Building the Reservoir to Nowhere: The Role of Agencies in Advocacy Coalitions

Authors

  • Brian A. Ellison,

    Corresponding author
    1. Appalachian State University
      Brian A. Ellison is a Professor of Political Science at Appalachian State University. His research and teaching interests include environmental politics and policy, natural resources management and intergovernmental relations. He has published articles on these areas of interest in Natural Resources Journal, Policy Studies Journal, Administration and Society, International Journal of Public Administration, State and Local Government Review, Environmental Management, Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Policy Studies Review, Society and Natural Resources, American Review of Public Administration, and Public Administration Review.
      Adam J. Newmark is Associate Professor of Political Science at Appalachian State University. His research and teaching interests include public policy, state and local government, interest groups, and lobbying. He has published in journals including The Journal of Politics, The Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, State Politics and Policy Quarterly, Review of Policy Research, Social Science Quarterly, and Legislative Studies Quarterly.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Adam J. Newmark

    Corresponding author
    1. Appalachian State University
      Brian A. Ellison is a Professor of Political Science at Appalachian State University. His research and teaching interests include environmental politics and policy, natural resources management and intergovernmental relations. He has published articles on these areas of interest in Natural Resources Journal, Policy Studies Journal, Administration and Society, International Journal of Public Administration, State and Local Government Review, Environmental Management, Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Policy Studies Review, Society and Natural Resources, American Review of Public Administration, and Public Administration Review.
      Adam J. Newmark is Associate Professor of Political Science at Appalachian State University. His research and teaching interests include public policy, state and local government, interest groups, and lobbying. He has published in journals including The Journal of Politics, The Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, State Politics and Policy Quarterly, Review of Policy Research, Social Science Quarterly, and Legislative Studies Quarterly.
    Search for more papers by this author

Brian A. Ellison is a Professor of Political Science at Appalachian State University. His research and teaching interests include environmental politics and policy, natural resources management and intergovernmental relations. He has published articles on these areas of interest in Natural Resources Journal, Policy Studies Journal, Administration and Society, International Journal of Public Administration, State and Local Government Review, Environmental Management, Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Policy Studies Review, Society and Natural Resources, American Review of Public Administration, and Public Administration Review.
Adam J. Newmark is Associate Professor of Political Science at Appalachian State University. His research and teaching interests include public policy, state and local government, interest groups, and lobbying. He has published in journals including The Journal of Politics, The Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, State Politics and Policy Quarterly, Review of Policy Research, Social Science Quarterly, and Legislative Studies Quarterly.

Abstract

The purpose of the advocacy coalition framework is to explain policy change over time through an examination of the stability of advocacy coalitions within policy subsystems. Recently, scholars have confirmed that advocacy coalitions are held together by shared belief systems, specifically in distributive policy arenas. We contend that federal agencies, in distributive policy arenas, provide both the anchors and support systems for the development and maintenance of belief systems. This anchoring helps provide adequate resources, access to political institutions, ability to control administrative process, and/or the capacity to deliver public goods and services. We conducted an analysis of the policy changes that occurred during the implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act for the construction of the Bureau of Reclamation's Animas-La Plata project. This is an example where administrators, through the management of information, were able to control the policy process. The analysis provides a needed replication of previous findings regarding policy change and offers new insights into how institutions are critical to subsystem stability over time.

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