This paper reviews the public policy process in the spectrum management policy subsystem in India from the lens of the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF). The ACF is a theoretical lens that is used to bring structure to the inherent complexity of the public policy process. The ACF considers advocacy coalitions, operationalized using common “beliefs”, as the appropriate unit to deal with the multiplicity of actors in the policy subsystem.
In this paper, we perform a content analysis of 144 testimonies submitted by various actors in response to public consultations by the telecommunications regulator. We use a coding frame to identify the stated beliefs of elite actors on con tentious policy issues. We then perform a cluster analysis to operationalize and identify the advocacy coalitions operating in the subsystem in two time periods: from 2008 to 2011 and from 2012 to 2015. The resulting analysis finds strong evidence for existence of advocacy coalitions and a high degree of conflict on contentious policy issues between these coalitions. The evolution of these coalitions as a result of change in underlying technologies is discussed. The ability of competing coalitions to dominate and convert their beliefs into policy outputs by using various instruments and resources has been reviewed.
The paper provides significant insights for policy advocates to influence the policy process in order to achieve their policy objectives. The paper also presents a critique of the ACF as a theoretical lens to analyze the policy process.