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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-333
Number of pages19
JournalPolicy and Politics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


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

Cite this