Sharpening Advocacy Coalitions

Christopher M. Weible, Karin Ingold, Daniel Nohrstedt, Adam Douglas Henry, Hank C. Jenkins-Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The concept of “advocacy coalitions” is the bedrock of the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF), one of the most established and successful approaches for understanding policy processes across the globe. This article revisits and sharpens the conceptual definition of advocacy coalitions. We summarize the lessons from its theoretical emphases under the ACF and specify its five attributes (policy actors, shared beliefs, coordination, resources, and stability). Through this specification, we identify the ideal coalition type and several coalition subtypes. We then clarify and make a distinction between how we think about coalitions as a concept and how we approach coalitions empirically. This article sharpens the lens for describing and explaining coalitions toward better observations, theorizing, and measurements. It ends with next steps for further deepening and broadening knowledge about advocacy coalitions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1054-1081
Number of pages28
JournalPolicy Studies Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • ACF
  • Advocacy Coalition Framework
  • policy networks
  • policy process

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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