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Policy networks and policy learning: UK economic policy in the 1960s and 1970s

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)771 - 792
Number of pages22
JournalPublic Administration
StatePublished - 2000


Policy networks are advanced as an alternative to the Westminster model of the UK polity but the theory lacks an internal dynamic and has typological problems. This article applies Peter Hall's (1993) concept of 'social learning' to policy networks and maps the networks found in two case studies of British economic policy making: Hall's own study of the shift from Keynesianism to monetarism in the 1970s and the author's research on the advent of 'Keynesian-plus' in the early 1960s. The article advances three main propositions. Firstly, that integrating the concept of social learning can dynamize the policy network model. Secondly, the case studies suggest that different network configurations are associated with different orders of policy change but that Hall's definition of 'third order change' may be too restrictive. Thirdly, policy networks can be much more complex and fluid then is generally claimed, sometimes becoming so extensive that they might be termed a 'meta-network'.

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Publisher: Blackwell Publishing

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