Policy as symbolic statement: International response to national population policies

Deborah Barrett, Amy Ong Tsui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


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 polities 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 polities. 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-234
Number of pages22
JournalSocial Forces
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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