A New Way to Compare Horizontal Connections of Policy Sectors: 'Coupling' of Actors, Institutions and Policies
Forthcoming, Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice
30 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2015 Last revised: 8 Jul 2016
Date Written: June 2016
This paper proposes an innovative framework to compare the coordination of policy sectors in an encompassing way. Building on recent contributions to the literature, this paper proposes a typology to analyze the coordination of policy sectors from a comparative perspective. For this end, the paper adapts the concept of coupling by Karl Weick to the comparative analysis of public policies, particularly to horizontal relations of policy sectors. The paper argues that it is possible to distinguish four forms of sectoral coupling: Tight coupling, loose coupling, de-coupling and non-coupling. In order to demonstrate the usefulness of this typology for empirical research, the paper applies coupling to analyze the relations of the health care and public health sectors. To conclude, the paper discusses the possibilities and limits of the typology, and suggests other examples the approach could be transferred to.
Keywords: Comparative policy analysis, coupling, policy sectors, health care, public health
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