Implementing Popular Initiatives: What Matters for Compliance?

Bali, Valentina A.
November 2003
Journal of Politics;Nov2003, Vol. 65 Issue 4, p1130
Academic Journal
The purpose of this research is to understand what matters for compliance with a popular initiative. While scholars of policy implementation have identified many factors that play a role in explaining compliance with a new law, these explanatory variables have not been collectively tested, in particular, in the context of the initiative process. Focusing on an initiative in education, I examine compliance with California's Proposition 227 that aimed to dismantle bilingual programs for English learners in the state's public schools. The analysis confirms earlier research that the preferences of the agents of implementation are key to explain compliance, but other factors emerge as equally important. In particular, voter preferences, local demographics, and institutional capacity can also shape the level of implementation of an initiative. Since many local factors are jointly needed to understand implementation, full compliance with an initiative may be difficult to achieve.


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