Policy Subsystems

A policy subsystem is defined by a substantive issue and geographic scope and composed of a set of stakeholders including officials from all levels of government, representatives from multiple interest groups, and scientists/researchers (Sabatier and Jenkins-Smith, 1999). (Weible, 2005:461)


Second, the principal unit of analysis for studying policy processes is the policy subsystem. Policy subsystems are defined by a topical area, a geographic territory, and the policy actors involved. Policy subsystems can occur at any level of government from local to national and can occur cross-nationally. Policy subsystems are also nested and overlapping and semi-autonomous. They may involve officials from any level of government and non-government policy actors including those from the private sector, non-profits, academia, consulting firms, the news media, engaged citizens, and possibly others.
(Cairney and Weible, 2015:93)

Weible, C. 2005. Beliefs and Perceived Influence in a Natural Resource Conflict: An Advocacy Coalition Approach to Policy Networks. Political Research Quarterly, Vol. 58,  (3), pp. 461-475.

Cairney, P.  and Weible, C. 2015. Comparing and Contrasting Peter Hall’s Paradigms and Ideas with the Advocacy Coalition Framework. In Hogan J. and Howlett, M. (eds)  Policy Paradigms in Theory and Practice: Discourses, Ideas and Anomalies in Public Policy Dynamics. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 83-99.


Within the Advocacy Coalition Framework, that which contains the clash of advocacy coalitions, mediated (maybe) by a policy broker, leading to decisions, policy outputs and policy impacts, which feed in to external system events.

Meanwhile, the carbon dioxide accumulates…


See also mature policy subsystems

Words, ideas, videos

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