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Appears in Collections:History and Politics Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Kingdon’s Multiple Streams Approach: What Is the Empirical Impact of this Universal Theory?
Author(s): Cairney, Paul
Jones, Michael
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Keywords: Kingdon
multiple streams analysis
policy theory
Issue Date: Feb-2016
Citation: Cairney P & Jones M (2016) Kingdon’s Multiple Streams Approach: What Is the Empirical Impact of this Universal Theory?, Policy Studies Journal, 44 (1), pp. 37-58.
Abstract: While John Kingdon’s Multiple Streams Approach (MSA) remains a key reference point in thepublic policy literature, few have attempted to assess MSA holistically. To assess its broaderimpact and trends in usage, we combine in-depth analysis of representative studies, withcomprehensive coverage of MSA-inspired articles, to categorize its impact. We find that Kingdon’swork makes two separate contributions. First, it has contributed to the development of“evolutionary” policy theories such as punctuated equilibrium. Second, it has prompted a large,dedicated, and often empirical, literature. However, most MSA empirical applications only engagewith broader policy theory superficially. The two contributions are oddly independent of eachother. We argue that these trends in application are due largely to its intuitive appeal and low“barrier to entry.” Drawing on other policy approaches, we offer suggestions to improve the MSAinspired literature.
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Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Cairney, P. and Jones, M. D. (2016), Kingdon's Multiple Streams Approach: What Is the Empirical Impact of this Universal Theory?. Policy Studies Journal, 44: 37–58. doi: 10.1111/psj.12111, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.

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