Advocacy Coalition Learning. Biases and Heuristics in Policy Implementation

Hans Knutsson


Policy implementation is a complex process and the theoretical problem has been approached in different ways for a long time. Perspectives have converged around governance, negotiation and adaptation and the learning perspective is increasingly acknowledged. This paper explores how policy implementation may be understood from a learning perspective, affected by universal tendencies for humans to draw biased conclusions from specific events. The Advocacy Coalition Framework is used as a point of reference when applying concepts of learning and decisionmaking biases and heuristics. From a set of three separate events of a continuous implementation of the 1994 LSS Act (The Act Concerning Support and Service for Persons with Certain Functional Impairments), empirical illustrations are forwarded based on both primary and secondary data sources. The paper contributes to the field of policy implementation, first of all, with authentic empirical representations of policy implementation as a learning process. Second, the paper supports the ACF learning tenets about the importance of actors, forums, conflicts, and stimuli. Thirdly, it indicates that ignoring the inherent human tendencies of biased decision-making may leave explanations and understanding of policy implementation incomplete.



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