Advocacy coalitions, beliefs and climate change policy in the United States

Anna Kukkonen, Tuomas Ylä-Anttila, Jeffrey Broadbent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


The Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) asserts that disagreement over policy core beliefs divides organizations into competing coalitions. We apply Discourse Network Analysis to 1,410 statements in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA Today to investigate what kinds of beliefs contribute to coalition formation in the climate change policy debate in the news media in the United States. We find that the beliefs concerning the reality of anthropogenic climate change, the importance of ecology over economy and desirability of governmental regulation divide organizations into three advocacy coalitions: the economy, ecology and science coalitions. Policy preferences such as cap and trade do not; they find support across coalition lines. Based on these findings, we suggest that ACF theory could be clarified to better account for how beliefs concerning policy instruments contribute to coalition formation. In some policy domains, policy instruments are where opposing coalitions find agreement. In others, they are more divisive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)713-729
Number of pages17
JournalPublic Administration
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Kone Foundation (Grant No. 085319), the Academy of Finland (Grant No. 085319) and the US National Science Foundation (Grant No. BCS-0827006). We are grateful for the valuable comments of the editors and two anonymous reviewers, Antti Gronow, Mark Stoddart, members of the COMPON research network and the Helsinki Research Group for Political Sociology.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd


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