Parallel Session 4A was chaired by Professor Soonhee Kim of the KDI School of Public Policy and Management, Korea. The session brought together three data-oriented papers, which illustrate the response of different institutions, i.e., the government and private sector, to changing policy contexts and regulatory frameworks.
In the context of increasing number of regulatory policies that address environmental problems, particularly carbon emissions, Dr. Irene Lau focused her study on how internal decision-making processes and external forces affect the response of private companies when the policy environment changes. Using a qualitative approach, Dr. Lau cited the case of two electric companies, including the regulatory measures in place, as well as the available resources, human capital, finances, and stakeholder relationship and priorities. She concluded that while one is more pro-sustainability compared to the other, the availability of resources and future predictions of a company determines their reaction upon imposition of new policies. She also concluded that there are trade-offs – the more a company invests in sustainable energy, the lower emissions, but at higher costs and vice-versa.
With the emerging concept of "livability," the second presentation of the session by Dr. Paulito Nisperos of the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University in the Philippines examined its application to four (4) cities in the Ilocos Region. The study included both subjective and objective realities in looking at livability, using both indicator-based metrics and perception. Results of the study based on eight indicators of livability were matched with recommendations for inclusion in the city policy agenda for the four local government units (LGUs). In general, the author concluded that while the selected cities were able to provide basic services and facilities, the constituents or citizens still feel that the LGUs are lacking in varying degrees in some of the indicators. Indeed, he remarked that changes cannot be done overnight and some issues continue to challenge the goal of these cities to become truly livable LGUs.
Finally, Mr. Koichi Kawai of the Kanazawa University in Japan looked into agency design, an operation determining the degree of independence of an agency from political control. He also made reference to the concept of the New Economics of Organization (NEO), wherein when political parties face a high degree of uncertainty, they have a tendency to create highly independent agencies. The results of his binary logistic regression validated on of his hypothesis that ruling parties’ strength influences an agency independence in Japan, thus he suggested that there is a need to make corrections on the NEO model.