Article

Kingdon’s Multiple Streams Approach: What Is the Empirical Impact of this Universal Theory?

Citation

Cairney P & Jones M (2016) Kingdon’s Multiple Streams Approach: What Is the Empirical Impact of this Universal Theory?. Policy Studies Journal, 44 (1), pp. 37-58. https://doi.org/10.1111/psj.12111

Abstract
While John Kingdon’s Multiple Streams Approach (MSA) remains a key reference point in thepublic policy literature, few have attempted to assess MSA holistically. To assess its broaderimpact and trends in usage, we combine in-depth analysis of representative studies, withcomprehensive coverage of MSA-inspired articles, to categorize its impact. We find that Kingdon’swork makes two separate contributions. First, it has contributed to the development of“evolutionary” policy theories such as punctuated equilibrium. Second, it has prompted a large,dedicated, and often empirical, literature. However, most MSA empirical applications only engagewith broader policy theory superficially. The two contributions are oddly independent of eachother. We argue that these trends in application are due largely to its intuitive appeal and low“barrier to entry.” Drawing on other policy approaches, we offer suggestions to improve the MSAinspired literature.

Keywords
Kingdon; multiple streams analysis; policy theory

Journal
Policy Studies Journal: Volume 44, Issue 1

StatusPublished
Publication date29/02/2016
Publication date online17/06/2015
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/23014
PublisherWiley-Blackwell for Policy Studies Organization
ISSN0190-292X