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Policy Analysis of Multi-Actor Systems

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Policy analysts love solving complex problems. Their favorite problems are not just technically complex but also characterized by the presence of many different social actors that hold conflicting interests, objectives, and perceptions and act strategically to get the best out of a problem situation. This book offers guidance for policy analysts who want to assess if and how their analysis could be of help, based on the premise that problem formulation is the cornerstone in addressing complex problems. This book positions policy analysis within the theories on processes of policy making, and focuses on methods and techniques for structuring complex problems. The book takes a systems perspective as its basis, complemented by techniques for analyzing multi-actor systems, and for dealing with an uncertain future. Analytical results are then interpreted and used for problem formulation. In the last part of the book, the resulting problem formulation is used to diagnose meaningful follow-up activities, including potential in-depth policy analysis research. This book is firmly embedded in problem structuring theory, but also shows the tricks of the trade, the assumptions underlying practice, the choices that need to be made, and the dilemmas encountered by the analyst. The authors are involved in teaching problem structuring methods and policy analysis at the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management of Delft University of Technology. Their interdisciplinary approach to problem formulation reflects their multi-disciplinary backgrounds, which range from physics, informatics and land-use planning to public administration and the philosophy of technology. Introduction to Policy Analysis of Multi- Actor Systems 11 1 Introduction 13 1.1 The Challenge of Policy Analysis in Multi-Actor Systems 13 1.2 The Problem Formulation Focus 14 1.2.1 Problem Formulation in Problem Solving 15 1.2.2 Policy Problems: Gaps and Dilemmas 16 1.3 Policy Analysis as a Contribution to Problem Solving 18 1.3.1 Analytical Activities 18 1.3.2 Analytical Styles 20 1.3.3 The Role of the Analyst 21 1.3.4 Positioning This Course Book 22 1.4 Reading Guide 23 References 24 2 Problem Formulation in Complex Environments 25 2.1 Coping with Complexity 25 2.1.1 Technical Dimension of Problems 27 2.1.2 Social Dimension of Problems 28 2.2 Framing Complexity 31 2.2.1 Structured and Unstructured Problems 32 2.2.2 Objective versus Subjective Problems: The Role of Perceptions and Interests 34 2.2.3 The Problem Formulation Battle 36 2.2.4 The Social Construction of Problems 37 2.3 Problem Formulation as Part of a Policy Process 38 2.3.1 Garbage Cans 38 2.3.2 Problem Solving Following the Streams Model 40 2.3.3 Problem Solving in Arenas and Rounds 41 2.3.4 Problem Solving and Advocacy Coalitions 42 2.4 Stepping Stones to Solutions 43 2.5 Problem Formulation as First Step in Policy Analysis 45 References 49 3 Systems Analysis 51 3.1 Introduction to Systems Analysis 51 3.2 Conceptual Framework for Systems Analysis 52 3.2.1 The System Diagram and Its Contents 52 3.2.2 A Note on Terminology 54 3.3 A Method for an Exploratory Systems Analysis 57 3.3.1 Step 1: Problem Demarcation 58 3.3.2 Step 2: Specify Objectives and Criteria 63 3.3.3 Step 3: Identify Means and Map Causal Relations 69 3.3.4 Step 4: Overview of the System and Its Boundaries 73 References 77 4 Actor Analysis 79 4.1 Introduction: Why Actor Analysis? 79 4.2 Conceptual Framework for Actor Analysis 80 4.3 Methods for Actor Analysis 81 4.4 Steps in Actor Analyses 83 4.4.1 Step 1: Use Problem Formulation as Point of Departure 83 4.4.2 Step 2: Make an Inventory of the Actors Involved 85 4.4.3 Step 3: Mapping Formal Relations 89 4.4.4 Step 4: Drafting Problem Formulations of Actors 92 4.4.5 Step 5: Analyze Interdependencies 96 4.4.6 Step 6: Confront the Initial Problem Formulation with the Findings 103 4.5 Limitations of Actor Analysis 104 4.5.1 Trustworthy Sources of Information 104 4.5.2 Actor Analysis Produces a Snapshot Only 105 References 105 5 Exploring the Future 109 5.1 Introduction 109 5.2 Overview of Methods for Exploring the Future 110 5.2.1 Formal Methods 110 5.2.2 Consulting Experts 119 5.2.3 Scenarios 123 5.3 Developing Contextual Scenarios 126 5.4 Example: Scenario Analysis for Examining Civil Aviation Infrastructure Options in the Netherlands 131 5.4.1 Step 1: Determine Key Question 131 5.4.2 Step 2: Determine the Contextual Factors 131 5.4.3 Step 3: Cluster the Contextual Factors into Driving Forces 132 5.4.4 Step 4: Classify the Driving Forces According to Their Impact and Uncertainty 134 5.4.5 Step 5: Design a Scenario Logic 135 5.4.6 Step 6: Detail the Scenario 135 5.4.7 Step 7: Evaluate the Key Question 137 References 137 6 Synthesis of Partial Analyses 139 6.1 Main Steps in the Synthesis of Partial Analyses 139 6.2 Revisiting the System Diagram 140 6.3 Consistency Check 141 Contents 9 6.4 Knowledge Gaps 142 6.5 Reformulating the Problem and Outlining Follow-Up Activities for the Policy Analyst 142 References 144 7 The Research Plan 145 7.1 Introduction 145 7.2 Why? - Knowledge Gaps 147 7.3 What? - Research Questions 148 7.4 How? - Methods and Modeling Approaches 148 7.4.1 Methods and Models for Analysis 148 7.4.2 Data Collection 149 7.5 When? Where? - Planning 150 7.6 Functions and Specifications of Mathematical Models 151 7.6.1 When to Use Mathematical Models 151 7.6.2 From Problem Analysis to Mathematical Models 152 7.6.3 Functional Requirements of Mathematical Models 154 7.6.4 A Number of Relevant Modeling Approaches 156 7.6.5 Choice of Approach and Specification Technique 160 References 162 8 Preparing an Issue Paper 163 8.1 Role of an Issue Paper in Policy Analysis 163 8.2 The Key Elements of Issue Papers 164 8.2.1 The Importance of a Convincing Argumentation 164 8.2.2 Standard Outline for Issue Papers 166 8.3 The Specific Contents of an Issue Paper 167 8.3.1 Introduction: The Problem Owner's Dilemma 167 8.3.2 Problem Analysis 168 8.3.3 Recommendations and Research Plan 169 8.4 Checklist for a Good Issue Paper 170 References 172 Appendix: Developing a Storyline for an Issue Paper 173
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