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Historical Development of the National Policy Domains Studies & Comparing Policy Networks Methods David Knoke University of Minnesota COMPON Conference January 25-28, 2007 Collective Action Systems
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National Policy Domains Studies
Comparing Policy Networks Methods David Knoke
University of Minnesota
January 25-28, 2007
Collective action systems – such as legislatures, courts, regulatory agencies – make public policy decisions about numerous proposed laws and regulations.
Organized interest groups hold varying pro- and con- preferences across multiple policy decisions. Coalitions lobby public officials to choose outcomes favorable to coalitional interests. Decision makers may also hold policy preferences, and may change their votes on some events to gain support for preferred decisions.
Models of socially embedded policymaking explore how network ties shape collective decisions through information exchanges, political resource, persuasion, vote-trading (log-rolling), and other dynamic processes.
“Je weniger die Leute davon wissen, wie Würste und Gesetze gemacht werden, desto besser schlafen sie.” Chancellor Otto von Bismarck (1815-98)
[The less people know about how sausages and laws are made, the better they'll sleep.]
Edward O. Laumann & Franz Urban Pappi’s “New Directions in the Study of Community Elites” (1973, 1976) demonstrated how multiple networks connecting the elites of a small German city facilitated and constrained their collective capacity to affect community policies.
Replications in two middle-size Illinois cities revealed that organizations occupying central network positions were more influential in community affairs, more likely to mobilize for action in political controversies, and better able to achieve their preferred outcomes in public policy disputes (Laumann, Marsden and Galaskiewicz 1977; Galaskiewicz 1979).
► Laumann and Marsden (1979) simplified large networks into collective actors, structural positions that are jointly occupied by several organizations with close communication ties and holding identical preferences for a policy event outcome.
► Marsden and Laumann (1977) showed that James Coleman’s mathematical model of collective action could explain the outcomes of five policy controversies in the “Towertown” data. Others (Stokman, Koenig) have extended this model.
► See Knoke (1998) for a brief history of U.S. policy network research.
Policy network analysts seek to explain the formation of state-interest organization networks, their persistence and change over time, and the consequences of network structures for public policy-making outcomes.
Developers included British (Rhodes, Marsh), German (Pappi, Schneider, Mayntz), and American (Laumann, Knoke) political scientists & sociologists
“A policy network is described by its actors, their linkages and its boundary. It includes a relatively stable set of mainly public and private corporate actors. The linkages between the actors serve as channels for communication and for the exchange of information, expertise, trust and other policy resources. The boundary of a given policy network is not in the first place determined by formal institutions but results from a process of mutual recognition dependent on functional relevance and structural embeddedness.”(Kenis and Schneider 1991)
POLICY DOMAIN:“A set of interest group organizations, legislative institutions, and governmental executive agencies that engage in setting agendas, formulating policies, gaining access, advocating positions, organizing collective influence actions, and selecting among proposals to solve delimited substantive policy problems, such as national defense, education, agriculture, or welfare.”
(Laumann and Knoke. 1987. The Organizational State)
The Organizational State (1987) conceptualized a national policy domain’s power structures as multiplex networks among formal organizations, not elite persons. These connections enable opposing coalitions to mobilize political resources in collective fights for influence over specific public policy decisions.
Power structureis revealed in patterns of multiplex networks of information, resource, reputational, and political support among organizations with partially overlapping and opposing policy interests.
Action setis a subset of policy domain orgs that share common policy preferences, pool political resources, and pressure governmental decisionmakers to choose a policy outcome favorable to their interests. After a policy decision, the opposing action sets typically break apart as new events give rise to other constellations of interest orgs.
When its interests are at stake in a Congressional bill or regulatory ruling, a political org can lobby alone or in coalition
Marsh & Smith’s dialectical model depicts policy outcomes as feeding back to change actors and network structures
Policy outcomes may affect networks by:
1. Changing network membership or the balance of resources within it
2. Altering social contexts to weaken particular interests in relation to a given network
3. Causing agents, who learn by experience, to pursue alternative policy influence strategies & actions
The theoretical principles and the empirical data collection and analysis methods developed in The Organizational State were adapted and applied in a study of national labor policy domains in the U.S., Germany, and Japan, Comparing Policy Networks (Knoke, Pappi, Broadbent & Tsujinaka 1996).
They could be used by the COMPON project:
Complete networks require 90%+ response rates
-1.5 0.0 +1.5
SOURCE: Knoke. 2001. Changing Organizations. Westview.
Memberships in action sets for 3 U.S. labor policy domain events revealed overlapping patterns of organizational interests in influencing these policy decisions.
The labor and business coalitions comprise a core set of advocates (AFL vs. Chamber of Commerce) plus event-specific interest organizations, particularly nonlabor allies of unions.
SOURCE: p. 354 in Knoke. 2001. Changing Organizations.
Galaskiewicz, Joseph 1979. Exchange Networks and Community Politics. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
Kenis, Patrick and Volker Schneider. 1991. “Policy Networks and Policy Analysis: Scrutinizing a New Analytical Toolbox.” Pp. 25-62 in Policy Networks: Empirical Evidence and Theoretical Considerations, edited by Bernd Marin and Renate Mayntz. Boulder/Frankfurt: Campus/Westview Press.
Knoke, David. 1998. “The Organizational State: Origins and Prospects.” Research in Political Sociology 8:147-163.
Knoke, David. 2001. Changing Organizations: Business Networks in the New Political Economy. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Knoke, David, Franz Urban Pappi, Jeffrey Broadbent and Yutaka Tsujinaka. 1996. Comparing Policy Networks: Labor Politics in the U.S., Germany, and Japan. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Laumann, Edward O. and David Knoke. 1987. The Organizational State: Social Choice in National Policy Domains. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.
Laumann, Edward O., Peter V. Marsden, and Joseph Galaskiewicz. 1977. “Community Influence Structures: Replication and Extension of a Network Approach.” American Journal of Sociology 31:169‑78.
Laumann, Edward O. and Franz Urban Pappi. 1976. Networks of Collective Action: A Perspective on Community Influence Systems. New York: Academic Press.
Marsh, David and M. Smith. 2000. “Understanding Policy Networks: Towards a Dialectical Approach.” Political Studies 48(4):4-21.