Policy networks within the Turkish health sector : capacity, institutionalization and impact
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Policy networks refer to platforms that facilitate collaboration among public, private and voluntary actors with the purpose of public policy making. Despite the extensive research done on the issue, not much is known about the applicability of this concept outside the context of advanced democracies. The purpose of this thesis is to assess the theoretical significance and practical effectiveness of three policy networks within the health sector in Turkey – a crucial case study where conditions for network collaboration are least favorable considering its past record of centralized policy making. Content analysis of 24 semi-structured interview transcripts reveals that networks are relevant policy instruments that have an impact on policy making. Integrated networks with a symmetrical structure and trust among participants display high levels of collaborative capacity, which in turn can generate highly innovative policies, particularly in the early phases of policy making. Aggregate networks have an indirect impact on policy making through ‘pockets’ of deliberation. Moreover, networks that serve as channels of interest mediation for already existing webs of actors such as business-based alliances, turn out to be resilient policy instruments that generate concrete outcomes and contribute to overall policy effectiveness. The findings indicate the importance of network institutional embeddedness in the broader political and economic environment—as a critical factor for the persistence as well as effectiveness of collaboration—particularly in those policy settings where networks represent a vulnerable practice of policy making. At the theoretical level, this study suggests the usefulness of incorporating neo-institutionalist approaches to network analysis.