Peter J. May

University of Washington

The cataloging of failures when putting policies in place has been the hallmark of implementation studies since the 1970s. The numerous lessons from this research can be distilled into guidance about improving policy design to enhance implementation prospects and other suggestions for overcoming administrative obstacles. This contribution extends these lessons by addressing how the governing arrangements for addressing policy problems—the policy regimes that are put in place—either work to reinforce or undermine political commitments enshrined within policies. Regimes mediate feedback effects of policies in affecting policy legitimacy, coherence, and durability. These notions about policy regimes are contrasted with traditional perspectives about implementation failures. The value of a regime perspective in studying policy implementation and governing is illustrated for the case of the Affordable Care Act in the United States of America (USA).