Impact of policy networks in the GATT Uruguay Round : the case of the US-EC agricultural negotiations
This thesis investigates the membership, activities and policy impact of three distinct groups of policy networks operating within and between the agricultural policy environments of the US and EC as well as at the multilateral level during the preparation for and negotiations of the GATT Uruguay Round between 1980 and 1993. Briefly defined, these three groups are: 1) epistemic communities - networks of professionals who share both specialized knowledge and expertise in a specific issue area; 2) advocacy coalitions - policy actors from various levels of the policy process who share common policy beliefs and work together to turn these policy beliefs into government policy; and 3) elite transnational networks - incorporating political leaders, political appointees and senior government and international institutional officials, these elite level networks are formed through regular contact in either an official or unofficial capacity. The contention of this thesis is that various networks of actors within the distinct policy networks of epistemic communities, advocacy coalitions and elite transnational networks contributed significantly to bringing about the reform of agricultural policy that occurred within the EC and the US between 1980 and 1993 allowing for the establishment of consensus on the liberalization of agricultural trade policy at the multilateral level of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade during the Uruguay Round. The hypothesis of this thesis is that these three policy networks varied in their impact according to the specific stage of negotiations due to changing policy needs. I argue that in general: 1) epistemic communities exhibited the most impact during the agenda-setting stage owing in part to their expertise in agricultural trade issues, the existence of a common framework for discussion and their work in creating analytical tools that allowed agricultural liberalization to be politically and economically viable; 2) advocacy coalitions had the most significant role during the second, or policy-making stage, due to their ability to work within the policy environment and shape domestic policy development; and 3) elite transnational networks, due to their ability to provide the necessary political pressure, had the greatest impact in the third, or breakthrough stage.