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Policy Networks and Advocacy Coalitions: Explaining Policy Change and Stability in UK Industrial Pollution Policy?


  • Adrian Smith

    (SPRU, Science and Technology Policy Research, Mantell Building, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9RF, England)


Policy network analysis (PNA) and the advocacy coalition framework (ACF) are relatively recent additions to the toolbox of policy analysis. The author explores the strengths and limitations of each through comparative application. The two frameworks are used to analyse policy change and stability in the UK industrial pollution sector over a period of more than twenty-five years. Innovations derived from policy-oriented learning generated in the 1970s were initially rejected before being implemented fourteen years later. The case study illustrates the limits of both theories. Change was not an open competition between advocates of different core policy beliefs. Nevertheless the ACF analysis of contrasting, broadly defined, beliefs can help explain some events beyond policy networks. Resource interdependencies in the policy network provide a good explanation for the stabilities exhibited in the case study. PNA can also explain why some actors were excluded from the policy process whereas others exercised decisionmaking and nondecisionmaking power. In combination, the more fundamental agency-oriented and structure-oriented emphases on beliefs and resources associated with the ACF and PNA, respectively, can enrich policy analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Adrian Smith, 2000. "Policy Networks and Advocacy Coalitions: Explaining Policy Change and Stability in UK Industrial Pollution Policy?," Environment and Planning C, , vol. 18(1), pages 95-114, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:envirc:v:18:y:2000:i:1:p:95-114

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    Cited by:

    1. Jacobsson, Staffan & Lauber, Volkmar, 2006. "The politics and policy of energy system transformation--explaining the German diffusion of renewable energy technology," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 256-276, February.
    2. Normann, HÃ¥kon Endresen, 2017. "Policy networks in energy transitions: The cases of carbon capture and storage and offshore wind in Norway," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 80-93.

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