The dynamic of policy processes on hydraulic fracturing: An international comparative research project (2017-2020)

Outline of the research

I am involved in an internatio220px-barnettshaledrilling-9323nal comparative research project on the dynamic of policy processes on hydraulic fracturing. Theoretically speaking, the research mainly relies on the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF). Following previous research efforts but based on eclectic methods, the newspapers of several countries concerned with the extraction of shale gas/oil are coded according to a common coding grid. This research is innovative in that it is one of the rare ACF-based projects using a common methodological framework across several national or subnational cases. The results will allow the examination of the attitudes and behaviour of policy actors, dynamics of advocacy coalitions and resulting policy changes in the different cases. This project will lead to theoretical advances on the contextual factors of policy processes as well as a better understanding of the differences in policies on hydraulic fracturing around the world.


Description of the project

This project is led by Profs. Drs. Christopher Weible and Tanya Heikkila (University of Colorado Denver). Together with Prof. Dr. David Aubin (Université catholique de Louvain), I am responsible for the French case. The team is also composed of Bastien Fievet and Maximilien Plancq, master students in public administration and trainees at the Institut de Sciences Politiques Louvain-Europe. The French case is also cosupervised by Dr. Sébastien Chailleux (Université de Bordeaux).

At the Université catholique de Louvain, the project is supported by the ‘Fonds d’appui à l’internationalisation’.


Outputs of the project

March 2017 – Presentation of the project at the Institut d’Etudes Avancées (Aix-Marseille Université, France)

Nouvel article dans La Libre Belgique – Les décideurs publics sont-ils animés par leurs propres intérêts?

L’Université catholique de Louvain vient de sortir une étude qui met en lumière l’impact des intérêts matériels des décideurs publics sur leurs décisions. Les résultats vont à contre-courant de ce que laissent penser les récentes “affaires”.


Lien vers l’article:

New article – Policy learning and the role of interests therein: The European liberalization policy process of Belgian network industries


When individual actors are involved in a policy process, do they assess and revise their policy preferences according to their interests or are they open to other forms of arguments over time? This study examines the effect of policy actors’ interests on policy learning. It is based on a survey conducted in 2012 among 376 Belgian actors (from 38 organizations) involved in the European liberalization policy process of two network industries: the rail and electricity sectors. Borrowing from organizational research and behavioral economics, several hypotheses are drawn from a model of the individual shared by various policy approaches, such as the advocacy coalition framework. A “simple gain scores” approach to the measurement of policy learning is introduced. Regression analyses show that policy actors align their policy preferences with the impacts of policies on their own material well-being (personal interests) and the material prosperity of their organization (organizational interests). This tendency is independent of the importance that policy actors give to their interests in their everyday lives. This suggests that policy actors experience a sort of “interest shift” when they assess their policy preferences over time. This shift, however, exerts a limited influence on policy learning. The theoretical and practical implications are discussed.


Link toward the manuscript:


Link toward the published article: