Adjusting policy implementation frameworks for non‐pluralist conditions: A case study of Ukraine's single tax for small business

Date01 February 2018
AuthorRuth Fischer‐Smith
DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1002/pad.1818
Published date01 February 2018
RESEARCH ARTICLE
Adjusting policy implementation frameworks for nonpluralist
conditions: A case study of Ukraine's single tax for small
business
Ruth FischerSmith
University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Correspondence
R. FischerSmith, Department of Internal
Affairs, 147 Lambton Quay, Wellington 6011,
New Zealand.
Email: ruth.fischersmith@dia.govt.nz
Summary
Traditional frameworks for assessing policy implementation have been developed almost exclu-
sively in the context of marketbased, pluralist democracies. This research explores policy pro-
cesses in more diverse contexts, testing the applicability of existing implementation
measurement models in the sociopolitical context of a postSoviet country. Fieldwork conducted
in Ukraine examines the factors affecting implementation of the Simplified SingleTax policy and
considers the impact of formal and informal institutions on policy processes and small business
conditions. Results include an expanded model for assessing policy implementation in nonplural-
ist conditions, an original contribution to the fields of policy, small business, and development
studies. The research further contributes to the literature concerning policy transfer, policy advo-
cacy, and tax reform in developing nations. For theoreticians, this research may inform design
considerations when conducting policy research outside of a pluralist democracy. For practi-
tioners, it may inform efforts to mitigate implementation obstacles in diverse sociopolitical
contexts.
KEYWORDS
developing nations, implementationframeworks, informal institutions, policy advocacy, policy
implementation,postSoviet transitionnations, small business conditions,small business policy, tax
policy reforms
1|INTRODUCTION
Successful policy implementation is often viewed as the exception to
the norm (Wildavsky, 1979). Numerous obstacles, such as unclear
chain of command, multiple actors, and insufficient resources, can act
as barrier points to effective implementation (Bardach, 1977; Goggin,
1990; Montjoy & O'Toole, 1979). In a nonpluralist context, where rule
of law and transparent political systems are not the norm, such barriers
are augmented by a range of additional obstacles, such as lack of polit-
ical accountability and opaque business practices (MeyerSahling &
Veen, 2012; Verheijen, 2007).
Traditional policy implementation models tend to be culturally
dependent, with many applicable only in democratic states where sta-
ble rule of law and political transparency are the norm. In such pluralist
systems, insights produced through implementation research can
improve policy processes towards more effective and efficient
implementation (O'Toole Jr. & Montjoy, 1984; Sandberg, Stensaker,
& Aamodt, 2002). Outside of pluralist states, however, westerncentric
policy implementation models built on the assumption of transparent
legal and political practices are often not fit for purpose. The socio
political climate of postSoviet states provides one example of where
many implementation barriers occur outside the scope of current
models.
1
PostSoviet policy environments are characterised by low levels of
political accountability, weak legal frameworks, and unclear legislation
(Åslund, 2003; Smallbone & Welter, 2012). The result is often policy
frameworks that do not capture the full range of conditions impacting
implementation in semidemocratic states. For example, research in
transition nations finds a positive correlation between the size of the
informal economy and national tax rates, and an inverse correlation
Research in article completed as part of PhD at University of Canterbury.
1
PostSoviet states, also termed Nations in Transit (Freedom House, 2016), usu-
ally includes both the former Soviet Republics as well as Soviet Bloc nations
(Central and Eastern European nations).
Received: 16 January 2017 Revised: 4 November 2017 Accepted: 10 November 2017
DOI: 10.1002/pad.1818
26 Copyright © 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Public Admin Dev. 2018;38:2638.wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/pad

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