Monthly Archives: October 2013

Policy Concepts in 1000 Words: Multiple Streams Analysis

garbage cans streams

(podcast download)

‘Ideas’ are the beliefs we develop and use to understand and interpret the world. Some beliefs are so deeply ingrained in our psyche that we generally take them for granted. Others are more visible – our beliefs about policy problems help us argue for particular solutions. Indeed, ‘policy solution’ is closer to the intuitive meaning of ‘I have an idea’. Kingdon grapples with this dual role for (or meaning of) ‘ideas’ by considering how policy solutions are received within government or wider policy networks. His starting point is the phrase ‘an idea whose time has come’, which implies ‘an irresistible movement that sweeps over our politics and our society, pushing aside everything that might stand in its path’. He argues that such notions are misleading because they ignore the conditions that have to be satisfied – during a brief ‘window of opportunity’ – before a policy will change significantly. Three separate ‘streams’ must come together at the same time:

Problem streamattention lurches to a policy problem. Problems are policy issues which are deemed to require attention. There are no objective indicators to determine which problems deserve attention, and perceptions of problems can change quickly. Problems get attention based on how they are ‘framed’ or defined by participants who compete for attention – using evidence to address uncertainty and persuasion to address ambiguity. In some cases, issues receive attention because of a crisis or change in the scale of the problem. Only a tiny fraction of problems receive policymaker attention. Getting attention is a major achievement which must be acted upon quickly, before attention shifts elsewhere. This might be achieved by demonstrating that a well thought out solution already exists.

Policy streama solution to that problem is available.  While attention lurches quickly from issue to issue, viable solutions involving major policy change take time to develop. Kingdon describes ideas in a ‘policy primeval soup’, evolving as they are proposed by one actor then reconsidered and modified by a large number of participants (who may have to be ‘softened up’ to new ideas). To deal with the disconnect between lurching attention and slow policy development, they develop widely-accepted solutions in anticipation of future problems, then find the right time to exploit or encourage attention to a relevant problem.

Politics streampolicymakers have the motive and opportunity to turn it into policy. They have to pay attention to the problem and be receptive to the proposed solution. They may supplement their own beliefs with their perception of the ‘national mood’ and the feedback they receive from interest groups and political parties. In some cases, only a change of government may be enough to provide that motive.

Kingdon draws on Cohen et al’s ‘garbage can’ model of policymaking in organisations. It contrasts with ‘comprehensively rational’ policymaking in which – in this order – policymakers identify problems (or their aims), bureaucracies perform a comprehensive analysis to produce various solutions (or ways to meet those aims), and policymakers select the best solution. Instead, policymaker aims and policy problems are ambiguous and bureaucrats struggle to research issues and produce viable solutions quickly. Sometimes people wait for the right time to present their ready-made solutions. Sometimes aimless policymakers just want to look busy and decisive. So, Cohen et al suggest that the problem identification, solution production, and choice are ‘relatively independent streams’. The garbage can is where a mix of problems, solutions and choices are dumped.

Kingdon applied this reasoning to the US political system, which magnifies some of these problems: many people, with different perceptions and aims are involved; and, some actors (such as the President) may be effective at raising issues up the public and government agenda but not producing solutions. Since policymakers do not have the time (or longevity) to devote to detailed policy work, they delegate it to civil servants who consult with interest groups, think tanks and other specialists to consider ideas and produce policy solutions. The groups most involved in producing solutions over the long term may struggle to get attention or buy-in from policymakers. Therefore, the likelihood of significant policy change is difficult to predict since it requires sustained and high attention, an acceptable solution and some spirit of compromise in the political system. A perception of infrequency and unpredictability may also influence behaviour: when new, major legislation looks likely to be adopted, there is a deluge of interest and a range of participants keen to jump on an idea’s bandwagon – adding further to the metaphor of the garbage can of ideas and the messy nature of politics.

Kingdon’s work developed from case studies of US federal policymaking. Compared to the ACF and punctuated equilibrium, its insights have been applied less frequently or systematically in other countries. Yet, the potential to compare messy policymaking in the US and EU is there, while Zahariadis has shown the comparative value of multiple streams analysis to identify very different experiences and windows of opportunity in countries such as the UK, France and Germany. In each case, we can identify ‘universal’ elements in the agenda-setting process:

  • Ambiguity (there are many ways to frame any policy problem);
  • Competition for attention (few problems reach the top of the agenda);
  • An imperfect selection process (new information is difficult to gather and subject to manipulation);
  • Limited time (which forces people to make choices before their preferences are clear); and
  • A departure from ‘comprehensive rationality’ and a linear decision-making process – identifying problems, formulating solutions and making a choice.
  • ‘Softening’, as some issues take time to become accepted within government or policy networks.

This is a summary of a section in chapter 12 of this book.

Update 6 Jan 2015: working on a Kingdon paper with a colleague has prompted me to realise that many/ most people take MSA to mean multiple streams approach. I apologise wholeheartedly for the confusion.

Cairney and Jones (2016) ‘Kingdon’s Multiple Streams Approach: What Is the Empirical Impact of this Universal Theory?’ Cairney Jones 2016 MSA PSJ

Cairney Zahariadis multiple streams 2016


Filed under 1000 words, agenda setting, public policy

Policy Concepts in 1000 Words: The Advocacy Coalition Framework


See also What is Policy? and the Policy concepts in 1000 words series

(podcast download)

Sabatier and Jenkins-Smith developed the ACF to describe and explain a complicated policymaking environment which:

  • contains multiple actors and levels of government;
  • produces decisions despite high levels of uncertainty and ambiguity;
  • takes years to turn decisions into outcomes; and,
  • processes policy in very different ways. Some issues involve intensely politicized disputes containing many actors. Others are treated as technical and processed routinely, largely by policy specialists, out of the public spotlight.

The ACF’s key terms are:

Beliefs. People engage in politics to translate their beliefs into action. There are three main types. ‘Core’ are fundamental and unlikely to change (like a ‘religious conversion’) but too broad to guide detailed policy (such as one’s views on human nature). ‘Policy core’ are more specific (such as the proper balance between government and market) but still unlikely to change. ‘Secondary Aspects’ relate to the implementation of policy. They are the most likely to change, as people learn about the effects of, say, regulations versus economic incentives.

Advocacy coalition. A coalition contains, ‘people from a variety of positions (elected and agency officials, interest group leaders, researchers) who share a particular belief system’ and ‘who show a non-trivial degree of coordinated activity over time’.

Policy learning. Coalitions learn from policy implementation. Learning takes place through the lens of deeply held beliefs, producing different interpretations of facts and events in different coalitions. Learning is a political process – coalitions selectively interpret information and use it to exercise power. In some cases, there are commonly accepted ways to measure policy performance.  In others, it is a battle of ideas where coalitions ‘exaggerate the influence and maliciousness of opponents’.  Technical information is often politicised and a dominant coalition can successfully challenge the data supporting policy change for years

Subsystems. Coalitions compete with each other to dominate policymaking in subsystems. Subsystems are issue-specific networks. They are pervasive in government because elected officials devolve policymaking responsibility to bureaucrats who, in turn, consult routinely with participants such as interest groups. While the literature on ‘policy communities’ and ‘monopolies’ describes the potential for insulated relationships between a small number of actors, the ACF identifies many actors in each coalition

Policy broker and sovereign. Subsystems contain actors who mediate between coalitions and make authoritative decisions (although policymakers may be members of coalitions).

Policy change over a ‘decade or more’. We are generally talking about relationships, policies and change over a full ‘policy cycle’.

Enlightenment. Core beliefs are ‘normative’ and ‘largely beyond direct empirical challenge’; unlikely to change during routine policy learning in one cycle. However, they may change over decades.

The subsystem contains generally-routine policymaking, producing relatively minor policy change: coalitions engage in policy learning, adapting the secondary aspects of their beliefs in light of new information. In most cases, learning follows the routine monitoring of implementation, as members consider how policy contributes to positive or unintended outcomes and whether their beliefs are challenged or supported by the evidence (and how it is presented by their competitors).

This process takes place in a wider system that sets the parameters for action, providing each coalition with different constraints and opportunities. It includes:

• factors that are ‘relatively stable’, such as ‘social values’ and the broad ‘constitutional structure’;

• ‘long term coalition opportunity structures’ related to the nature of different political systems (unitary/ federal, concentrated/ divided powers, single/ multi-party, coalition/ minority government) and the ‘degree of consensus needed for major change’

•           ‘external (system) events’ such as socio-economic change, a change in government, or important decisions made in other subsystems.

In rare cases, external events prompt subsystem instability and the potential for rapid, major policy change. Events may set in motion ‘internal’ or ‘external shocks’. An internal shock relates to the effect of major external change on a coalition’s belief system, akin to a crisis of confidence.  The event prompts a coalition to revisit its policy core beliefs, perhaps following a realisation by many of its actors that existing policies have failed monumentally, followed by their departure to a different coalition.  An external shock has the added element of competition – another coalition uses the experience of a major event to reinforce its position within the subsystem, largely by demonstrating that its belief system is best equipped to interpret new information and solve the policy problem. In other words, the external event is not enough to cause an external shock; it also has to be exploited successfully by a competing coalition which is well led, and equipped to learn and adapt – using resources to frame information, exploit public opinion, rally support, (and, in some cases, secure funding)

Externally prompted change may vary, from the election of a new government with beliefs that favour one coalition over another, to a ‘focusing event’ such as an environmental crisis that undermines the ability of a coalition to defend current policy. While many external factors – global recession, environmental crises, demographic changes – appear to solely cause change, coalitions also influence how sovereigns understand, interpret and respond to them. External events provide new resources to some coalitions – it is up to them to exploit the opportunity.

The ACF developed initially from case studies in the US, with a particular focus on environmental policy. It has changed markedly to reflect its application to cases outside the US and in other policy fields (and by new scholars). For example, the discussion of ‘long term coalition opportunity structures’ resulted from applications to European countries with proportional electoral systems and/ or fewer ‘venues’ in which to pursue policy change. The ACF is also revised constantly to reflect the desire of its core team (now driven by Weible and Jenkins-Smith) to clarify/ revise earlier arguments in light of experience. It remains one of the most ambitious policy frameworks which tries to provide an overview of the entire policy process.

For an overview from the horse’s mouth, see here – and a 2011 special issue of the PSJ here (OA first chapter)

For a longer discussion by me, see Cairney on ACF Oxford Classics 11.4.13 Cairney on ACF Oxford Classics 11.4.13 and the ACF chapter in here.

See also

People engage in politics to further their beliefs – but what do they believe?

Scottish Independence and the Devil Shift

Related articles


Filed under 1000 words, agenda setting, public policy

Policy Concepts in 1000 Words: Punctuated Equilibrium Theory

cloud punctuated equilibrium

See also What is Policy? and the Policy concepts in 1000 words series

(podcast download)

Policymaking can appear stable for long periods, only to be destabilised profoundly. Most policies can stay the same for long periods while a small number change quickly and dramatically. Or, policy change in one issue may be minimal for decades, followed by profound change which sets policy on an entirely new direction. The aim of Baumgartner and Jones’ punctuated equilibrium theory is to measure and explain these long periods of policymaking stability, and policy continuity, disrupted by short but intense periods of instability and change. The key concepts are:

Bounded rationality. Policymakers cannot consider all problems and their solutions at all times. For example, government ministers can only pay attention to a tiny proportion of the issues for which they are responsible. They ignore most and promote few to the top of their agenda.

Disproportionate attention. Policymakers often ignore issues or pay them an unusual amount of attention. The lack of attention to most issues helps explain why most policies may not change. Intense periods of attention to some issues may prompt new ways to understand and seek to solve old problems.

Power and agenda setting. Some groups try to maintain their privileged position by minimizing attention to the policy solutions which benefit them. Others seek to expand attention, to encourage new audiences and participants, to generate debate and new action.

Framing. Groups compete to influence how a problem is framed (understood, defined, categorized and measured) and therefore solved by policymakers. For example, it may be framed as a problem that has largely been solved, leaving the technical details of implementation to experts, or a crisis which should generate widespread attention and immediate action.

Policy monopolies. Groups may enjoy a ‘monopoly of understanding’ when policymakers accept their preferred way to frame an issue for long periods, perhaps even taking it for granted. This monopoly may be ‘institutionalised’ when rules are created and resources devoted to solving the policy problem on those terms.

Venue shopping. To challenge a monopoly in one venue (such as the executive, or one type of government at a particular level), groups may seek an audience in another (such as the legislature, the courts, or another type or level of government).

In Agendas and Instability (1993; 2009), Baumgartner and Jones, use a case study approach to examine these processes in detail. For example, in postwar US nuclear power, they identify a period of major public attention, focused on the pressing need to solve a policy problem, followed by minimal attention – for decades – when the problem appeared to be solved. The government inspired public enthusiasm for nuclear power as a solution to several problems – including the need to reduce energy bills, minimise dependence on other countries for oil, reduce air pollution, and boost employment and economic activity. This positive image, and general sense that the policy problem was solved, supported the formation of a post-war policy monopoly involving the experts implementing policy. Public, media and most government attention fell and the details of policy were left to certain (mainly private sector) experts, federal agencies and congressional committees. The monopoly was only challenged in the 1970s following environmental activist and scientific concern about nuclear safety. Groups used this new, negative, portrayal of the nuclear solution to generate concerned interest in new venues, including the courts, congressional committees and, particularly following a major accident at Three Mile Island, the public. The policy monopoly – the way in which nuclear power was framed, and the institutions established to implement policy – was destroyed.  Then, a new, negative, image became dominant for decades – and a post-war policy of power plant expansion was replaced by a moratorium and increased regulation. Only recently has the resurgence of nuclear power become a serious possibility.

In The Politics of Attention (2005), Jones and Baumgartner’s focus shifts to more general observations of selective attention (they highlight over ‘400,000 observations collected as part of the Policy Agendas Project’). Policymakers are unwilling to focus on certain issues for ideological and pragmatic reasons (e.g. some solutions may be too unpopular to consider; there is an established view within government about how to address the issue). They are also unable to pay attention because the focus on one issue means ignoring 99 others. Change may require a critical mass of attention to overcome the conservatism of decision makers and shift their attention from competing problems. If levels of external pressure reach this tipping point, they can cause major and infrequent punctuations rather than smaller and more regular policy changes: the burst in attention and communication becomes self-reinforcing; new approaches are considered; different ‘weights’ are applied to the same types of information; policy is driven ideologically by new actors; and/or the ‘new’ issue sparks off new conflicts between political actors. Information processing is therefore characterized by ‘stasis interrupted by bursts of innovation’ and policy responses are unpredictable and episodic rather than continuous. One key example is the annual budget process which, like many other examples of political activity, does not display a ‘normal distribution’ of cases. Instead, it is characterized by a huge number of minimal changes and a small number of huge changes.

The trend in Baumgartner and Jones’ work has been to move from the specific to the ‘universal’; from some cases in one country to many cases in many countries. Their initial assumption was that many of the processes they observed in case studies resulted from the peculiarities of the US system. Yet, concepts such as bounded rationality, selective attention, policy monopolies and venue shopping should be applicable to all political systems. Punctuated equilibrium theory helps us to balance a focus on the specific and the general. We can use these concepts to generate empirical questions about why the policymakers, institutions and venues of specific political systems prompt particular problems and solutions to be addressed and others to be ignored. We can also use them to identify the same overall patterns – based on a mixture of stasis, stability and continuity disrupted by innovation, instability, and change – in many systems.

To read more, click here to get a Green Access version of chapter 9 of this book discussed here.


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Master in Public Policy (MPP) at the University of Stirling

Here is the extra marketing information to go with this survey. We’ll have a glossy leaflet out there in no time:

A new degree which applies the rigour of academic research to real world policy problems

Why Should You Study for an MPP?

The MPP is an advanced qualification in research and policy analysis. Studying for an MPP allows you to develop the conceptual, analytical and practical skills required to flourish in the policymaking world. It prepares you for a career in the public sector or in sectors that make a contribution to the development or delivery of public policy (such as non-profit or professional bodies).  You can also use it as a springboard for further postgraduate research. The MPP combines core modules in policy and policymaking with a suite of modules in social research and policy-relevant disciplines. If you want to use the degree to focus on research (for example, to pursue a PhD) you can take five modules in applied social research. If you want to pursue an interest in other policy-relevant disciplines, you can combine a focus on policy and research with module options in areas such as law, economics, behavioural science, gender studies, social marketing, energy, environmental and international politics. The programme is designed to meet your specific requirements. The norm in the core modules is small group teaching in weekly seminars – to help produce a group identity and a collegiate approach to your studies.  You complete the course by completing eight taught modules, then producing a dissertation which applies intellectual rigour to a real world policy problem and speaks to a policymaker audience.

Applied Research Opportunities

The MPP gives you the opportunity to apply your research to real world problems. We have excellent links with a range of organisations in the public, third and private sectors. When you begin your course, we will discuss how you want to make use of them. If you seek as many practitioner links as possible, we will explore how to apply your studies and coursework to a range of problems identified by those organisations – and arrange, in negotiations with organisations, how best to use your developing skills. You may also be taking the MPP to pursue a more ‘traditional’ academic path, with the knowledge that academic ‘impact’ is a key part of a postgraduate degree. We will discuss how best to balance the theoretical, empirical and practical aspects of your study.

Programme Overview

The programme (of 180 credits) combines core modules on policy theory and practice with a suite of modules in social research and policy-relevant disciplines. The norm is to maintain a meaningful level of contact between students engaged in the MPP and a small cohort of staff (teaching core and common ASR modules), but with the flexibility to take your own path. Core modules are delivered on the same day and there is a high degree of flexibility over optional modules to allow both full-time and part-time students to work around other commitments.

Core modules (45 credits) focus on multi-level policymaking, identifying the responsibilities and policies of local, devolved, national and international decision-makers. We identify the concepts, models and theories used to study policy and policymaking. We compare theories in political science with a range of policy-relevant disciplines (including economics, communication, psychology, management and social marketing). We combine theory and practice by inviting a range of policy actors to give guest seminars as an integral part of the core modules.

Research modules. You can choose up to five 15-credit modules in applied social research (ASR), including qualitative and quantitative analysis, research design and the philosophy of science. If appropriate, you can also choose to replace some ASR modules with research methods modules in your chosen subject – such as the MSc Gender Studies module ‘Feminist Research’ which is a prerequisite for its Research Placement module.

Policy relevant modules. You can choose two 15-credit modules in law, economics, behavioural science, social marketing, gender studies, energy, environmental or international politics.

Dissertation. You complete the course by producing a 60-credit dissertation (around 10000 words) which applies intellectual rigour to a real world policy problem. You will have the option to pursue a placement with a relevant organisation to allow you to tailor your research to a policymaker or policy influencer audience.

Staff: The Director for the MPP is Paul Cairney, Professor of Politics and Public Policy in the Division of History and Politics, School of Arts and Humanities. Paul will deliver the majority of the core module content and oversee the completion of your dissertation (and, if appropriate, as the first supervisor). He will work closely with Richard Simmons, the director of the School of Arts and Social Science’s applied social research programme.

Five reasons why you should choose the MPP at Stirling

1.You will be taught by experienced and committed staff, teaching in a field they are passionate about. All contributing staff are engaged in research at the forefront of their disciplines, including Professor Cairney, who is currently funded by the ESRC to research the Scottish Government’s policymaking capacity.

2. You will develop a range of research skills that enhance further study and employability.

3. You will engage with debates from a wide variety of different disciplines.

4. You will have the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills in real world settings.

5. You will enjoy studying on one of the most beautiful campuses in Europe.

Fees and Funding

Details of tuition fees can be found at: A variety of scholarships and bursaries may be available in any given year, including scholarships in the School of Arts and Humanities. You can find out more about possible sources of funding here:

Entrance Requirements

Normally an upper second class Honours degree, or equivalent qualification from a university recognised by the University of Stirling. Degrees can be in any relevant discipline. If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of proficiency such as a minimum IELTS score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in any individual test.

To find out more about this programme please contact:

Professor Paul Cairney (Director)

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Conceptual ‘brand-stretching’ and the Policy Agendas Project

Darren Halpin and I are working on a paper about ‘brand stretching’ (his phrase) in policy studies. It might begin like this:

“Baumgartner and Jones’ (1993) Agendas and Instability has become one of the most influential accounts of the policy process. They explain, in a convincing way, why stable political arrangements and policy continuity may be disrupted by often-sudden instability and potentially profound policy change.  The book provides a rich study, of policymaking over several decades, to illustrate these mechanisms at work. While it contains case studies in US politics, many of the concepts it uses, and processes it identifies (such as ‘venue shopping’ and ‘framing’) can be described as ‘universal’; applicable to many (if not most) cases in the US and other countries.  Indeed, Jones and Baumgartner’s (2005) Politics of Attention takes us in that direction by identifying the ‘general punctuation hypothesis’ and applying it to aggregate budget and legislative data. The US political system as a whole demonstrates these long periods of stasis and bursts of activity, producing a large number of minor policy changes and small number of major changes. Crucially, this quantitative exercise is theory driven and consistent with the original argument. It allows us to identify, systematically, these important policymaking patterns and explain why they occur. When driven by the original authors, the research agenda is clear and consistent and has stood the test of time.

However, the Policy Agendas Project has also become a multi-country, multi-author, comparative research program. Other authors examining over fifteen countries such as the US, UK, Denmark, Korea and Australia, are engaged in a comparative effort to understand the dynamics of policy change and stability.  This expansion presents two major challenges. First, international brand expansion needs go hand in hand with coordination. The PAP is one of many comparative theories which originated from US studies of the US. A key question for scholars studying the political systems of other countries is: do their insights travel well?  To answer the question, we need to know which aspects of US-based theories are derived from particular aspects of the US political system and which are ‘universal’ processes, concepts or causal factors broadly applicable to many systems.  For example, ‘bounded rationality’ (Simon, 1976) limits the extent to which all policymakers can pay attention to issues – so they must ignore most while promoting a small number to the top of their agenda – while the processes, institutions and histories of specific political systems help explain how and why some issues are addressed and others ignored.  The task for comparative policy scholars is to explore the extent to which we can separate, analytically, the universal from the specific elements and compare their effects on policy processes and outcomes.  This requires a common language which is precise and clear enough to help us produce separate studies and compare them in a meaningful way.

Second, however, that coordination and common language may not always exist. While Jones and Baumgartner often play an important part in the coordination and direction of country-level studies, they also play a less direct role in the gathering, interpretation and presentation of the data. New approaches and research questions have developed, and the project appears to have taken on a life of its own. On the one hand, this is a good development – more people with their own ideas produce the potential for theoretical and empirical innovation. On the other, it produces the potential for confusion, as people start to use the original terms in different ways and/ or use ‘policy agendas’ as an umbrella term under which to pursue their own pet projects (often through separate conferences, internal codebooks, and bespoke terminology and forms of analysis). We use the phrase ‘brand-stretching’ to describe instances where the attractiveness of an original idea is used to support scholarship that, in many respects, shows increasingly tenuous links with the original.

What characterises the comparative project is the large scale collection of quantitative data sets that map the way institutions and actors – including the media, legislatures, administrative systems, and the public – prioritise attention to policy issues. Armed with code books that systematise and categorise policy areas, scholars have coded numerous aspects of policy activity in many countries. From a methodological and data perspective, the project seems to stand in stark contrast with the originating idea. In particular, we identify a tendency for quantitative data to be gathered without the same theory-driven approach. New authors may identify interesting patterns of behaviour or outcomes without demonstrating the same understanding of the policy process and what causes these outcomes. They may introduce the research and data without even showing a working knowledge of the original punctuated equilibrium concepts. In this context, we identify the potential for new work in comparative politics to undermine existing work in policy studies.  For example, a comparative politics study may be set up on the assumption that the primary source of variation is by country rather than by policy area or issue.

Brand-stretching is not specific to the policy agendas project. Rather, it is a general unintended consequence of major theories ‘catching fire’ and (a) attracting the attention of a large group of scholars (b) in multiple countries, or (c) seeking to apply the same concept to many countries. For example, Poteete et al’s (2010) Working Together considers how to coordinate multiple research projects on the Institutional Analysis and Development framework (IAD), and Weible et al’s (2009) ‘Taking Stock’ considers how the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) has changed after its application in over 80 studies.

We use this comparative theory-expansion experience to perform a similar ‘stock taking’ exercise for the comparative agendas project (CAP). First, we summarise the Baumgartner and Jones policy agendas project (PAP), identifying its main features: focus, concepts, methods, and findings. Second, we summarise the CAP and compare it to the original, considering the extent to which the original brand has been stretched. Third, we identify the main ways in which other theory/ project leaders have dealt with the potential for brand stretching – and apply these insights to the CAP”.

Hopefully it reads as a positive-but-concerned discussion – as a way to help protect the classics. Poteete et al provide a much more extensive discussion of this issue when discussing the management of the IAD.


Filed under agenda setting, public policy

10 Reasons Why You Should Vote For/ Against Scottish Independence





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October 25, 2013 · 1:38 pm

After the War on Tobacco, Is a War on Alcohol Brewing?*

The United Kingdom now has one of the most comprehensive tobacco control policies in the world, a far cry from its status two decades ago. Some influential public health voices have called for a similar campaign against alcohol consumption. But is the comparison appropriate? We identify the factors which were important in the relatively successful campaign for tobacco control, then analyse the obstacles and opportunities facing the movement for more stringent alcohol control. Alcohol policy today bears a striking resemblance to tobacco policy pre-1990s, when the UK started on its path to becoming a major regulatory state in the world. Can alcohol policy be changed in a similar way?

Paper here  Cairney Studlar 2014 WMHP Alcohol and Tobacco Policy UK

See also –

See also:

*We submitted the paper to a US journal, where this framing is more normal. The idea of a public health crusade is also in good currency in some libertarian circles.


Filed under agenda setting, alcohol, alcohol policy, Evidence Based Policymaking (EBPM), Public health, tobacco, tobacco policy, UK politics and policy