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    Understanding policy and change: using a political economy analysis framework

    Andreas, B, Fernie, S and Dainty, A (2022) Understanding policy and change: using a political economy analysis framework. Construction Management and Economics, 40 (11-12). pp. 865-883. ISSN 0144-6193

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    The gap between the intent and the impact of policy for construction in the UK has been well established both in academic literature and in public discourse, contributing to repeated calls for transformation of the industry. The apparent failure of policy was investigated, taking policy at sector level as the unit of analysis. The objective was to both generate insight into the policy process and to establish a theoretical framework. Anticipating that the use of language, and the conflicting meanings attached to it by individual actors, is critical, an interpretive, abductive, research design was adopted. Twenty semi-structured interviews were carried out with a cross-section of industry actors. Methods of political economy analysis, used in other contexts, were adopted as the starting point for abduction. Analysis revealed flawed assumptions amongst stakeholders regarding the extent of the agency of central government in implementing change across such a heterogeneous and loosely coupled sector. Political economy analysis shows the impact of structural and institutional features on the sector in a systemic and holistic way, providing a template and visual model which supports collaborative and reflexive working, and forming a foundation for further research into policy for construction both in the UK and elsewhere.

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