Policy Networks Summaries

Cooptation or Transformation? Local Policy Networks and Federal Regulatory Enforcement

Strategy enthusiasts have tried to challenge the national supervisory policies of the United States. The uproar comes at a time that federal and state laws encourage all government agencies to work together. The issue has elicited debate because some people support decentralization while others are against it. John Scholz and Cheng-Lung Wang research to establish the effects of the comprehensive decentralized approach on the centralized one. Similarly, they supervise an empirical study to find out whether local policy networks could help to unite the national and local governing agencies.

The empirical study focuses on two major sections of supervisory performance. Primarily, the authors integrate the variables in the local policy system to test the hypothesis of revolution and cooptation. Additionally, they use the available data to exploit the exposure- controlled estimation process. According to the authors, the results suggest that local networks could help to unite governing agencies because of the part they play in shaping agreement outcomes and regulatory outputs (Scholz and Wang, 2006). Likewise, the results indicate that local organizations create policies that coincide with the objectives of the national agency. Consequently, the similarity between the goals of both agencies reduces violations and escalates inspections, despite the political environment. The article further confirms that the results coincide with the hypothesis, which suggests that a rational local policy system helps to solve the essential strategy complications.

The article demonstrates that local institutions affect the way state and national governments operate. According to Scholz and Wang (2006), the research shows that the actions of local organizations alter the relationship with other agencies such as the federal administration. Similarly, they argue that the agencies have decided to work together to form a unified front that solves local complications such as water policy issues. They also maintain that an organized local administration could manage the natural resources available efficiently. Operational governance is an essential element of any organized society. The authors have demonstrated that local networks could help to improve the country’s leadership. Likewise, local governments could collaborate with state and national agencies to strengthen the management of natural resources like water. Indeed, local networks could work together with the federal government to run the country successfully.


Building Consensual Institutions: Networks and the National Estuary Program

A significant number of policy spheres have organizational and political jurisdictions that cannot solve urgent developing complications. The statement applies to most environmental policies because the physical borders of air sheds and watersheds cross local organizational and partisan boundaries. As a result, networks create more formal cooperation mechanisms to deal with boundary control conflicts. The study concentrates on the development of ascendancy networks in an environmental domain of estuaries. The authors contend that networks could solve the recent conflict between the control of natural resources and watersheds. However, they are scarce because they have a high cost of generation and retention compared to the benefits that they bring to community policies. The authors use an empirical study that associates networks in estuaries that are part of the National Estuary Program (NEP) with those that are not.

Schneider et al. employ several methodical stages to assess the hypothesis about the dissimilarity in NEP and non-NEP estuaries. Firstly, they scrutinize the total configurations of contacts with inlets, administrations, and clans. Additionally, the authors examine the estuaries and determine the boundary-extension traits of groups in each of them (Schneider et al., n.d.). They plan to determine the number of clans that extend to several boundaries. Finally, the authors intend to compare the efficiency of estuary guidelines and network connections with the beliefs of investors.

The findings confirm the hypothesis that NEP facilitates the establishment of more networks. Similarly, the authors ratify that NEP clans are more comfortable to extend between jurisdictions than the non-NEP ones. The NEP clans also incorporate more professionals into the estuary world and have many environmental concerns (Schneider et al., n.d.). Additionally, they assert that national projects such as NEP could eradicate mutual action complications if they get adequate funds. Schneider et al. also claim that the development customs of collaboration due to recurrent communications can nurture joint action in strategy communities even in the manifestation of inconsistent ideas. They conclude that NEP is an ideal strategy to establish new systems of regional administration because it is widespread. They also agree that the study complements others that explore the hostile effects of consolidated administrations on local establishments. However, the authors believe that further studies should analyze the control of networks on agency results and policy yields in local systems.


Networks in Public Administration Scholarship: Understanding Where We Are and Where We Need to Go

Over the past two decades, many academics have studied systems in different professional fields. However, the articles concentrated on specific areas that affected the researchers.  Isett et al. focus on the difficulties that scholars face when they study the networks in public administration. Likewise, the article scrutinizes historical research and practices that have influenced the current literature about systems. The authors consider several main challenges in the study of networks namely, theoretical concerns, information about formal and informal networks, and procedural issues.

According to the article, the main theoretical concerns in network studies are descriptions, an element of analysis and terminology.

Isett et al. maintain that the word “network” has three primary definitions that occur in most literature. Firstly, scholars use it commonly as a consolidating impression or a metaphor. Secondly, scholars use the word to represent the methods that use networks (Isett et al., 2011). Thirdly, it enables people to learn more about the concept of public service delivery. Additionally, the authors claim that studies should clarify whether a unit of analysis is an independent cluster or a network substructure. Similarly, when it comes to terminology, academics agree that networks perform a collaborative function.

The article also examines the formal and informal networks and procedural issues. Isett et al. assert that formal networks are controllable because they are steady; therefore, it instills trust among members (2011). They agree that insufficient formal networks affect the administration of some areas.  On the other hand, informal systems are essential for service distribution, problem-solving, and capacity building. The authors also suggest that the networks could formalize eventually and those interactive dynamics facilitate the understanding of informal networks.

The study concludes with four significant issues that future studies should consider. Firstly, the authors note that other disciplines of study are ahead of them in the research of networks. They admit that the department needs to explore more literature to understand how networks affect the community. Isett et al. also encourage academics to collaborate with sectors that are more technical because they use sophisticated approaches to improve research techniques (2011). Additionally, the industry should complete studies that deal with networks. The authors assert that it is essential for researchers to compare literature about the topic and note the consistent and inconsistent points. They then argue that public administration would improve if practitioners in the field meet with scholars.


Persistent Policy Pathways: Inferring Diffusion Networks in the American States

Most governments copy each other whenever they make new policies or improve on the existing ones. Many types of research illustrate how policy diffusion occurs across local and international borders.  Federalism is the main factor that facilitates the process because it encourages affiliate administrations to learn from each other. Some of the policies that circulate in many republics are trade liberalization and money. Likewise, America is among the many nations that allow policy diffusion because of the competitive and accommodating nature of its states.

Strategy diffusion is a dyadic method in America because its states embrace policies from one another. Therefore, the process suggests that a tactic diffusion network links the states. Desmarais, Harden, and Boehmke (2014) use a sample of 187 policies to apply logarithms that could surmise the network according to the prominent diffusion arrays. They also hope to achieve three significant milestones in the research. Firstly, the authors intend to explore the structure of an inferred circulation system.  Secondly, they expect to illustrate how the system could develop numerical models of state strategy implementation. Thirdly, they also plan to create conditional diffusion passageways to test the theories that support policy networks in states.

The article mentions several results that the authors gathered from the research. According to Desmarais et al., most diffusion ties occur in neighboring states (2014). The result is contrary to most articles about policy diffusion. Likewise, the authors confirm that states that adopt policies from others are likely to do the same in the future. The result is viable because the authors included a new variable for source adoption to improve the model. The authors also claim that the variable helped the model to have an equal effect as the adoption model in neighboring states. Thirdly, the results in the author’s model explain the connections in inferred systems that exist in many theories about diffusion (Desmarais, 2014). Likewise, the authors maintain that the main factors that affect the network are pairwise correspondence and interior capacity. They also agree that states with additional resources have more peers than others. However, states are likely to share policies if they have comparable partisan and demographic features.





Desmarais, Bruce A., Jeffrey J. Harden, and Frederick Boehmke. 2015. “Persistent Policy Pathways” Inferring Diffusion Networks in the American States.” American Political Science Review 109, 2:392-406.

Isett, K.R., I.A. Mergel, K. LeRoux, P.A. Miscben and R.K. Rethemeyer. 2011. “Networks in Public Administration Scholarship: Understanding Where We Are and Where We Need to Go.” Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 21 (Supplement 1): 57-73

Schneider Mark et al. “Building Consensual Institutions: Networks and the National Estuary Program.” American Journal of Political Science 47, 1: 143-158.

Scholz, John and Cheng-Lung Wang. 2006. “Cooptation or Transformation? Local Policy Networks and Federal Regulatory Enforcement.” American Journal of Political Science 50, 1: 81-97.