Skip to main content Accessibility help

Evaluating the Advocacy Coalition Framework

  • Hank C. Jenkins-Smith (a1) and Paul A. Sabatier (a2)


The Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) was developed to provide a causal theory of the policy process which would serve as one of several alternatives to the familiar stages heuristic, with its recognized limitations. This paper first summarizes the central features of the ACF, including a set of underlying assumptions and specific hypotheses. We next review the implications for the framework of six case studies by various authors dealing with Canadian education and with American transportation, telecommunications, water, environmental, and energy policy. While generally supportive of the ACF, the case studies also suggest several revisions.



Hide All
Aberbach, Joel., Putnam, Robert, and Rockman, Bert (1981). Bureaucrats and Politicians in Western Democracies. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Anderson, James (1979). Public Policy-Making. New York: Praeger.
Anton, Thomas (1989). American Federalism and Public Policy: How the System Works, New York: Random House.
Asmerom, H. K., Hoppe, R., and Jain, R. B., eds. (1992). Bureaucracy and Developmental Policies in the Third World. Amsterdam: VU University Press.
Barke, Richard (1993). ‘Managing Technological Change in Federal Communications Policy: The Role of Industry Advisory Groups’, in Policy Change and Learning, ed. by Sabatier, P. and Jenkins-Smith, H.. Boulder, Co.: Westview Press, pp. 129146.
Barke, Richard and Jenkins-Smith, Hank (1993). ‘Politics and Scientific Expertise: Scientists, Risk Perceptions, and Nuclear Waste Policy Risk Analysis (October):
Barrett, Susan and Fudge, Colin (1981). Policy and Action. London: Methuen.
Berman, Paul (1978). ‘The Study of Micro- and Macro-Implementation’, Public Policy 26: 157184.
Bernstein, Marver (1955). Regulating Business by Independent Commission. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Brown, Harold (1977). Perception, Theory, and Commitment. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Brown, Anthony E. and Stewart, Joseph (1993). ‘Competing Advocacy Coalitions, Policy Evolution, and Airline Deregulation’, in Policy Change and Learning, ed. by Sabatier, P. and Jenkins-Smith, H.. Boulder, Co.: Westview Press, pp. 83104.
Burnham, Walter Dean (1970). Critical Elections and the Mainsprings of American Politics. New York: W. W. Norton.
Castles, Francis G. (1989). ‘Explaining Public Education Expenditure in OECD Countries’, European Journal of Political Research 17: 431438.
Chubb, John and Moe, Terry (1990). Politics, Markets, and America's Schools. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution.
Cobb, Roger, Ross, Jennie Keith, and Ross, Marc H. (1976). ‘Agenda Building as a Comparative Political Process’, American Political Science Review 70 (March): 126—138.
Cohen, Robert. (1992). Washington at Work: Back Rooms and Clean Air. New York: Macmillan.
Converse, Philip (1964). ‘The Nature of Belief Systems in Mass Publics’, in Ideology and Discontent, ed. David, Apter. new York: Free Press.
Cook, B. and Wood, B. Dan (1989). ‘Principal-Agent Models of Political Controls of the Bureaucracy’, American Political Science Review, 83 (September): 965978.
Davies, J. Clarence (1970). The Politics of Pollution. NY: Pegasus.
Davies, Charles and Davis, Sandra (1988). ‘Analyzing Change in Public Lands Policymaking: From Subsystems to Advocacy Coalitions’, Policy Studies Journal 17 (Fall): 324.
Dunleavy, Patrick (1981). The Politics of Mass Housing in Britain: 1945–75. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Eisner, Marc A. and Meier, Kenneth J. (1990). ‘Presidential Control versus Bureaucratic Power: Explaining the Reagan Revolution in Antitrust’, American Journal of Political Science 34 (February): 269287.
Friedson, Eliot (1971). The Professions and Their Prospects. Beverly Hills: Sage.
Gormley, William. (1987). ‘Regulatory Issue Networks in a Federal System’, Polity (Summer): 595620
Gustilo, Tracy and Sabatier, Paul (1992). ‘Who Do Policy Elites Look to for Advice and Information’, Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association,Chicago,Sept. 3–6.
Heclo, Hugh (1974). Social Policy in Britain and Sweden. New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press.
Heclo, Hugh (1977). A Government of Strangers. Washington, D.C.: Brookings.
Heclo, Hugh (1978). ‘Issue Networks in the Executive Establishment’, in The New American Political System, ed. King, A.. Washington DC: American Enterprise Institute.
Heintz, Theodore (1988). ‘Advocacy Coalitions and the OSC Leasing Debate: A Case Study in Policy Evolution’, Policy Sciences 21: 213238.
Hjern, Benny and Porter, David (1981). ‘Implementation Structures: A New Unit of Administrative Analysis’, Organization Studies 2: 211—227.
Hoflerbert, Richard (1974). The Study of Public Policy. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill.
Hogwood, Brian and Peters, B. Guy (1983). Policy Dynamics. New York: St. Martin's.
Hull, Chris and Hjern, Benny (1987). Helping Small Firms Grow. London: Groom Helm.
Hundley, Norris (1992). The Great Thirst. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Ingram, Helen (1978). ‘The Political Ratioality of Innovation: The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1970’, in Approaches to Controlling Air Pollution, ed. Friedlaender, A.. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 1267.
Jenkins-Smith, Hank (1988). ‘Analytical Debates and Policy Learning: Analysis and Change in the Federal Bureaucracy’, Policy Sciences 21: 169212.
Jenkins-Smith, Hank (1990) Democratic Politics and Policy Analysis. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.
Jenkins-Smith, Hank (1991) ‘Alternative Theories of the Policy Process: Reflections on Research Strategy for the Study of Nuclear Waste Policy’, PS: Political Science and Politics 24 (June): 157166.
Jenkins-Smith, Hank and St. Clair, Gilbert (1993). ‘The Politics of Offshore Energy: Empirically Testing the Advocacy Coalition Framework’, in Policy Change and Learning, ed. Sabatier, P. and Jenkins-Smith, H.. Boulder, Co: Westview Press, pp. 149176.
Jones, Charles (1975). Clean Air: The Policies and Politics of Pollution Control. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.
Jones, Charles (1977). An Introduction to the Study of Public Polity, 2nd Ed. Belmont, CA: Wads worth.
Jordan, A. G., and Richardson, J. J. (1983). ‘Policy Communities: British and European StylePolicy Studies Journal, v. 11, (June): 603615.
Kingdon, John (1984). Agendas, Alternatives and Public Policies. Boston: Little Brown & Co.
Kirst, Michael and Jung, Richard (1982). ‘The Utility of a Longitudinal Approach in Assessing Implementation: Title I, ESEA’, in Studying Implementation, ed. Williams, W.. Chatham, N.J.: Chatham House, pp. 119148.
Kiser, Larry and Ostrom, Elinor (1982). ‘The Three Worlds of Action’, in Strategies of Political Inquiry, ed. Ostrom, E.. Beverley Hills, CA: Sage, pp. 179222.
Knott, Jack and Miller, Gary (1987). Reforming Bureaucracy: The Politics of Institutional Choice. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Kuhn, Thomas (1970). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Laffin, Martin (1986). Professionalism and Policy: The Role of Professions in the Central-Local Government Relationship. Aldershot, UK: Gower.
Lakatos, Imre (1978). ‘The Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes’, in Philosophical Papers, Vol. I, ed. Worrall, J. and Currie, G.. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 1101.
Lave, Charles and March, James (1975). An Introduction to Models in the Social Sciences. New York: Harper & Row.
Leichter, Howard (1979). A Comparative Approach to Policy Analysis. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Lester, James and Hamilton, Michael (1988). ‘Intergovernmental Relations and Marine Policy Change: Ocean Dumping and At-Sea Incineration of Hazardous Waste’, in Ocean Resources and U.S. Intergovernmental Relations in the 1980s. Boulder, Co.: Westview Press, pp. 197220.
Lindblom, Charles and Cohen, David (1979). Usable Knowledge. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Liroff, Richard (1986). Reforming Air Pollution Regulation: The Toil and Trouble of EPA's Bubble. Washington, DC: Conservative Foundation.
Lowi, Theodore (1969). The End of Liberalism. New York: W.W. Norton.
Lundqvist, Lennart (1980). The Hare and the Tortoise. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
McCubbins, Mathew and Sullivan, Terry, eds. (1992). Congress: Structure and Policy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Majone, Giandomenico (1980). ‘Policies as Theories’, Omega 8: 151162.
Giandimerid, Majore and Wildavsky, Aaron (1978). ‘Implementation as Evolution’, in Policy Studies Review Annual: 1978, ed, Freeman, H.. Beverly Hills: Sage, pp.
Mawhinney, Hanne (1993). ‘An Advocacy Coalition Approach to Change in Canadian Education’, in Policy Change and Learning, ed. Sabatier, P. and Jenkins-Smith, H.. Boulder, Co: Westview Press, pp. 5982.
Mazmanian, Dan and Sabatier, Paul (1980). ‘A Multivariate Model of Public Policy-Making’, American Journal of Political Science 24 (August): 439468.
Mazmanian, Dan and Sabatier, Paul (1989). Implementation and Public Policy. Lanham, MD: University Press of America. [Reprint of 1983 book published by Scott Foresman and Co.]
Mazur, Alan (1981). The Dynamics of Technical Controversy. Washington, DC: Communications Press.
Meier, Kenneth J. (1985). Regulation: Politics, Bureaucracy and Economics. New York: St Martin's.
Moe, Terry (1980). The Organization of Interests. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Moe, Terry (1984). ‘The New Economics of Organization’, American Journal of Political Science 28 (November): 739777.
Munro, John (1993). ‘California Water Politics: Explaining Policy Change in a Cognitively Polarized Subsystem’, in Policy Change and Learning, ed. Sabatier, P. and Jenkins-Smith, H.. Boulder, Co: Westview Press, pp. 105128.
Nakamura, Robert (1987). The Textbook Policy Process and Implementation Research', Policy Studies Review 1: 142154.
Nelson, Barbara (1984). Making an Issue of Child Abuse. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Ostrom, Elinor (1990). Governing the Commons. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ostrom, Elinor, Schroeder, Larry, and Wynne, Susan (1993). Institutional Incentives and Sustainable Development. Boulder, Co: Westview Press.
Peffley, Mark and Hurwitz, Jon (1985). ‘A Hierarchical Model of Attitude Constraint’, American Journal of Political Science 29 (November): 871890.
Peters, B. Guy (1986). American Public Policy, 2nd ed. Chatham, N.J.: Chatham House.
Pressman, Jeffrey and Wildavsky, Aaron (1973). Implementation. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Primack, Joel and Von Hippel, Frank (1974). Advice and Dissent: Scientists and the Political Arena. New York: Basic Books.
Rhodes, R. A. W. (1988). Beyond Westminster and Whitehall. London: Unwin and Hyman.
Riker, William (1962). The Theory of Political Coalitions. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Rodgers, Harrell and Bullock, Charles (1976). Coercion to Compliance. Lexington, MA: D. C. Heath.
Sabatier, Paul (1986). ‘Top-Down and Bottom-Up Models of Policy Implementation: A Critical Analysis and Suggested Synthesis’, Journal of Public Policy 6 (January): 2148.
Sabatier, Paul (1988). ‘An Advocacy Coalition Framework of Policy Chamge and the Role of Policy-Oriented Learning Therein’, Policy Sciences 21: 129168.
Sabatier, Paul (1991) ‘Toward Better Theories of the Policy Progress’, PS 24 (June): 147156.
Sabatier, Paul and Brasher, Anne (1993). ‘From Vague Consensus to Clearly-Differentiated Coalitions: Environmental Policy at Lake Tahoe, 1964–85’, in Policy Change and Learning, ed. Sabatier, P. and Jenkins-Smith, H.. Boulder, Co: Westview Press, pp. 149176.
Sabatier, Paul and Jenkins-Smith, Hank, eds. (1993). Policy Change and Learning: An Advocacy Coalition Approach. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Sabatier, Paul and Pelkey, Neil (1990). Land Development at Lake Tahoe. David, CA: Institute of Ecology.
Sabatier, Paul and Wertheimer, Ellen (1993). ‘France-Angleterre: Milage comparé’, Études foncières No. 61 (décembre): 2237.
Sabatier, Paul, Hunter, Susan, and McLaughlin, Susan (1987). ‘The Devil Shift: Perceptions and Misperceptions of Opponents’, Western Political Quarterly 41 (September): 449476.
Salisbury, Robert (1969). ‘An Exchange Theory of Interest Groups’, Midwest Journal of Political Science 13: 132.
Salisbury, Robert (1984). ‘Interest Representation: The Dominance of Institutions’, American political Science Review 78 (March): 6476.
Shattschneider, E. E. (1960). The Semi-Sovereign People. New York: Holt, Reinhart and Winston.
Schlager, Edella (1994). ‘Policy Making and Collective Action: Defining Coalitions within the Advocacy Coalition Framework’, Working Paper, School of Public Administration, University of Arizona.
Scholtz, John, Twombly, James, and Headrick, Barbara (1991). ‘Street-Level Political Controls over Federal Bureaucracy’, American Political Science Review 85 (September): 829850.
Sharpe, L. J. (1984). ‘National and Subnational Government and Coordination’, in Guidance, Control and Evaluation in the Public Sector, ed. Kaufman, F, Ostrom, V., and Majone, G.Berlin: de Gruyter.
Stewart, Joseph (1991). ‘Policy Models and Equal Educational Opportunity’, PS 26 (June) 167173.
Van Horn, Carl (1979). Policy Implementation in the Federal System. Lexington, Mass: D. C. Heath.
Van Muijen, Marie-Louise (1993). Better Safe than Provocative. Amsterdam: VU University Press.
Weiss, Carol (1977). ‘Research for Policy's Sake: the Enlightenment Function of Social Research’, Policy Analysis 3 (Fall): 531545.
Weyent, John (1988). ‘Is There Policy-Oriented Learning in the Analysis of Natural Gas Policy Issues’? Policy Sciences 21 (Fall): 239262.
Wood, B. Dan, and Waterman, Richard (1991). ‘The Dynamics of Political Control of the Bureaucracy’, American Political Science Review 85 (September): 801–282.
Wright, Deil (1988). Understanding Intergovernmental Relations. 3rd ed.Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed