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Title: Public policy making in the transition economies of the Western Balkans : The role of policy actors and coalitions
Author: Thomas, Margo Tessa
ISNI:       0000 0004 2688 2961
Awarding Body: The University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2010
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In the rapidly globalizing world with increasingly democratic systems of government, public policies are being developed to address the challenges of achieving and maintaining political stability while promoting economic growth to assure national security, the social and economic well being of citizens and sustainable environments for future generations. However, as noted by some thinkers, the process of making policies to achieve these fundamental goals constitutes a series of informal and formal bargains negotiated among political actors and policy elites as constituencies and coalitions to support policy reforms are constantly evolving. The objectives of this thesis are to examine the factors driving public policy choice and implementation, focusing on the role of policy makers, in order to better understand policy making in developing and transition economies and to contribute to the strengthening of policy making to these economies. In broad terms the research looks at the role of the state and the policy maker in a state-centred approach to governance and policy making. In particular, the research applies the stages heuristic and theoretical adaptation of the Advocacy coalition framework to examine specific instances of public policy making in the economies in the Western Balkans. The research applies a mixed-methods research approach including a survey of policy makers and case studies of specific reform episodes related to economic growth and the enabling environment for private capital as an important pillar for economic growth. The findings of the research supports the conclusion of Grindle and Thomas (1991) that policy elites are critical in shaping reform agendas and since they play critical roles in defining not only the content of policies but also the timing and pace of reform and the ultimate implementation of the reforms by managing the political economy and marshaling resources for implementation. The research supports Sabatier's view (1991) that the opinions of policy elites matter in public policy making. Therefore the analysis should focus on policy elites and the factors that affect their core beliefs over time. In the case of the Western Balkans, the policy inputs from the relatively weak private sector and the poorly-resourced civil society, combined with the legacy of a communist, state-controlled approach to top-down, autocratic policy making provides the basis for supporting the finding that policy networks, consistent with the definition of Rhodes (2007) among others, apparently do not exist in these transition economies of the Western Balkans. However, it is clear that formal and informal coalitions exist in the Western Balkan. They are formed to respond to particular policy issues and depending on the specific sector these policy coalitions may be more robust or better resourced. More research is necessary to understand the informal interests and coalitions that operate on the political level. Finally, the study concludes that policy making occurs in a highly political environment that is critical for effective policy making and successful policy reform in developing and transition economies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available