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Whither the Funnel of Causality?

  • Matt Wilder (a1)
Abstract

If Richard Simeon's “Studying Public Policy” sought to inspire a theory of policy making, however tentative or crude, its conceptual cornerstone was no doubt the “funnel of causality.” Yet references to the funnel of causality have all but disappeared from the policy literature. This article traces the evolution of the thinking that underlies the funnel of causality with the aim of demonstrating its lasting relevance to policy studies. Being a method for understanding how inputs from various levels of abstraction impact policy outcomes, the interaction and feedback effects implicit in the funnel metaphor have been maintained in subsequent neo-institutionalist work that takes seriously the institutional and sociological environment in which policy making takes place, particularly that which is interested in the origins and operation of policy subsystems, policy communities or networks, and policy regimes.

Si l’étude “Studying Public Policy” de Richard Simeon visait à inspirer une théorie de l’élaboration des politiques, quoique provisoire ou grossière, l'entonnoir de causalité (« the funnel of causality model ») était sans doute son fondement conceptuel. Pourtant toutes les références à l'entonnoir de causalité ont disparu de la littérature politique. Cet article retrace l’évolution de la pensée sous-jacente au modèle de l'entonnoir de causalité dans le but de démontrer sa pertinence constante pour les études sur les politiques. Constituant une méthode permettant de comprendre comment les commentaires à plusieurs niveaux d'abstraction ont une incidence sur l'issue des politiques, l'interaction et les effets de rétroaction implicites dans la métaphore de l'entonnoir se sont maintenus dans les travaux néo-institutionnalistes subséquents qui accordent à l'environnement institutionnel et sociologique dans lequel s'inscrit l’élaboration des politiques sa pleine valeur, notamment celle qui s'intéresse aux origines et à l'exploitation des sous-systèmes politiques, des collectivités/réseaux et des régimes de politiques.

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Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique
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