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Causality-Based Policy Learning Frameworks Derived from Russian Power Sector Liberalisation

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This paper is an inductive, qualitative case study concerning the development of new policy learning theory derived from Russian power sector liberalisation policy reform that was conceived and implemented from the year 2001 to 2007. The research extends the policy learning theory work of James and Jorgensen and others by more holistically explaining how policy knowledge, through policy learning, affects policy formulation, change, the direction of that change, and outcomes. To provide an investigative platform for this, the study aimed to capture the perceptions related to Russian policy learning and adaptation from three primary policy community groups which included Russian energy researchers, international industrial informants, and economists with a high degree of involvement in power sector liberalisation policy development. In the course of the research, policy learning causal 'moments' were identified in the form of synchronic and diachronic interrelated frameworks that indicated causal mechanisms and causal paths. The empirically derived research results were from conceptual, planning, and implementation processes used to diversify Russian policy learning, primarily from relevant, concurrent, international policy experiences and outcomes in Britain, and to a lesser extent, the USA.
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Energy Systems Research, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2020
5
Causality-Based Policy Learning Frameworks
Derived from Russian Power Sector
Liberalisation
Marcel Lamoureux*
Abstract — This paper is an inductive, qualitative
case study concerning the development of new policy
learning theory derived from Russian power sector
liberalisation policy reform that was conceived and
implemented from the year 2001 to 2007. The research
extends the policy learning theory work of James and
Jorgensen and others by more holistically explaining
how policy knowledge, through policy learning, affects
policy formulation, change, the direction of that change,
and outcomes. To provide an investigative platform
for this, the study aimed to capture the perceptions
related to Russian policy learning and adaptation
from three primary policy community groups which
included Russian energy researchers, international
industrial informants, and economists with a high
degree of involvement in power sector liberalisation
policy development. In the course of the research,
policy learning causal ‘moments’ were identied in
the form of synchronic and diachronic interrelated
frameworks that indicated causal mechanisms and
causal paths. The empirically derived research results
were from conceptual, planning, and implementation
processes used to diversify Russian policy learning,
primarily from relevant, concurrent, international
policy experiences and outcomes in Britain, and to a
lesser extent, the USA.
Index Terms — liberalisation, policy causality, policy
framework, policy learning theory, power sector,
Russia.
___________________________________________________
* Corresponding author.
E-mail: dr.marcel.lamoureux@outlook.com
http://dx.doi.org/10.25729/esr.2020.01.0001
Received February 25, 2020. Revised May 01, 2020.
Accepted May, 17 2020. Available online July 31, 2020.
This is an open access article under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
© 2019 ESI SB RAS and authors. All rights reserved.
I. IntroductIon
The focus of the research was on Russian power
sector liberalisation from 2001 to 2007 as a case study
M. A. Lamoureux, “Policy Learning Theory Derived
from Russian Power Sector Liberalisation Experience,”
Ph.D. thesis, Glasgow, Caledonian University, Glasgow,
Scotland, UK, 2012, which was then analysed to outline
and then identify new categories and frameworks in
policy learning theory. The proposed power sector reforms
identied in the case study were broad, complex and
unprecedented in Russia, and were widely regarded as
necessary to provide a better environment for investment
and global energy integration. Russian policy stakeholders
studied and utilised international models to craft domestic
policies aimed at liberalising the power sector. However,
the following was unclear:
1. the quality and mechanism of policy learning
2. the type, content, and application of policy learning
over time
3. potential policy change and direction of change
4. outcome as a consequence of policy learning
Accordingly, the Main Research Question (MRQ) was:
What are the perceptions of three policy community groups,
which include domestic energy researchers, industrial
informants, and economists, regarding the formulation,
change, direction of change and outcome of Russian power
sector liberalisation policy?
The literature review section describes conditions prior
to liberalisation, and an overview of implementation status.
The Russian and international liberalisation experiences
are outlined. The methodology section describes the
research method and techniques as well as the sampling
method. The results section presents the synchronic and
diachronic policy learning frameworks, including their
causal, categorical ‘moments’ and relational properties.
The discussion section presents the theoretical and
practical implications of the frameworks in relation to
extant frameworks. The paper concludes with a description
of the policy theory implications of the research and
recommendations for future research.
Energy Systems Research, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2020Marcel Lamoureux
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II. LIterature revIew: an overvIew of russIan and
InternatIonaL Power sector reform
A. Conditions prior to Russian power sector
liberalisation
From 1992 to 2000 there were serious issues facing
the power sector, such as, a signicant decrease in capital
investments for modernisation, and a sharp reduction in the
commissioning of new capacity [1]. The power sector was
being affected by the broader Russian economic crisis that:
“…created a very difcult situation in the industry.
Ination, non-payments, depreciation of assets, etc.,
interfered with the nancial and economic activity of
energy companies. All the indices of the industry gradually
deteriorated and reached a critical level. The decrease
in electricity consumption and high organisational and
technical level of the [Unied Power System] UPS that
had been achieved by the early 1990s somewhat mitigated
the situation. However, the problem of equipment aging at
power plants and networks grew increasingly urgent” [1].
Also, during this period, the power sector was largely
a natural monopoly with vertically integrated companies
having ownership of transmission, distribution, and
generation functions [2].
In response to urgent problems in the power sector,
the seminal law, ‘About the Electric Power Industry’ was
proposed and approved in 2003. This law was part of
the development of a new legislative framework built in
part upon external liberalisation experiences designed to
enable general industry goals, such as, energy security for
Russia; reliable functioning of the power system; and cost
minimisation [1, 3].
B. Overview of Russian power sector liberalisation
Although there were several contemporary reasons for
power sector liberalisation that will be examined infra,
the roots of Russian power sector reform initiatives may
run deeper and be causally connected to previous Soviet
era attempts at “market oriented reforms” [4] under the
category of an “experimental initiative” [4, 5]. The policy
template for the power sector liberalisation initiative may
have been formed under the previous Soviet system where
reform “followed a broadly similar pattern of development
(it is perhaps more correct to identify a pattern of limited
growth and decline)” [4]. Soviet era reform, reective
of the description of Belyaev [1] supra, was focused on
“particular industries or enterprises which have been
experiencing specic difculties…” [4].
Apparently in accordance with the approach taken with
previous experimental initiatives, the Russian government
developed medium and long-term economic policy reform
programmes in 2000 and 2001 [6]. The two goals of the
reform programmes were to increase private enterprise
and investment [6]. The power sector represented the
most serious problem for the Russian economy at the time
because of inefciencies and a deteriorating infrastructure
[6]. Therefore, a primary goal for the sustainability of the
infrastructure was to attract investment [7]. Linkages had
been made between regulatory reform of the power sector,
and the condence of investors and potential entrants [6].
This vision of power sector restructuring included the de-
integration of the Russian electric monopoly, RAO UES,
and the ownership separation of the transmission network
from distribution and generation [6]. Investment was a
dominant internal motivation for Russian liberalisation of
the power sector.
The liberalisation of the power sector in Russia should be
conceived in the broader context of a transitioning economy,
as well as policy development. A transitioning economy
can be understood as evolving from a centrally planned
economy to a market-based economy. In this context, the
Russian power sector reform process was one element of an
overall economic and political reform plan [8].
Russian power sector liberalisation was part of an
international trend toward privatisation and liberalisation
in the sector [9]. The Russian move to liberalise the power
sector follows other international reform experiences led
by Britain [10]. As such, power sector liberalisation was
an innovative turning point for the evolution of the power
sector toward establishing elements of competition [11]. It
was posited that Britain, as an originator of power sector
liberalisation policy, had that policy de-contextualised and
institutionalised as global policy transfer occurred [12].
This was foreshadowed by Littlechild [13] who stated,
“In some respects, the circumstances of each developing
country are different from Britain and from each other.
Essentially the same principles of public policy apply…
with appropriate modications for the circumstances
of each case, the policy of privatisation, competition,
and independent regulation seems the right policy for
developing countries too” [13].
This statement was indicative of subsequent
international attempts to learn from and implement
standardised power sector reform programmes which were
patterned from Britain’s leading experience [14, 15].
The Russian rationale for power sector liberalisation
included internal motivations which, in addition to
investment, included the need for higher levels of efciency.
However, there were external motivations as well, which
included economic and technical interests. This was
exemplied by Voropai and Kucherov, [16], who stated:
“The goal of Russia and its Unied Power System (UPS) is
to become an equal partner and major player in the European
electricity market”. This was indicative of European and
(former Soviet) Russian interests in integrative energy
cooperation [17,18]. Therefore, inasmuch as Europe
followed the lead of Britain to liberalise electricity markets
[19], and Russia had an interest in participating in the
liberalised EU wholesale power market via transmission
interconnections [16], Russian policy makers were also
reacting to external political and business interests.
Similar external incentives for Russian wholesale power
market liberalisation were found in Russian economic and
Energy Systems Research, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2020Marcel Lamoureux
7
technical linkages with the Commonwealth of Independent
States (CIS) and Asia [20, 21].
Russian motivations for power sector liberalisation
and reform created an environment where policy makers
became interested in learning from previous experiences,
such as in Britain, which were considered optimal [22].
Accordingly, the British liberalisation example provided a
broad reform record of privatisation [23], regulation [13],
competition [24] and innovative wholesale power market
designs [25, 26]. Therefore, although future assessments
would conclude that no single liberalisation example
works in all circumstances [27, 28], Russian policy makers
attempted to learn and integrate policy principles for the
design and implementation of a liberalised power sector
from Britain and other countries [29].
C. Policy learning from international liberalisation
experiences
Russian power sector liberalisation policy can be tied
directly to the effects of, and response to, the broader
economic challenge faced by the country [30], however
the application of reform was focused, rather than
comprehensive as identied in this quote: “Russian policy
makers have not taken a holistic view of the design of the
energy markets. For these reasons, Russia has not evolved
towards a new policy paradigm in all energy sectors” [31].
Although a broader implementation of liberalisation
policy was not enacted in Russia, comprehensive and
parallel sectorial liberalisation, especially with related
industries, was a common theme found in other countries
who have implemented reform programs prior to Russian
implementation [31]. Regardless, external policy learning
took place in Russia, and was part of the policy-making
processes of power sector liberalisation. External
experiences became objects of study in Russia, with the
intent to compare and contrast the policy experiences in
other countries with that occurring in, and considered for,
Russia [32].
As the experiences of other countries became known and
analysed, divergent views surfaced regarding the direction
of power sector liberalisation policy, generally categorised
as debates between the ‘reformers’ and ‘opponents’ [33]
or characterised as ‘reformers’ and ‘conservatives’ by Yi-
Chong [28]:
“Moderate reforms were also the result of the conicts
between ‘reformers’ who were determined to bring Russian
industries in line with the West and ‘conservatives’ who
were not willing to risk the reliable supply of electricity”.
This debate was reected in more than 10 conceptions
that were posited as power sector liberalisation and
industrial restructuring possibilities [34], many of which
were rooted in liberalisation experiences learned from
other countries.
“Russia is drawing on the international experience of
liberalising the electricity industry, but it is nonetheless a
long and complicated process. In addition, no well-dened
system exists for creating an optimal electricity sector,
as the results of liberalisation in other countries are
controversial” [35].
This quote from Kurronen, [35] supra, encapsulates the
fact that Russian policy-makers have studied international
experiences from conception to implementation, but
that apparently no external liberalisation experience or
policy standard is a perfect ‘t’ for the Russian context.
In contrast, Pittman [10] observed that the core objective
of Russian power sector liberalisation is very similar to
external experiences:
“The goal of the [Russian] restructuring strategy is the
same as that behind the application of this now-standard
reform model in other infrastructure sectors in other
countries: to replace, where feasible, the old regulated,
state-owned monopoly enterprises with deregulated,
privately owned enterprises, competing among themselves
to operate and invest efciently and provide outputs at the
lowest efcient prices”.
Much of the policy debate surrounding implementation
of liberalisation was centred around the components of
‘conceptualisation’ based on external experiences, and
its integration with the realities of the Russian power
system, structure, and end goal which were modied over
time. Although it is unclear regarding the actual quantity
or quality of Russian external power sector liberalisation
policy learning, the manifestation of domestic reform
policy, its effects, and change have allowed for some
visibility into the policy-making process.
III. methodoLogy
A. Research Method
Case study methodology was chosen as a best t for
the research based on the premises that a “…case study
is a research strategy which focuses on understanding the
dynamics present within single settings” [36] and that
“A single case study is still a single-shot affair - a single
example of a larger phenomenon” [37]. At the beginning of
the research there was interest by the researcher to determine
if the case under investigation could yield hypotheses or
theories that may be externally applicable, which would
need to be included within the limited research purview
and subsequent results. The rationale for this was based
on the inherent economic and policy inuence that Russia
had within the contiguous Commonwealth of Independent
States (CIS) at the time [38], the increasing power grid
integration with Europe [16], and subsequent cross-
border inuence on policy formation and implementation.
However, after a deeper review of scholarly, case study
research, the researcher determined that the “case study
should be guided by the research question” [39] and that
the MRQ could be answered more profoundly by focusing
on the internal validity of the research to be undertaken.
This decision was substantiated by Gerring [37]: “Often,
though not invariably, it is easier to establish the veracity
of a causal relationship pertaining to a single case (or a
Energy Systems Research, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2020Marcel Lamoureux
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small number of cases) than for a larger set of cases.”
Therefore, the researcher determined that a single-case
study, as opposed to a cross-case study would provide a
better means to identify and investigate specic causality
and change associated with it. Gerring [37] substantiated
this further by drawing a contrast between cross-case
studies and single-case studies:
“cross-case studies are likely to explain only a small
portion of the variance with respect to a given outcome.
They approach that outcome at a very general level.
Typically, a cross-case study aims only to explain the
occurrence/non-occurrence of a revolution, while a case
study might also strive to explain specic features of that
event - why it occurred when it did and, in the way that it
did. Case studies are thus rightly identied with "holistic"
analysis and with the "thick" description of events”.
B. Choice of analytic induction
The process of discovering emergent theory arising
from qualitative interviews was aided by the use of analytic
induction [38, 39, 40, 41]. Accordingly, the researcher
interpreted data [42] without developed hypotheses prior
to the collection of data. The researcher collected and
analysed perceptions that provided conceptual insight into
the mechanics of policy learning inasmuch as “Concepts
are developed inductively from the data and raised to a
higher level of abstraction, and their interrelationships are
then traced out [41]. Additionally, analytic induction is an
approach where “…theory comes last and is developed
from or through data generation and analysis” [42].
C. Sampling method
The researcher conducted 20 semi-structured, in-
depth interviews, composed of 18 distinct participants
and 2 follow-up respondents. The data samples were from
respondents who comprised three issue-related policy
community groups. The policy community groups were
elements of a homogenous sample of a power sector
liberalisation ‘policy issue network’ as dened by Rhodes
and Marsh [43], and henceforth referred to as the ‘policy
network’. The selective and theoretical sampling was
guided in part by the conceptual developments from the
data that provided the rst insight into emerging theory
and frameworks. The concepts, and subsequent research
direction provided guidance for the selection of additional
interviewees. As the primary aim was “not to generalise
to a population, but to obtain insights into a phenomenon,
individuals, or events”…“then the researcher purposefully
selects individuals, groups, and settings for this phase that
maximise understanding of the underlying phenomenon”
[44]. Individuals were chosen to be interviewed because
of their prominence in the research area and because they
were “information rich” [45].
The researcher’s approach to both the initial method
of interviewee selection and subsequent addition of
interviewees was reective of the works of Carlsson [46],
and [47, 48, 49] in the area of policy networks.
Carlsson [46] stated that “the network perspective can be
distinguished by its (a) non-hierarchical way of perceiving
the policymaking process, (b) its focus on functional rather
than on organisational features, and nally (c) its horizontal
scope.” In this statement, Carlsson [46] was attempting to
build upon the assertion by Hanf and Scharpf [47] that “the
term ‘network’ merely denotes, in a suggestive manner, the
fact that policymaking includes a large number of public
and private actors from different levels and functional
areas…”. Therefore, it can be assumed that, although a
policy network has a purpose holding it together, it also
represents a diversity of members focused on a single
policy problem. Carlsson [46] also suggested that “policy
networks can be regarded as a broad generic category”
and “can be divided into numerous subcategories”. Kenis
and Schneider, [48] also posited that “A policy network is
described by its actors, their linkages and its boundary.”
Building upon this, the researcher agreed with the salient,
and contrasting point made by Jordan [49] when he
suggested that “the policy network is a statement of shared
interests in a policy problem.” A policy community, as a
sub-set of the network, was dened as a group of “actors
within the network” [50]. Hogwood in Jordan [49] further
dened policy community as a concept describing “shared
experience, common specialist language, staff interchange,
and frequency and mode of communication.” Accordingly,
the researcher identied and assembled a sample of a policy
network composed of policy communities. The result was
the identication and sampling of three emergent policy
communities:
1. Domestic energy researchers (Russia)
2. Industrial informants (Russia and external)
3. Economists (Russia and external)
These groups shared a distinct community interest and
perspective in power sector liberalisation policy and had
active or passive linkages and participatory intersections
to compose an effective sample of a policy network
involved with Russian and international policy learning
and power sector liberalisation. Within the communities,
the researcher utilised these criteria for inclusion and
exclusion:
1. A perspective relevant to the research question.
2. Prominence in their policy community area of interest.
3. Active or passive linkages to the policy network
focused on Russian power sector liberalisation.
Consideration was given regarding the level of
effectiveness of the emergent communities on policy
decision-making. This consideration fed into the above
criteria for inclusion and exclusion inasmuch as the
communities were relevant, prominent, and clearly linked
to the broader policy network that had effect on policy
decision-makers. For example, the communities tended
to be relationally self-supporting, and had impact on the
direction and scope of power sector liberalisation policy in
Russia. This relationship became clearer as the researcher
conducted interviews and became more aware of the
Energy Systems Research, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2020Marcel Lamoureux
9
broad learning relationships that were taking place across
the network sample. This was led in part by the scientic
activity of the Melentiev Energy Systems Institute (ESI)
in Irkutsk, Russia, which was directed toward determining
the scientic foundations and mechanisms for the
implementation of Russian energy policy at national and
regional levels. Since 2001, the ESI has been a leader
within the liberalisation policy debate in Russia, and has
contributed to the formation, denition and activity of the
policy network and subsequent communities involved with
relevant policy research, inuence and implementation.
This is explicitly apparent in the ESI’s role in hosting
international conferences such as the ‘Liberalisation
and modernisation of power systems’ conference that
began in 2001. In addition to strengthening the human
network involved in power sector liberalisation research,
products of the ESI liberalisation conferences were
subsequently collected. Published proceedings and
policy recommendations were provided to Russian and
international policy decision-makers and leading power
sector business interests. In addition to the liberalisation
conferences, the ESI led joint Russian-European Union
(EU) policy projects in the areas of ‘coordination, operation,
and emergency control of EU and Russian power grids’
and ‘technological problems of liberalised electric power
system control’, - both of which were embedded in the
Russian power sector policy debate and decision process.
With the ESI domestic researcher ‘community’ as an
emergent leader of the policy network, additional research
and interviews revealed the linkages that existed between
the other communities and members of the network. Most
of the industrial and economic community members were
inuenced in some way by the work of the ESI, either by
attending ESI liberalisation conferences, receiving ESI
liberalisation policy publications, or indirectly, by having a
role in determining international power sector liberalisation
trends.
Importantly, Marsh and Smith, [50] found that the
view of policy decision-makers “was clearly shaped by
the structures of the policy community” (p. 17), and that
“policy outcomes were shaped by the policy process
and the nature of the community” (p. 17). This nding
by Marsh and Smith, [50] substantiated the researcher’s
rationale for identifying prominent policy communities
involved in Russian power sector liberalisation debate, as
a data source.
As a follow-on from the establishment of a method for
sample selection, the researcher wanted to gather a broad
range of perceptions from the distinct policy communities
to provide a high degree of richness in accumulated data.
Therefore, the researcher chose purposeful, maximum
variation sampling [51; 40; 41] as a means to choose
interviewees for inclusion. Realistically, the selection of
interviewees in the three interviewee groups represented
a balance between interview feasibility due to time and
distance, response to interview requests, the need to gather
diverse perspectives from prominent policy community
members, and the terminus dictated by data saturation.
This sampling technique, therefore, manifested itself in the
range of selection of Domestic Energy Researchers within
the context of their diverse elds related to the research
question and their departments at the ESI; Industrial
Informants as represented by their range of experience
and policy community relevance (individual and corporate
representation); and Economists by their approach to the
subject and range of research or international experience
with policy learning and adaptation.
Additionally, selective sampling [52] was used initially
to enable conceptual development followed by the use of
theoretical sampling [52] as concepts and themes provided
insight into the choice of additional sampling. A meta-
sampling criterion for all participants was their range of
horizontal linkages to the policy network, that at its core
would address the research question.
The researcher followed a criteria of qualitative data
analysis by adhering to data saturation as a sampling and
analysis mechanism for naturally terminating the collection
of data samples. This was substantiated by a survey of
applicable literature regarding data saturation, inclusive
of denitions of saturation, qualitative data saturation
experience, sample size analysis based on documented
British Ph.D. theses, and principles of data saturation.
Based the experience of the researcher, whereby the study
reached a point in sampling where additional interviews
did not yield new categories, the researcher was condent
that the number of interviews, the quality and quantity of
data, and its homogeneity, naturally dened a termination
of sampling. The survey of literature substantiated this
assessment of the researcher by clearly indicating that
the number of samples collected to answer the research
question and to reach data saturation exceeded the
minimum documented and recommended samples for a
qualitative study, regardless of the methodology utilised.
Iv. resuLts
A. Analytical policy learning frameworks for Russian
power sector liberalisation policy
Signicant ndings of the research were abstracted,
analysed, and categorised in the form of diachronic and
synchronic policy learning theoretical frameworks. The
emergent frameworks are indicative of analytical induction
which is teleological inasmuch as it is a search for an end
point in theory which is intrinsic in character. Theory
assumes the existence of, and the ability to, discover the
essential character or nature of the object of research.
B. Synchronic policy learning theoretical framework
A synchronic policy theoretical framework emerged
from the research ndings that actualises and analyses
policy ‘in the moment’. The synchronic policy framework,
as an ontological construct, is concerned with policy at a
specic space and time, exclusive of policy antecedents.
The theoretical framework can be applied as a means to
Energy Systems Research, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2020Marcel Lamoureux
10
actualise policy, in the sense of it existing objectively, as
a teleological process, and to analyse policy at a specic
space and time.
C. Diachronic policy learning theoretical framework
A diachronic policy theoretical framework was
identied from the research ndings that actualises
and analyses policy ‘over time’. The framework, as an
ontological construct, is concerned with policy change
‘over time’, inclusive of policy antecedents. The theoretical
framework can be applied as a structure to create policy, in
the sense that it is the vertical causation of policy existence,
as a teleological process, and to analyse policy ‘over time’.
D. Analytical overview of the frameworks
Previous policy learning scholarship demonstrated
that theoretical, directional policy frameworks can be
empirically derived in the areas of policy transfer [53]
and policy transfer analysis. This has also been true in the
development of sub-group policy learning frameworks
[54]. However, there was a lack of organic relationship,
temporality and reexivity built into all of these
frameworks. The frameworks derived from the research
ndings demonstrate both an internal, and external reexive
process. The synchronic policy theoretical framework
is introduced rst, as a means to present the theory that
emerged from the data. The synchronic framework was
reied prior to attaining all of the data, inasmuch as it was
treated as an abstraction that was substantially existing
and was then used to reexively analyse unorganised
data and to develop the meaning and properties of theory.
Therefore, the synchronic framework logically provides
the presentational systemisation of the research data.
There is an intrinsic relationship within the synchronic
and diachronic theoretical frameworks. The three sub-
categories of the Synchronic framework are the concept,
planning and implementation that emanate from the
original policy noumenal ideation. The sub-categories
are directional, and each is assumed by the precursor,
although they have distinct starting points in the noumenal,
conceptual starting point. An important new nding in
the research was the emergence of not only a continuum,
or planned process involved with power sector design,
but the importance of including the core categories in
every actualisation and application of policy change.
Surrey [5] indicated that the power sector liberalisation
process in Britain was an experiment, and the ndings
of the research indicated that due to the level of previous
international experience, the Russian process integrated
conceptualisation into planning and implementation. As the
process was implemented, as a retention of experimental
elements [4], circularity leads back to conceptualisation
as policy is required to evolve. Therefore, synchronic and
diachronic policy theoretical frameworks are reective of
the primary categories, relationships, and directionalities
which have emerged from the research. The sections, infra,
review the core categories, and formal sub-categories
within the analytical construct of the synchronic policy
theoretical framework.
The emergence of frameworks from the data
has constructed categories which comprise policy
phenomenon, policy substratum and policy superstratum
‘meta-moments’ which then existentially dene or
reect an intelligible grounding in the form of the policy
noumenon. Patterns which have emerged provide a
teleological basis for policymaking inasmuch as policy
learning is, in a philosophical sense, a phenomenal
starting point for diachronic policy creation, and policy
diffusion is the effect of policy learning. The research
indicated that policy learning is an on-going, reexive
process which not only studies national and international
Policy
Noumenon
S1
S2S3
Figure 1. Synchronic Policy Framework.
Figure 2. Diachronic Policy Framework.
Policy
Noumenon
D1 D2
D3
D4
D5
D6D7
D8
D9
D10
D11
Energy Systems Research, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2020Marcel Lamoureux
11
policies, but also accounts for the praxis of the policy area
under review or intervention. Policy learning, as a pro-
active learning process, has a starting point which is an
adaptation of policy and praxis, rather than transferential
learning. Indeed, the research ndings indicated that there
can be variable conditions for policy learning inasmuch as
contextual conditions vary according to national ethos and
physiography.
Policy learning can be applied as a synchronic analysis
method diachronically, which should measure micro
and macroeconomic effects of policy during and after
policy implementation. Policy diffusion, as a subset of
policy learning inasmuch as diffusion occurs after policy
learning, was found to be derived from multiple sources, at
synchronic periods of time.
The emergent synchronic policy framework, as
illustrated in Figure 1, infra, was used to analyse the
diachronic policy outcome ‘in the moment’. Although the
original Russian concept of power sector reform in favour
of higher investment, as the starting point of the diachronic
policy phenomenon is immutable, as it was created at a
moment in the past, the synchronic policy phenomenon is
mutable, as it is created ‘in the moment’. Russian policy
makers have utilised the synchronic policy phenomenon
cycle to measure the diachronic policy outcome against the
original Russian diachronic policy concept, and on-going
power sector conceptual developments outside of Russia.
The categories in the frameworks relate to each other
and relate to the distinct noumenon and phenomenon of
emergent policymaking.
E. Synchronic policy theoretical framework moments
relational properties: synchronic policy phenomenon
meta-moment
S1. Conceptualisation
The research ndings indicated that policy learning is
formed by stages of activity. These stages are moments, in
the sense that they are constituent elements of a complex
process. Conceptualisation is inclusive of planning and
implementation inasmuch as the latter two moments are
objects of initial conceptualisation. Each moment, however,
assumes the former, inasmuch as planning is a coming into
being of a concept or set of concepts, and implementation
is a coming into being of a concept or set of concepts and
planning. This reasoning establishes the intrinsic relational
circularity and extrinsic relational circularity whereby
implementation is a means of re-conceptualisation ‘in the
moment’.
Conceptualisation of policy provides for
contextualisation in the sense that policy can be conceived
within the endogenous context of policy implementation,
but also in the context of exogenous applications. Policy
conceptualisation is temporal in the sense that policy
learning focuses on previous as well as on-going, extant
policy examples. Policy formation has philosophical
foundations with dialectical mechanisms, as a causal
force, and is used as a remedy for perceived crises in an
effectual sense. The effectual teleology involved with this
suggests the need for reexivity, inasmuch as supplying a
remedy solicits an enquiry about whether the remedy can,
or has, fullled the original intent. Policy implementation
can be experimental, however, measurement of policy
has higher validity ‘in the moment’ and has diminishing
validity as predictive mensurative analysis is applied. This
is particularly the case when the level of experimentalism
is high, or where contextualisation of previous policy
is signicantly divergent from the original concept.
Policymaking concepts include equilibria for policy
outcomes, as well as short and long-term goals and
macroeconomic outcomes dependent on the policy
outcome.
Additionally, the crafting of conceptualisations should
consider all short and long-term objectives to avoid a
awed concept, and a awed policy outcome. Adequate
compositions of policy subgroups should ensure thorough
debate over all subject elements at the policy concept level.
Policy conceptualisations should include assessments of
current deciencies as well as short and long-term policy
effects. Policy conceptualisation has also included, as
a precondition for policy success, on-going adaptation
to change over time. This indicates that a legal structure
should be in place to guide and analyse policy ‘in the
moment’ to account for, measure and assess policy change
over time. Importantly, policy conceptualisation should
transcend the subject under study, and consider wider
social benets. Some areas of policy conceptualisation
can be considered standardised, and some primarily
contextualised. Standardisation should include the
structural means for policy planning, implementation, and
the creation of general guidelines.
S2. Planning
Conceptualisation of policy is a process whereby the
basic outline of goals and predicted outcome are agreed
upon. The planning moment follows the conceptual
moment inasmuch as planning approaches the topic
with more of an applied, logical thought process which
is built upon knowing. Conceptualisation denes policy
motivations, and planning centralises those motivations as
the policymaking process unfolds. The end goal of policy
implementation has a direct effect on the initial moments
of policy conceptualisation and planning. If a policy goal
is a transitional process, whereby the initial motivation
will not be satised until a period of time has passed, other
measures can be taken to encourage benecial outcomes
in the interim. This is explained in the research ndings
where policy solutions were categorised and implemented
on different timelines. Policy planning should delineate all
aspects required for policy implementation in the context
of having a successful policy outcome.
S3. Implementation
Policy implementation can have planned and unplanned
consequences. Such consequences can include internal
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problems which include delays and unforeseen inuences
which affect policy implementation and outcome
These consequences are effects of policy outcome.
These effects can include negative outcomes which also can
be categorised as policy devolution. This also indicates the
need for regular assessments of policy outcomes, effects,
and reconceptualisation to possibly revise the composition
and direction of policy. The research ndings suggested
that there can be non-compliance of policy because of
pre-existing conditions that make policy implementation
impracticable. Policy evolutionary development and
outcome over time requires a continual review and on-
going learning process to detect unforeseen inuences.
Internal policy micro-developments can evolve, affecting
macro-conditions, requiring a governing body to regularly
intervene in policy outcome.
Section Summary
The research ndings, at the level of inductive
theory development, indicated that there is a directional
linkage between policy conceptualisation, planning and
implementation. Policy conceptualisation includes the
conceptualisation of the planning and implementation
process which should account for short and long-term
policy goals. As policy is implemented, periodic assessment
and analysis are necessary to detect or correct unforeseen
evolution and devolution. As a consequence of policy
analysis ‘in the moment’, the diachronic policy outcome
can be re-conceptualised, and enter into a synchronic
policy framework actualisation and analysis system.
F. Diachronic policy theoretical framework meta-
moments and moments
The diachronic policy theoretical framework
is composed of the meta-moments of noumenon,
phenomenon, substratum and superstratum. As illustrated
in Figure 2., the constituent, categorical moments are the
stratal elements of the meta-moments.
A. Diachronic Policy Phenomenon Meta-Moment
The diachronic policy phenomenon meta-moment
is the perceptible manifestation of the diachronic policy
noumenon meta-moment. The noumenon provides the
intelligible grounding of logical policymaking precepts.
Although the noumenon in this sense holds a ‘place’ as
a ‘moment’, it is a noetic cause that permeates the whole
of the process. Therefore, noumenon is not delineated
as a distinct ‘moment’. In contrast to the noumenon, the
policy phenomenon is the perceptible event, circumstance
or experience that provides grounds for, and stimulates,
learning.
D1. Policy learning
Policy learning is composed of multiple sources of
input, comprising policy diffusion. Policy learning is
composed of both internal learning and external learning.
Existing conditions are assessed in the policy learning
process which include motivating factors and social and
physiographic concerns. External policy learning provides
perspective on internal concerns, as well as value attained
through understanding previously conceived, planned and
implemented policies. The research ndings have indicated
that policy learning precedes policy diffusion. However,
prior to the assimilation of knowledge, policy information
is imperfectly known, and mutated as the policy concept
is learned.
D2. Policy transmutation
Policy transmutation is the process of learning extant
policy in an imperfect way. The research ndings indicate
that policy is learned from endogenous incentives, or from
exogenous developments. Policy networks have differing
visions of policy conceptualisations, and that policy
transmutation occurs as the policy concept is understood
and contextualised to the receptor’s ethos. Transmutation
of policy, as an imperfect understanding of policy, begins
with the policy model under review. Policy transmutation,
as a consequence of policy learning, begins at the point
when policies under review are considered for adaptation.
D3. Policy trans-adaptation
Policy trans-adaptation follows a transmutation
of an external policy concept. The external concept is
not formed until a full concept has formed from policy
learning, transmutation, trans-adaptation and diffusion.
Trans-adaptation is the process and effect of policy
learning of an imperfect concept. The process and effect
are both individual and institutional. Trans-mutated policy
concept may be awed, or multi-dimensional, and subject
to multiple points of view. Policy adaptation is subject to
changing conditions. These changing conditions can be
in the endogenous policy ethos, or by learning from the
diachronic external policy ethos. Policy adaptation is the
nal step prior to policy diffusion, inasmuch as once the
policy concept is imperfectly learned, thus mutated, and
trans-adapted as an individuated idea or institution, policy
diffusion occurs.
D4. Policy diffusion
Policy diffusion is a contingent process and effect.
Diffusion is contingent on policy learning, transmutation
and trans-adaptation. The research ndings indicated that
policy is diffused because of internal motivations or because
of external impetuses. Diffusion of policy is primarily within
the conceptual moment of policy inasmuch as it has not yet
been manifested as a nomological process, such as a policy
planning moment. The research ndings indicated that the
integration of external, diachronic policy with endogenous
conditions, creates a policy coalescence. This policy
coalescence creates a new concept which has originated
from elsewhere but is developed from within. Therefore, at
the full level of conceptual development, which is also the
full level of the policy phenomenon, the next meta-moment
of policymaking comes into being: the policy substratum.
B. Diachronic policy substratum meta-moment
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The policy substratum meta-moment, composed
of the stratal moments of a diffused, external policy
concept, paradigm and network, is in relation to both the
policy phenomenon, which is an event, circumstance or
experience, and the policy superstratum. Inasmuch as the
policy superstratum is the outcome, or substance of policy
in the sense that it has independent existence and is acted
upon by redundant causes, the policy substratum is the
event or causes which act upon it; the changes occurring
within it; and the attributes which inhere in it. The policy
substratum is ‘en prévision in the sense that it is in a state
of readiness for the actualisation of policy outcome.
D5. Policy external concept
The external concept, as indicated by the research
ndings, is a fully actualised concept which was learned
imperfectly, mutated and adapted to the endogenous ethos.
As such, it is the starting event in the substratum whereby
it comprises the policy paradigm and policy network.
The external concept is the starting event that acts upon
the outcome of policy. The external concept is the starting
point for policy planning, as it provides a logical template
for policy actualisation. The research ndings revealed
that once a concept is actualised, planning begins in the
form of formulating structure and temporal, parametric
considerations. The external concept is applied to the
original motivating factor for the creation of policy. The
external concept is paradigmatic, inasmuch as it is a
pattern, example or model which effectively explains a
complex policy process, idea or set of data.
D6. Policy paradigm
The policy paradigm emerges from the policy external
concept. The policy paradigm is the external concept’s
lexical meaning inasmuch as the concept is the basis upon
which the policy model is created. The research ndings
have indicated that the policy paradigm is composed
of the external concept, and the endogenous ethos. The
research interviews indicated that information which
was learned was only relevant inasmuch as it pertained
to the dened ethos in the context of policymaking. The
policy paradigm addresses overall policy concerns which
transcend the target policy area. The policy paradigm, as a
more complete actualisation of policy, is reective of the
motivation for policy creation, and the process to actualise
policymaking. The policy paradigm becomes the template
for the creation of the policy network inasmuch as the
policy network is a group or system of interconnected or
cooperating individuals. The policy paradigm provides
nodal interconnections for policy network activity in the
sense that nodes are interconnected points of concentration
which are actualised by the policy paradigm. To explain,
arising from general policymaking motivations, a deductive
process unfolds, whereby more specic areas of enquiry
and actions emerge. These areas of concentration provide
an indication of participatory enquiry and activity.
D7. Policy network
The nodal interconnections for a policy network
begin prior to the policymaking process, as a network
substratum, but only become fully actualised as a network
once the policy paradigm is fully actualised. In this sense,
one can logically comprehend that the rst node, prior to
the policymaking process, is the policy noumenon meta-
moment. The policy network becomes actualised as the
diachronic policy framework becomes actualised. In this
sense, policy nodal interconnections evolve within the
diachronic policy framework and provide the organic
means of policymaking enquiry and activity. Policy
nodal interconnections, as evolving policy networks, are
organic in the sense that they are made up of systematically
interrelated parts. The research ndings have indicated
that a policy network includes participants who are part
of the endogenous ethos, and extraneous ethos, as long
as the participation is relevant to the policy framework.
The research ndings indicated that categories of policy
network participation exist. They are the inveteracy, who
are established in the policy process over a long period of
time, and the ephemeral, who either by policy framework
design or external causation, interpose policymaking
change for a brief period. The policy networks, as dened
this way, can be individuals, groups, institutions, and
referential ideas. Endogenous and extraneous policy
outcomes are ideas that become part of a policy network.
The policy network provides an actualisation for policy
outcome ‘over time’ and ‘in the moment’.
C. Diachronic policy superstratum meta-moment
The diachronic policy superstratum meta-moment,
composed of the stratal moments of policy-networked
actualised policy outcome, evolution, devolution and
measurement, is causally contingent upon the policy
substratum and the policy phenomenon. However, as
the policy outcome interfaces with existence and time,
and is then subject to evolution and devolution, it
becomes independent of the policy substratum and policy
phenomenon. The research ndings indicated that the
policy outcome can be a result, a consequence, but more
importantly, a solution which is subject to change ‘over
time’.
D8. Policy diachronic outcome
The policy diachronic outcome has its basis in the
policy network. However, prior to policy interface with
existence, the policy outcome is more correctly to be
considered a policy dénouement, in the sense that it is a
proposed solution which needs to continue to unfold as
it interfaces with existence. The dénouement is the nal
revealing of the policy solution as it is actualised ‘over
time’ upon the policy target area. The policy outcome
is the effect of policy ‘over time’ and ‘in the moment’.
The research ndings indicated that either by design,
or unexpectedly, policy can be applied in stages with
the intent to phase-in the policy outcome. Therefore,
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the policy outcome is a diachronic process to reach
the nal policy goal and is also in a diachronic process
as it reaches the policy goal. In this sense, the policy
outcome is in an ever-changing state which is subject to
the causation of the policy framework but is independent
in the sense that it changes ‘over time’ as it interfaces
with existence. The research ndings indicated that both
endogenous and exogenous factors inuence the policy
outcome. Logically, as the policy network actualises the
policy dénouement and applies it to existence, the policy
outcome is then in a state of ontogeny, in the sense that
it has entered a life cycle subject to time and space, and
therefore, evolution, in the sense that it is in a continual
process of development.
D9. Policy evolution
Within the context of policy diachronic outcome,
which is subject to space and time, policy evolution is
a phylogenetic process. Policy evolution is phylogenetic
inasmuch as it is the historical development of the policy
outcome. The policy outcome is never quiescent and can
only be measured in reference to its historical effect,
and effect ‘in the moment’ which becomes less valid
with change ‘over time’. The research ndings indicated
that policy evolution reveals positive aspects of policy
implementation. Negative aspects of policy evolution can
also be known. The research ndings indicated that policy
evolution is intrinsic to policymaking inasmuch as policy
is subject to space and time, but also extrinsic in the sense
that the policy external concept, as applied in the new
ethos, can provide an evolutionary structure in the form
of implementation stages. Additionally, the interaction
of the synchronic theoretical framework promotes
evolution based upon the measured amount of deviation
or divagation from the original concept, or the need for
deviation or divagation from the original concept because
of empirical evidence which promotes such change.
Any aspect of policy evolution which is measurably
degenerative is categorised as policy devolution.
D10. Policy devolution
Policy devolution follows the emergence of policy
evolution. As no policy is conceived perfectly, no policy
can be implemented perfectly in the sense that policy
cannot be complete in all respects, and without defects.
Therefore, policy outcomes are subject to devolution
whereby there is a degeneration of policy evolution. The
research ndings indicated that there can be intentional
devolution of policy outcome. Additionally, policy
devolution can take the form of unforeseen effects.
These examples of policy devolution describe a process
whereby the evolution of policy outcome degenerates
from the original policy concept. The devolutionary
process leads to a state of policy involution. Policy
involution is a retrograde or degenerative change. The
research ndings have indicated that policy involution
occurs after a period of policy devolution, particularly
if the policy outcome framework was ill-conceived, and
if policy intervention was non-existent or non-effective.
From conception to devolution, policy measurement
is a diachronic process. Policy measurement reaches
a state of liminality, inasmuch as it is at a boundary or
transitional point between two conditions, in the sense
that it is optimally positioned between what is and what
could be. This is also a liminal point between positive
and normative aspects of policy. In this sense, policy
measurement is circumferential.
D11. Policy measurement
Mensuration is intrinsic to policymaking in the sense
that policy conceptions are formed by measuring a need.
All aspects of the policymaking process are in relation to
that initial measurement. The policy diachronic theoretical
framework is reective of the mensurative process
whereby the need is addressed by conceptualisations
and structures necessary for a remedy in the form of a
policy dénouement. Once the policy dénouement is
applied to existence, an effective mensurative process
begins. The research ndings indicated that once policy
is implemented, a continual review of the policy is
necessary, where policy devolution is measured. The
research ndings indicated that policy mensuration
includes all aspects of policy creation and actualisation,
including extrinsic policy change over time, and its
relevance to the endogenous policy. The measurement of
policy is at an optimal point between the relationship of
the policy outcome, which is a dependent variable, and
policy intervention, which is an independent variable.
Section Summary
Russian policy creation and application can be
conceived as an expanding sphere with a centrobaric
centre, in the sense that the policy noumenon provides
an intellectual centre of gravity for the diachronic
policy theoretical framework. The policy noumenon
is also emanative, in the sense that the integrity of the
noumenon is perceptible in the policy stratal moments.
The stratal moments comprise the policymaking strata
of policy meta-moments, the noumenon, phenomenon,
substratum and superstratum. The moments of the
policymaking framework are directional and represent an
actualisation of policymaking elements ‘over time’. The
diachronic policy framework provides the creation and
implementation of policy ‘over time’, and the synchronic
policy theoretical framework provides the analysis and
actualisation of policy ‘in the moment’.
The interrelated frameworks, and their components,
provide the basis of new theoretical policy learning
ndings derived from Russian power sector liberalisation
policy experience. The next section builds upon this
analysis and assertion by examining the noetic and
phenomenal implications of the frameworks as well as a
focused identication of where new knowledge is being
applied with reference to relevant, extant literature.
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v. dIscussIon
A. Gaps in policy learning theory and implications of
the frameworks
In the course of examining literature related to policy
learning during and after the period of research, the
researcher became sensitive to a theme found amongst
several articles and a book. This recurring theme identied
a gap in research and knowledge, which, in turn, rened
the focus of the MRQ. The following quotes provide
references to a need to conceptualise, study, analyse
(frame) the process and effects of policy learning in the
context of policy implementation over time.
1. “Policy learning is a concept that is advocated but not
adequately conceptualised” [55].
2. “the use of ‘policy transfer’ to explain ‘policy change’
and policy ‘success’ or ‘failure’ does not adequately
separate the policy ‘success’ or ‘failure’ being explained
from processes of ‘policy transfer’”… “researchers
may be better off using alternative theories focusing
more directly on the effects of learning processes or
styles of policy-making on policy outcomes” [56].
3. “In discussions of policy diffusion, particularly through
the adoption of market reforms in the developing
world, learning from the experience of others emerges
as a plausible hypothesis, but it is clearly yet to be
supported by empirical research” [57].
4. “Explanations of the policymaking process rest in
theories and models, which should be, but typically are
not, grounded in a framework” [58].
5. “…a deciency of current policy theory is the inability
to explain how policy knowledge affects policy
formulation, change, the direction of that change, and
outcomes” [59].
6. “The overarching concern is to understand how
knowledge in the process guides our knowledge of
the process and examining the utilisation of policy
analysis and evaluation allows scholars to bridge the
divide. There must be a ‘perpetual ‘back and forth’
between images of the whole and particular details of
time, place, and gure,’ if policy scientists are to draw
conceptual maps of the process and solve problems
within the process” [59; 60].
Sabatier [61] indicated that The Stages Heuristic: “…
divided the policy process into a series of stages-usually
agenda setting, policy formulation and legitimation,
implementation, and evaluation-and discussed some of the
factors affecting the process within each stage. The stages
heuristic served a useful purpose in the 1970s and early
1980s by dividing the very complex policy process into
discrete stages and by stimulating some excellent research
within specic stages-particularly agenda setting” (p. 6).
However, serious shortfalls were experienced with this
framework according to Sabatier [61]: “It is not really a
causal theory since it never identies a set of causal drivers
that govern the policy process within and across stages.
Instead, work within each stage has tended to develop on
its own, almost totally without reference to research in
other stages. In addition, without causal drivers there can
be no coherent set of hypotheses within and across stages”
(p. 6).
B. Implications for policy actualisation and analytical
functions
Once a policy is actualised, as a diachronic process,
policy intervention ‘in the moment’ in the form of analysis
and actualisation can take place. As a policy actualisation
mechanism, the synchronic framework provides a means
to:
re-apply the intelligible grounding of the policy.
have an interventional interface, to provide change in
the policy according to its current existence.
re-conceptualise, as an effect of mensuration.
plan, according to the re-conceptualisation.
implement, according to the re-conceptualisation and
planning.
The analysis function of the synchronic framework
inasmuch as it demonstrates the systematic enquiry of the
life cycle of the policy as a single organism with component
parts without reference to its antecedents. As a policy
analysis mechanism, the synchronic framework provides a
means to analyse the temporal life cycle of policy as a single
organism. This includes:
the condition and effect of the intelligible grounding of
policy.
the frequency and level of analytical interface with
existing policy.
conceptualisation status based upon current mensuration.
the condition and effect of planning based upon the
original conception.
the condition and effect of implementation based upon
the original concept and plan.
As illustrated in Figure 3., infra, the synchronic
framework interfaces with the diachronic framework to
DI AC H RO NI C
SY NC H RO NI C
Figure 3. Synchronic and Diachronic Interface
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provide actualisation and analysis ‘in the moment’.
The diachronic framework provides a means to actualise
and analyse policy ‘over time’. The actualisation function
of the diachronic framework demonstrates the actualisation
of components ‘over time’. Each level assumes the previous
actualised moment. As a policy learning actualisation
mechanism, the diachronic framework provides a means to
actualise policy ‘over time’, in the sense that the original
noumenon and phenomenon are immutable, as they exist
in the past. As the diachronic framework moments become
actualised, the policy outcome becomes independent of the
original concept. The diachronic policy outcome becomes
existential ‘over time’, and only becomes cognitively re-
grounded when interfaced with the synchronic framework.
The diachronic framework demonstrates the systematic
enquiry of the life cycle of the policy as a group of
causally related moments. The diachronic framework is
a mechanism to analyse the origin and evolution of the
policy life cycle. The synchronic framework is dependent
on the existence of the diachronic framework inasmuch
as the synchronic framework becomes actualised when
interfaced with an existing policy which was developed
‘over time’.
C. Implications for policy theory and analysis
The effective importance of the synchronic and
diachronic frameworks begins with the composition
and integrity of the intelligible grounding of the policy
phenomenon. The noumenon, as the intelligible grounding
of policy, should dictate the perceptible moments of policy.
Policy theory was dened as “the total of causal and
other assumptions underlying a policy” [62]. Additionally,
the quality of a policy theory was posited, with assessable
categories such as limitations, structure, and the means of
evaluation [62]. These assumptions have led Hoogerwerf
[62] to conclude that although there was an abundance
of knowledge gained about the effects on policy “there
has, however, been little research into the factors that
determine the structure and the quality of policy theories.
The determinates of the structure and the quality of policy
theories may be found in:
(a) the political subculture
(b) the role of the person
(c) the nature of the political process
(d) the policy eld; and
(e) the inuence of new information” [62]
This statement, supra, and the previous assumptions
about the phenomenon and quality of policy, make a vague
intimation to the existence of policy intelligible grounding,
and perceptible stratal moments, without coming to the
full realisation of their conceptual existence, distinctions
and relationship. This type of analytical vaguery is
also found in literature regarding policy analysis [63].
Although perhaps strictly useful for existential cognition,
public policy analysis was dened as “determining
which of various alternative public or governmental
policies will most achieve a given set of goals in light of
the relations between the policies and goals” [63]. The
implicit assertion made by this denition is that public
policy analysis is disconnected from precognition, the
endogenous ethos, and the phenomenal starting points of
policy. The denition by Nagel [63] implicitly asserts that
policy is an exogenous phenomenon, applied to existence
as a means to reach a goal. It is interesting how Nagel’s
[63] denition is devoid of any reference to what is, but
rather to only what could be: the policy goal. Even the
intimation that there is a ‘relation’ between policies and
goals is an implicit assertion that policy outcomes are not
independent of policy concepts, and that ‘relations’ is an
implication of causative separations between policies and
goals which in effect are integral, constituent elements of
the policy noumenon which are projected into the policy
phenomenon. Some of the conceptual vagaries represented
by literature surrounding policy theory and analysis were
a consequence of the difculties inherent in developing
theories of public policy formation [64]. Indeed, “...public
policy becomes troublesome as a research focus because of
inherent complexity – specically because of the temporal
nature of the process...” [64]. As evidenced by the research,
the temporal nature of the policy process is synchronic
and diachronic in both actualisation and analysis.
Importantly, Greenberg, et al [64] stated, “...improving our
understanding of policy phenomena is clearly possible, if
only through advancing the conceptual sophistication of
theoretical formulations”. There can be an advancement
of conceptual sophistication inasmuch as “the collision
between theory and data, while perhaps frustrating at
rst, can have important benets for both researchers and
theorists [64]. The reasoning from Greenberg, et al [64]
is indicative of the temporal role of induction in theory
formation. The policy analysis dened by Nagel [63] can
be categorised as normative, in the sense that it focused
on a goal, whereas the policy analysis as described by
Greenberg, et al [64] can be categorised as positive, in the
sense that it focused on what is existing in space and time.
D. The Frameworks ‘t’ and relation to pre-existing
frameworks
The frameworks are, at their essence, noetic with a
noumenal projection into phenomenal experience and
practical implementation. Perhaps most importantly for the
understanding of the role, place and ‘t’ of the frameworks
is to distinguish them from existing, developed policy
frameworks found in literature. The seminal article by
Jenkin-Smith and Sabatier [61] identied the “textbook
approach” (p. 175) also called “the Stages Heuristic”
(p. 175) as the traditional policy framework model that
has provided a long-term means for policy analysis.
However, Jenkin-Smith and Sabatier [65] posited that the
Stages Heuristic has outlived their usefulness because of
apparent drawbacks. The frameworks identied in the
research are not necessarily off-setting the existing and
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17
well utilised policy frameworks, but instead provide a new,
alternative, and systematic approach. This is established
a-priori because all of the pre-existing frameworks are
fundamentally phenomenal, without accounting for
noetic and causal moments in the process. Table 1. below
provides a comparative view of the frameworks when
compared to the basic qualities and tenets of pre-existing
policy frameworks. The reference to the Stages Heuristic
and the Advocacy Coalition Framework draws particularly
from Jenkin-Smith and Sabatier [65]. Reference to the
Institutional / Rational Choice Framework is attributed to
Ostrom [66] and the Comparative Approach Framework is
attributed to Schneider and Ingram [67].
The authors, Jenkin-Smith and Sabatier [65] seem to
begin to conceptualise the noetic aspects of policy learning
and change by suggesting that “the principle glue holding
a coalition together is agreement over policy core beliefs”
(p. 183). Again, the authors refer to an aspect of a noetic
framework without quite dening it: “…the only way to
change the policy core attributes of governmental policy is
through some shock originating outside the subsystem…”
(p. 183). This could be interpreted as a reference to the
synchronic – diachronic relationship of a policy learning
framework. The depth of conceptualisation is limited
at the insufciently abstracted phenomenal level and
perhaps inadequate use of words to convey meaning. An
assumption based on a reading of literature can be made,
therefore, that the frameworks derived from the research
data are not related to pre-existing framework concepts,
but they do provide a more abstracted and holistic means
for policy learning and causal analysis.
vI. concLusIon
A. Policy theory implications
The nding of policy learning frameworks that were
derived from indicators and themes in the data provides
a means for a deeper understanding of actualisation and
analysis of Russian liberalisation policy over time. The
learning frameworks have implications for broader policy
theory in the Russian context; Russian economic policy;
and concepts of causation and change over time.
The frameworks hold internal and external validity
inasmuch as they are derived and abstracted from
intellectual and empirical data. The frameworks provide
structure for international policy learning and discovery
and have applicability in public and private sector policy
actualisation and analysis.
The frameworks can be used to dissect and develop
policy and associated theory ‘over time’, in the areas
of policy intelligible grounding and quantication of
the policy components. Policy theory is also further
developed by the frameworks ‘in the moment’ in the sense
that the clarity applied to the interface between existing
policy and (re)actualisation of policy provides a means
Policy Learning Frameworks
Description
Synchronic and Diachronic Frameworks
Noetic / Cognitive
Phenomenal
Intrinsically relational (two frameworks)
Policy ‘moments’ with intrinsic causality
Policy change in the moment and long term
Policy learning in the moment and long term
Dynamic
Holistic focus
Aggregate unit of analysis is abstracted conception
The Stages Heuristic Framework
Phenomenal
Breaks policy process into standard sub-processes
Lacks causality
Lacks relational aspect between segments
Focus on outcomes
Top-down focus
Limited to temporal unit of analysis
Advocacy Coalition Framework
Phenomenal
Policy change over long periods
Policy learning over shorter periods
Focus on policy sub-systems
Causal conceptualisations of public policies
Aggregate unit of analysis is holistic policy domain (actors)
Institutional / Rational Choice Framework
Phenomenal
Focus on individual institutions
Assumptive of rationality in policy decision-making
A-posteriori analysis justification of policy process rather than a-priori
Comparative Framework
Phenomenal
External in scope
Systematic approach by disaggregating external policy elements
Aggregate unit of analysis is pre-existing policy model
Table 1. Comparative view of policy frameworks.
Energy Systems Research, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2020Marcel Lamoureux
18
to reconceptualise an immutable rst concept, based on
measurable, empirical evidence.
The research ndings support Littlechild’s [13] general
assertion that there are distinctions between countries,
but the basic elements of liberalisation can apply to
‘learning’ entities with evolving, contextualised policy and
implementation.
B. Recommendations for future research
With reference to Russian power sector liberalisation
with infrastructural and policy tenet integration with
external entities, the following four points are recommended
for future research:
1. The degree and effects of internal ‘coercive
isomorphism’ should be studied with the aim of
examining the potential proportionate attenuation of
policy evaluation and reexive policy learning.
2. The effects of broad marketisation and institutional
change over time on the implementation of micro-
level power sector or networked industry liberalisation
policy.
3. The dynamic relationship between adapting a meta-
liberalisation policy in the power sector while physically
integrating the power system with other countries with
distinct, mixed-market policy directions.
4. Counterfactual studies of the power sector: structural,
operational, and investment alternatives to liberalisation
policy.
With a broader, theoretical view built upon some
of the empirical ndings, the following two points are
recommendations for new or extended theoretical research:
1. The constituent and unied concepts within the policy
learning frameworks are all opportunities for further
research. The frameworks themselves are ‘theoretical’
and are elements of noetic and phenomenal criteria and
parameters of policy learning theory. However, starting
points for further theory development can be found in
the frameworks’ conceptual and relational properties
and their interface with reality.
2. The frameworks, as a matter of policy validity
verication, should be utilised as a means of analysing
on-going Russian power sector liberalisation and other,
international policy learning processes. Because of
the nature of policy learning and change, it is possible
that, given a longer period of time and additional
resources, the components of the frameworks can
change, and relational properties reassessed, along with
a redenition of policy learning and learning moments
over time.
Despite the fact that power sector liberalisation policy
experiences such as Britain’s were frequently touted as
international models to be emulated, the Russian experience
with liberalisation policy change and direction of change,
inclusive of causation, motivation, policy creation, policy
learning, and implementation, indicated that although
valuable, prominent international models cannot be wholly,
successfully transplanted without being integrated with
the political, legal and industrial realities of the learning
entity. This nding, and its policy learning theoretical
underpinnings, led to an identication of internally and
externally valid, intelligible policy learning frameworks
for the analysis and actualisation of public policy.
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Marcel Lamoureux is a political
scientist and social theorist. He holds a
Ph.D. in political science from Glasgow
Caledonian University, Glasgow,
Scotland, UK; an M.A. in continental
philosophy from Staffordshire
University, Stoke-on-Trent, UK; an
M.A. in management from Norwich
University, Northeld, Vermont, USA;
and a B.A. in philosophy from Wadhams
Hall College, Ogdensburg, New York,
USA. Dr. Lamoureux has over 30
years of experience in the electric utility
industry, and academia. He resides in
Florida, USA.
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