Policy congruence and advocacy strategies in the discourse networks of minimum unit pricing for alcohol and the soft drinks industry levy

Hilton, S. , Buckton, C. H. , Henrichsen, T., Fergie, G. and Leifeld, P. (2020) Policy congruence and advocacy strategies in the discourse networks of minimum unit pricing for alcohol and the soft drinks industry levy. Addiction, 115(12), pp. 2303-2314. (doi: 10.1111/add.15068) (PMID:32219917)

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Abstract

Background and Aim: Public health policy development is subject to a range of stakeholders presenting their arguments to influence opinion on the best options for policy action. This paper compares stakeholders’ positions in the discourse networks of two pricing policy debates in the UK: Minimum Unit Pricing for alcohol (MUP) and the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL). Design: Discourse analysis was combined with network visualisation to create representations of stakeholders’ positions across the two policy debates as they were represented in 11 national UK newspapers. Setting: United Kingdom. Observations: For the MUP debate 1,924 statements by 152 people from 87 organisations were coded from 348 articles. For the SDIL debate 3,883 statements by 214 people from 175 organisations were coded from 511 articles. Measurements: Network analysis techniques were used to identify robust argumentative similarities and maximise the identification of network structures. Network measures of size, connectedness and cohesion were used to compare discourse networks. Findings: The networks for both pricing debates involve a similar range of stakeholder types and form clusters representing policy discourse coalitions. The SDIL network is larger than the MUP network, particularly the proponents’ cluster with over three times as many stakeholders. Both networks have tight clusters of manufacturers, think tanks, and commercial analysts in the opponents’ coalition. Public health stakeholders appear in both networks, but no health charity or advocacy group is common to both. Conclusion: A comparison of the discourse in the UK press during the policy development processes for Minimum Unit Pricing for alcohol and the Soft Drinks Industry Levy suggests greater cross‐sector collaboration among policy opponents than proponents.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Fergie, Dr Gillian and Henrichsen, Tim and Leifeld, Professor Philip and Buckton, Christina and Hilton, Professor Shona
Creator Roles:
Hilton, S.Conceptualization, Validation, Formal analysis, Writing – original draft, Writing – review and editing, Supervision, Funding acquisition
Buckton, C. H.Methodology, Formal analysis, Investigation, Writing – original draft, Writing – review and editing, Visualization, Project administration
Leifeld, P.Conceptualization, Methodology, Validation, Formal analysis, Writing – original draft, Writing – review and editing, Supervision
Authors: Hilton, S., Buckton, C. H., Henrichsen, T., Fergie, G., and Leifeld, P.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences
Journal Name:Addiction
Publisher:Wiley
ISSN:0965-2140
ISSN (Online):1360-0443
Published Online:26 March 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in Addiction 115(12): 2303-2314
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
727671SPHSU Core Renewal: Informing Healthy Public Policy Research ProgrammePeter CraigMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/15IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
Chief Scientist Office (CSO)SPSHU15