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ECPR

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Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

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Advocacy Coalitions as a Political Organization

Tim Heinmiller
Brock University, Canada
Daniel Nohrstedt
Uppsala Universitet

Abstract

The Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) assumes that actors that share similar beliefs coordinate their efforts to influence public policy. However, while the empirical evidence confirms the existence of advocacy coalition in a variety of cases, important questions still linger about the role and status coalitions as a political organization in different settings. Studies traditionally reconstruct coalitions based on belief agreement/disagreement and coordination behavior, yet they rarely undertake a deeper examination of the utility and efficacy of coalitions to policy actors. We therefore still have a limited overview of whether advocacy coalitions primarily provide a useful analytical device, or whether it also have practical importance to policy actors. Here, we ask two questions to address this gap in the ACF scholarship. First, what does the available evidence say about the status of advocacy coalitions in policy processes around the world? By ‘status’, we mean the roles and functions that advocacy coalitions, as a form of political organization, provide to actors. This may include, for instance, coalitions as an organizational base for mobilization toward shared goals. Second, what do we know about the influence that advocacy coalitions has in policy-making? Hereby, this analysis shifts the focus to the impact coalitions have in policy processes, for example, if they collectively influence decision-making, shape policy agendas, and relationships with other coalitions and actors. We explore these questions through a review of a selection of ACF applications from different epochs, world regions, and issue areas. The results will provide an initial overview of the role and status of advocacy coalitions around the world and, hereby, offer suggestions for future research avenues.