Theories of the Policy Process

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2007-01-22
  • Publisher: Westview Pr
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The process of public policymaking is normally very complex, involving hundreds of actors from interest groups, governmental institutions, political parties, journalists, and the research community who have different goals, perceptions of the situation, and policy preferences. In any given policy domain, such as health care, there are normally dozens of programs involving multiple levels of government. Given this complexity, the analyst must find some way of simplifying the situation in order to have any chance of understanding it. This normally involves the development of a theoretical framework that identifies which factors and relationships are critical and which can be ignored. Theories of the Policy Process provides a forum for the proponents of several of the most promising and widely used theoretical frameworks to present the basic propositions of their frameworks, to assess the empirical evidence that has developed, and to discuss promising directions for future research. The first edition contained analyses of Institutional Rational Choice (Ostrom), Multiple Streams (Zahariadis), Punctuated Equilibrium (Jones et al.) Advocacy Coalition Framework (Sabatier and Weible), and Policy Diffusion (Berry & Berry). The second edition revises these and adds new chapters on Social Construction and Policy Design (Schneider et al.) and Policy Networks (Adam and Kriesi). It also contains a much more serious analysis of that European literature relevant to each of the frameworks. Finally, the new edition contains a revised chapter by Edella Schlager presenting a comparative analysis and evaluation of the relevant frameworks and a concluding chapter by the editor suggesting a number of strategies for improving the state of theorizing in this field. Book jacket.

Author Biography

Paul A. Sabatier is political scientist and professor of environmental studies at the University of California, Davis.

Table of Contents

The Need for Better Theoriesp. 3
Alternative Views of the Role of Rationality in the Policy Process
Institutional Rational Choice: An Assessment of the Institutional Analysis and Development Frameworkp. 21
The Multiple Streams Framework: Structure, Limitations, Prospectsp. 65
Social Construction and Policy Designp. 93
Policy Networks and Subsystems: Change Over Time
The Network Approachp. 129
Punctuated-Equilibrium Theory: Explaining Stability and Change in Public Policymakingp. 155
The Advocacy Coalition Framework: Innovations and Clarificationsp. 189
Frameworks Comparing Policies Across a Large Number of Political Systems
Innovation and Diffusion Models in Policy Researchp. 223
The Policy Process and Large-N Comparative Studiesp. 261
A Comparison of Frameworks, Theories, and Models of Policy Processesp. 293
Fostering the Development of Policy Theoryp. 321
Indexp. 337
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