Networks that form policy : the case of pension reform
Networks have been widely adopted in political science, particularly in connection with governance and with the process of policy formation. Every study, if it forms part of this universe, bases itself on adopting a network 'world view': all studies start with the assumption that 'there is a network here'. Dispiritingly few go on to explain, justify or discuss the implications of this assumption with reference to the assumption; in contrast this thesis intentionally regresses back to a detailed look at first principles. This thesis develops and presents a new and valuable approach to the formal analysis of networks that form policy. The approach is drawn out of a theoretical consideration of the policy process and examined in the context of existing policy network literature. A test of the usefulness of the approach is made by application to a case. There are therefore two intertwined threads of content built around the topic of pension reform. The formal analysis of a network of actors is presented alongside a 'traditional' case- study approach to the policy-making process for the UK and France. These two analyses contribute to an assessment of the comparative advantages of the two methods. The thesis is constructed with the intention of clearly presenting a new analytical approach that can be adopted by other researchers and ensuring that it is adequately justified so that it will be adopted.