First- and Second-order Mechanisms in Policy Design
Edited by Giliberto Capano, Michael Howlett, M Ramesh and Altaf Virani
Chapter 2: Policy process research and the causal mechanism movement: reinvigorating the field?
For nearly 20 years, four edited volumes of Theories of the Policy Process (TPP) have reviewed, chronicled, and revised the key frameworks and theories of the policy process. With the growing sophistication and the ever-increasing number of empirical applications of each approach, the volume’s editors have called for policy process scholars to take causality seriously. We argue that the growing interest in causal mechanisms in other areas of political sciences and in social sciences generally may contribute to the next generation of policy process research. A textual analysis of TPP’s 4th edition reveals a ‘lumpiness’ in the use of causality and mechanisms across seven popular approaches: Multiple Streams Framework, the Advocacy Coalition Framework, Punctuated Equilibrium Theory, Institutional Rational Choice, Policy Network Approrach, Policy Feedback Theory, and Narrative Policy Framework.
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