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Policy as Symbolic Statement: International Response to National Population Policies

Deborah Barrett and Amy Ong Tsui
Social Forces
Vol. 78, No. 1 (Sep., 1999), pp. 213-233
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/3005795
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3005795
Page Count: 21
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Policy as Symbolic Statement: International Response to National Population Policies
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Abstract

Traditional studies of state policies tend to focus on the achievement of the policies' stated ends. But policies, as systems of meaning and expressions of legitimate statehood, signal various meanings to national and international audiences. In this article, we demonstrate the importance of the symbolic and international realms by investigating the impact of population policies on patterns of financial assistance from international donor organizations. We find that developing countries with policies are more likely to (1) receive population assistance, and (2) receive greater amounts of funding than are countries without policies. These results suggest that studies of policy outcomes should not only evaluate local, intended consequences, but how national policies as international symbols may foster other types of consequences.

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