossible to do sightseeing without having to hide in air-conditioned restaurants on a regular basis. Hopefully next time the weather will be a lot more amicable. Thanks to the organizers and the local committee and volunteers, as well as the participants.

You can read the Twitter stream of the conference here, and see my Flickr photo set here.

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Posted in academia, conferences, environmental policy.

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