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date: 28 March 2017

Policy Entrepreneurs and Foreign Policy Decision Making

This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. Please check back later for the full article.

Policy entrepreneurs are energetic actors who work with others in and around policymaking venues to promote significant policy change. In so doing, they exhibit well-documented regularities both in their personal dispositions and in the strategies they undertake. Policy entrepreneurs are ambitious in pursuit of a cause. They display sociability and exhibit high levels of social acuity. To secure credibility within specific policy circles, they draw on their past accomplishments, their professional connections, and whatever power or prestige they enjoy in their current positions. They are tenacious. In promoting significant policy change, policy entrepreneurs deploy several strategies. These include framing problems and redefining policy solutions, using and expanding networks, creating advocacy teams and coalitions, leading by example, and scaling up advocacy efforts to expand the scope of policy change. Even as they frequently conform to these observed regularities of disposition and strategy, policy entrepreneurs display diversity in their policy interests, where they operate, and how they engage in advocacy efforts. Studies to date have focused on policy entrepreneurs in domestic policy settings. Recent studies have started to explore the actions of policy entrepreneurs at the international level.