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Policy windows and multiple streams: An analysis of alcohol pricing policy in England

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Publication details

JournalPolicy and Politics
DateAccepted/In press - 14 Oct 2019
DatePublished (current) - 1 Apr 2020
Issue number2
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)315-333
Original languageEnglish


This article adopts a multiple streams approach to examine the failure to implement minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol in England. It demonstrates that the multiple streams model provides a valuable conceptual tool for explaining how and why policies are, and are not, enacted. However, it finds that while problem streams and policy streams are useful heuristic devices, in practice they may overlap and be mutually constitutive. The case of MUP also highlights the potential for policy spillover between jurisdictions and different policy contexts, showing both limits to, and the complex nature of, these processes. It shows the need for high level political commitment in order to implement controversial policies, even when they are backed by strong supporting evidence. Furthermore, it highlights the importance of civil society actors not just in bringing policy issues onto the agenda, but in supporting governments in adopting measures to address them.

    Research areas

  • Alcohol policy, Industry actors, Minimum unit pricing, Multi-level governance, Multiple streams approach, Policy divergence, Policy entrepreneurs, Policy windows, Public health

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