What is a policy entrepreneur?

stewart_1In order to understand the current incarnation of Physician Health Programs (PHPs)  it is important to understand the concept of “policy entrepreneurship” in the  evolution of these programs since the 1980s.

Once this is understood it is easy to see how moral entrepreneurship, moral panics, moral crusades and “bent-science” were used to form  public policy. rules, and regulations in the profession of medicine.   The  historical, cultural and professional context of this can be pieced together by using the recently archived Journal of Medical Regulation  (the peer-reviewed publication of the Federation of State Medical Boards) as a template.

Paul Cairney: Politics & Public Policy

From pages 271-2 of Understanding Public Policy

For example, ‘policy entrepreneur’ is used by Kingdon (1984: 21; 104) to describe actors who use their knowledge of the process to further their own policy ends. They ‘lie in wait in and around government with their solutions at hand, waiting for problems to float by to which they can attach their solutions, waiting for a development in the political stream they can use to their advantage’ (Kingdon, 1984: 165–6). Entrepreneurs may be elected politicians, leaders of interest groups or merely unofficial spokespeople for particular causes. They are people with the knowledge, power, tenacity and luck to be able to exploit windows of opportunity and heightened levels of attention to policy problems to promote their ‘pet solutions’ to policymakers (see also Jones, 1994: 196 on their ability to reframe issues).

John’s (1999) treatment of entrepreneurs is similar, but he perhaps replaces the image…

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