The Role of Institutional Structures, Interest Groups, and Framing in Explaining Occupational Road Safety Policy in the European Union and Member States: An Application of the Advocacy Coalition Framework and Multi-level Governance
Date of Graduation
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Donley T. Studlar.
In addition to being a leading cause of death in the general population, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of occupational fatalities in most high-income countries and regions, including the European Union (EU). The primary aims of this research were to: (1) assess the development of occupational road safety policy in the EU through the lens of the policy literature, focusing on the advocacy coalition framework (ACF) as a model of policy change, the role of interest groups, and multi-level governance (MLG); and (2) use the United Kingdom (UK), Sweden, and France as EU case studies to illustrate the contributions of EU-member state interactions vs. initiatives at the state level, with emphasis on transposition of relevant EU directives into state-level law. Assessment of the transposition of EU directives was guided by the findings of Falkner et al. (2005), which characterized transpositions of a number of employment directives as belonging to a "world of domestic politics" for the UK, a "world of law observance" for Sweden, and a "world of neglect" for France. The primary argument is that in the EU member states, the entrance of occupational road safety onto the policy agenda and the subsequent policies and regulatory regimes can be explained by institutional features and interest-group structures, mediated by prevailing policy ideas at domestic level. The methodology is largely qualitative. Primary sources of data are regulations, policy documents, guidance documents, the scholarly literature, and interviews with key informants.;Policy for occupational road safety remains essentially a domestic matter for the three EU member states. How it is managed in each of the three member states discussed here depends in part whether it is couched as a transport safety issue tied to business or industrial policy, as in the UK, or as a social welfare issue tied more closely to OSH policy, as in France and Sweden.;For this policy area, France is seen as more accurately placed in the "world of domestic politics" than in the "world of neglect." Here, it is statist France, not corporatist Sweden, that turns out to be the more corporatist of the two, and this may be attributed to the placement of occupational injury prevention functions within the social security agencies, where a corporatist approach is well-established. Another factor may be formal tripartite consultative mechanisms and collective bargaining for the road transport industry, which appear to be sector-specific exceptions to the conventional characterization of France as lacking corporatist institutions.;Sweden retains its corporatist tradition by allowing interest groups a formal role in the legislative process, but accords them surprisingly limited entree to discussions about implementation. There is little evidence to support Sweden's placement anywhere but in the "world of law observance" with respect to its transposition of relevant EU directives. However, despite its overall high level of compliance with EU directives, Sweden took advantage of derogation opportunities to accommodate a state-level tradition of resolving certain issues through collective bargaining.;The UK's transposition of EU directives and its overall handling of occupational road safety policy support its placement in the "world of domestic politics." British transpositions of EU directives related to occupational road safety were found to be generally accurate, but were tempered by elements drawn from existing state-level legislation that do not hold employers to ensuring worker safety at all costs. The UK benefits from active epistemic communities, but its governance of occupational road safety lives up to expectations that risk management by employers will be framed as a business matter, not a social welfare issue.;For this particular policy area and for the three member states, the ACF provides a more complete account than does MLG. As described by Sabatier and colleagues, the ACF sees policymaking as taking place within a subsystem whose participants represent varied interests but tend to espouse shared beliefs at societal level and policy level. The ACF allows us to consider the stable features of the policymaking environment that are preconditions for any assessment of policy change, as well as the external forces that may "shock" the environment and create conditions under which a major policy change may occur.;Type I MLG, which focuses on delegation of governmental functions to sub-state units, is not especially salient for occupational road safety policy; few relevant functions have been passed to sub-state level in the three member states discussed here. Type II MLG does offer some insight into this policy area through its emphasis on interest groups and its distinction between "government" and "governance." However, the ACF, through its emphasis on policy subsystems made up of governmental and non-governmental actors, allows the discussion to extend to policy initiatives emanating from outside government. (Abstract shortened by UMI.).
Pratt, Stephanie G., "The Role of Institutional Structures, Interest Groups, and Framing in Explaining Occupational Road Safety Policy in the European Union and Member States: An Application of the Advocacy Coalition Framework and Multi-level Governance" (2011). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 3461.