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Title: Controlling controversial science : biotechnology policy in Britain and the United States (1984-2004)
Author: McManigal, Barney
ISNI:       0000 0004 2747 4046
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis addresses the puzzle of variation in first-generation regulatory policies for controversial science and technology, as demonstrated in the cases of agricultural genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and human embryonic stem cell research in the United Kingdom and the United States. Why did policy outcomes vary in each technology case? This study answers this question by placing greater emphasis on institutional factors. Although works within institutional analysis, bureaucracy and regulation literatures make significant progress in revealing how existing institutions can shape outcomes, how far one can characterize bureaucratic behavior and whether interest groups capture regulation, they nevertheless create an opening for research that: describes a mechanism for path dependence to explain variation in policies; shows the degree to which bureaucratic behaviors can influence outcomes; and, highlights instances in which regulatory officials hold power. This thesis makes an original contribution by providing new historical details relating to these cases, and by providing an extensive elaboration of Pierson’s criteria for increasing returns and a so-called secondary test of path dependence to explain outcomes. The study recounts the biography of key policy documents in each case by tracing the process of decision-making through government and archival sources, secondary literature and more than 40 elite interviews. In doing so, it details the activities of key governmental bodies within the European Union, UK and US. Moreover, it shows how the Coordinated Framework (1986) and Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 framework represented decision-making structures which triggered changes in actors and interests and shaped permissive outcomes for GMOs and stem cell research in the US and UK, respectively. Furthermore, lack of comparable structures may help account for restrictive policies for GMOs in Europe and the UK, and for stem cell research in the US.
Supervisor: Hood, Christopher; King, Desmond Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Political science ; Public policy ; European democracies ; American politics ; biotechnology ; genetically modified organisms ; GMOs ; genetically modified food ; genetic engineering ; genetically engineered food ; stem cell research ; human embryonic stem cell research