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Water Management in Spain: the Role of Policy Entrepreneurs in Shaping Change

Nuria Font, Universitat AutÚnoma de Barcelona
Joan Subirats, Universitat AutÚnoma de Barcelona


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The role played by policy entrepreneurs in preparing, initiating, and implementing water policy change in Spain over the last two decades is examined in an effort to understand how transitions in water management occur. The main questions considered are whether policy entrepreneurs can influence water policy change, and which strategies they actually adopt to promote change. John Kingdon's multiple streams framework was used to assess the ways in which policy entrepreneurs succeed in challenging the dominant agenda, mobilizing alternative policy ideas, and making use of multiple venues for initiating policy change. The data set comprises secondary documentation and interviews with state and non-state actors involved in Spanish water management. The main findings are that policy entrepreneurs from certain social, scientific, and political organizations have indeed played a central role in fracturing the traditional and long-standing approach and decision making process to water management as well as in opening new avenues for policy change. The main implication is that accounts of water management transitions should place greater emphasis on the role of agency in bringing about policy change.

Key words

policy entrepreneurs; Spain; transitions; water management

Copyright © 2010 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087