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Top-Down and Bottom-Up Approaches to Implementation Research: a Critical Analysis and Suggested Synthesis

  • Paul A. Sabatier (a1)

This paper first reviews the implementation literature of the past fifteen years, with particular emphasis on the relative strengths and weaknesses of the ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ approaches. It also argues that the 4–6 year time-frame used in most implementation research misses many critical features of public policy-making. The paper then outlines a conceptual framework for examining policy change over a 10–20 year period which combines the best features of the ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ approaches with insights from other literatures.

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Journal of Public Policy
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