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

Hilton, Shona and Buckton, Christina and Fergie, Gillian and Henrichsen, Tim and Leifeld, Philip (2020) 'Policy congruence and advocacy strategies in the discourse networks of minimum unit pricing for alcohol and the soft drinks industry levy.' Addiction. ISSN 0965-2140

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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: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Alcohol, sugar‐sweetened beverages health, health, policy, public health, discourse networks
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2020 07:56
Last Modified: 02 Apr 2020 08:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/27194

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