Widespread policy disruption and interest mobilization

  • May P
  • Sapotichne J
  • Workman S
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We consider the involvement of different interests in policymaking following disruptions that affect the agendas of multiple subsystems. The policy process literature suggests that increased policy uncertainty and jurisdictional ambiguity could lead to substantial upheavals in interest involvement. We address these possibilities in studying the mobilization of different interests after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, for eight disrupted policy subsystems. Contrary to expectations derived from the literature, we find limited evidence of interest upheaval or cross-subsystem spillovers in interest involvement. We suggest this is because policymakers sought to reduce policy uncertainty by calling upon those interests that were best equipped to help craft and implement policy solutions. These findings point to the stabilizing influence of policy subsystems in buffering against the effects of widespread disruptions.

Author-supplied keywords

  • 9/11
  • Interest mobilization
  • Policy disruptions
  • Subsystems
  • Terrorism

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