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Introduction to Environmental Policy

Session 5

Multi-Streams Approach



EVR 2861 


This is also a challengiong reading that might go best by watching the videos first and then doing the reading).


Zahariadis, Nikolaos (2007) "The Multiple Streams Framework: Structure, Limitations, Prospects," In Paul A. Sabatier's (Ed) Theories of the Policy Process. Cambridge, MA: Westview Press, p. 65-92.

Video: Multiple Stream Approach: Introduction; Multiple Stream Approach: Application


  1. In this week's reading from Zahariadis (2007) he develops a "multiple streams framework" that is in part based upon the rational choice approach of economist Herbert Simon (1983) who claims a good rational choice theory asks three questions. What are those questions and generally speaking how does Zahariadis approach his framework?
  2. What is the importance of "level and unit of analysis," "ambiguity," and "temporal order" to what Zahariadis' framework refers to as a "view from above"?
  3. The multiple streams framework is based upon three basic assumptions: (1) "Individual Attention or Processing Is Serial, Systemic Attention or Processing Is Parallel," (2) "P olicy Makers Operate under Significant Time Constraints;" (3) "The Streams Flowing through the System Are Independent" (Zahariadis, 2007 p. 68-69). Explain what Zhariadis is talking about in regard to each of these assumptions.
  4. Zhariadis's "multiple streams framework" is built around 5 structural elements: problems, policies, politics, policy windows, and policy entrepreneurs (Zahariadis, 2007 p. 70). Discuss each element's contribution to the framework.
  5. Below is a diagram illustrating the Multiple Streams Framework. Based upon the video and your readings do your best to describe how the framework functions.