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Policy Studies

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Policy integration: mapping the different concepts

Jale Tosun & Achim Lang

To cite this article: Jale Tosun & Achim Lang (2017) Policy integration: mapping the different
concepts, Policy Studies, 38:6, 553-570, DOI: 10.1080/01442872.2017.1339239

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https://www.tandfonline.com/action/journalInformation?journalCode=cpos20
POLICY STUDIES, 2017
VOL. 38, NO. 6, 553–570
https://doi.org/10.1080/01442872.2017.1339239

Policy integration: mapping the different concepts


Jale Tosuna and Achim Langb
a
Institute of Political Science, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany; bInstitute of Public Management,
Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Winterthur, Switzerland

ABSTRACT ARTICLE HISTORY


A growing number of studies have examined the collaboration of Received 7 October 2016
actors from two or more policy domains in order to integrate aims Accepted 2 June 2017
and concerns derived from one policy domain into another. In our
KEYWORDS
literature review, we refer to this empirical phenomenon as ‘policy Boundary-spanning policy
integration’, exemplified by the Health in All Policies approach. regimes; comprehensive
Despite the wealth of literature on the subject, the scientific planning; holistic
community only has access to a portion of the insights that have government and governance;
come out of this field of research, due primarily to the fact that joined-up government; policy
policy integration is discussed using a variety of different terms, coherence; policy integration
which tend to be specific to the policy domain under and mainstreaming; whole of
investigation. To facilitate a more inclusive scientific debate on government
policy integration, we provide a comprehensive overview of the
different terminologies associated with policy integration and
analyse the recurring themes in the respective literature strands.
What is the motivation for policy-makers to promote policy
integration? What is the design of the instruments used for policy
integration? How does policy integration affect the policy-making
process? And how well does policy integration perform? These are
the four questions guiding our study.

Introduction
Governments have traditionally reacted to policy problems by proposing and adopting
specialised policy measures. Generally speaking, such an approach is quite effective, as
it tends to foster policy expertise (Peters 2015, ix). Governing through specialised policies,
however, is not without its limitations, and in certain cases, may even lead to policy fail-
ures (see e.g. Howlett and Ramesh 2014). For example, policies aimed at mitigating climate
change would be short-sighted if they only included policy measures from the narrow field
of climate policy; instead, approaches must also take measures from adjacent policy areas
into account, such as agriculture, development cooperation, economy, energy, environ-
ment, trade, and transport (Adelle and Russel 2013, 5). Consequently, the success of
climate mitigation policies crucially depends on how well such policies are ‘integrated’
with other sectorial policies (see e.g. Van Asselt, Rayner, and Persson 2015).
We can observe similar policy integration attempts in other policy fields. For example,
the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in 2015 to fight
poverty and inequality represent a particularly ambitious effort to achieve policy

CONTACT Jale Tosun jale.tosun@ipw.uni-heidelberg.de


© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
554 J. TOSUN AND A. LANG

integration across multiple sectors (see e.g. Le Blanc 2015; Van de Pas et al. 2017). While
the SDGs are a recent phenomenon, the idea that inter-sectorial policy action may be
needed to attain certain goals is certainly not. The World Health Organization (WHO)
called for such an approach as early as 1979 with the adoption of its Health for All Strat-
egy, which eventually induced policy-makers in the European Union (EU) to adopt the
Health in All Policies approach in 2006 (Ollila 2011, 11).
The term ‘policy integration’ as such was introduced by various international govern-
mental organisations (IGOs) in the 1990s. Realising that clients of labour market pro-
grammes may also require services related to education and training, finance, and
health, the International Labour Organization (ILO) created the Policy Integration
Department and the Policy Coherence Initiative to support national governments in
adopting policy portfolios with coherent cross-sectorial policy instruments and goals
(Rodríguez-Pose 2002; Köhler 2011). Likewise, the World Bank has promoted the inte-
gration of environmental policy with other sectorial policies, which has become known
as ‘environmental mainstreaming’ (Biermann, Davies, and van der Grijp 2009; Nunan,
Campbell, and Foster 2012).
The latter point brings us to our main motivation for preparing this literature review,
that is, the plethora of terms under which the integration of inter-sectorial public policies
are discussed. While the richness of terminology found in the literature constitutes a
strong point, it also makes it more difficult to utilise the full scope of conceptual and
empirical insights from extant studies.
The variety of different terms is due to the fact that policy integration concepts stem
from the ‘practitioners’ world’ (see e.g. Jordan and Lenschow 2010; Peters 2015), in
which policy innovations are given new labels so they can be attributed to a specific
IGO or (sub-)national government. From this, it follows that the first goal we pursue in
this piece is to map the different terminologies and logics under which policy integration
is discussed in the literature with a view to facilitate a comprehensive scientific debate by
identifying both recurring themes and research lacunas. To attain this second goal, we
follow the template by Turnpenny et al. (2009) and assess the insights offered by the lit-
erature against the following guiding questions: What is the motivation for policy-makers
to promote policy integration? What is the design of the instruments used for policy inte-
gration? How does policy integration affect the policy-making process? How well does
policy integration perform?
The remainder of this article unfolds as follows. First, we give some conceptual clarifi-
cations on policy integration before reviewing the literature. Then, we answer the four
guiding questions and identify avenues for future research. In the final section, we sum-
marise our major insights and make some concluding remarks.

Conceptual clarifications on policy integration


In this study, we are interested in policy integration, which can manifest itself in different
ways, but is always characterised by the cooperation of actors from different policy
domains – or policy sectors; we use both terms interchangeably here. Policy domains
are defined as relatively stable actor coalitions, including the institutions they installed
in the pursuit of their shared interests (Trein 2017). Policy process theories refer to
policy domains or sectors as policy subsystems (see Sabatier and Weible 2014).
POLICY STUDIES 555

The Health in All Policies approach is useful for illustrating the concept of policy inte-
gration. Following Ollila (2011, 13–14), health concerns can be integrated into inter-sec-
torial policy-making in the following four ways. First, policy sectors other than health can
be encouraged or explicitly asked to adopt policies that advance the health objectives.
Second, policy integration can consist of launching specific policy measures that help to
mutually attain the objectives of health policy and other policy sectors. Third, actors
from the health sector can make their health expertise available to other policy sectors.
This approach would mean that the health sector strives to promote health objectives
through systematic cooperation with other policy sectors. Fourth, policy integration can
be realised by assessing and possibly addressing the health effects of policy proposals
from other policy sectors.
The first and the third form of policy integration – as illustrated by the example of the
Health in All Policies approach – are similar to the extent that they seek to create inter-
dependencies between two or more policy domains and to attain the desired degree of
integration by means of cooperation and coordination (see e.g. Peters 1998, 2015; Bolleyer
2011). The second and the fourth form are distinct as they refer to policy integration as a
process that occurs at a meta-level and involves the use of specific instruments designed to
integrate a set of considerations, issues, and stakeholders across different policy domains
(see e.g. Candel and Biesbroek 2016). The fourth form of policy integration as detailed by
Ollila (2011) in fact more specifically corresponds to the instrument of policy appraisal,
such as regulatory impact assessments (see e.g. Owens, Rayner, and Bina 2004; Turnpenny
et al. 2009; Radaelli and Meuwese 2010).
Therefore, it is important to note that policy integration most fundamentally consists of
two approaches. The first is to create interdependencies between different policy sectors
and to then coordinate these (see e.g. Bolleyer 2011). Metcalfe (1994) and Braun (2008)
advance scales for measuring the degree of cooperation and coordination among govern-
ment departments, ranging from independent to shared decision-making. The second
approach to realise policy integration is by means of specific policy instruments, mostly
of a procedural rather than substantive nature (see Peters 2015, 4).
An illustrative example for the coordination of sectorial-interdependence is the Policy
Coherence Initiative for Growth, Investment and Employment (PCI), which exemplifies
the relationship between the process and the outcome dimensions of policy integration.
The PCI assists countries in adopting policies that support objectives to generate economic
growth and decent work for all. To this end, the PCI created an informal group consisting
of the ILO, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, UN Development Program, UN
Conference on Trade and Development, UN Children’s Fund, and other UN agencies
to establish employment policy recommendations (Köhler 2011). Coordination across
the organisations from different policy domains was necessary due to the imbalance of
the goals promoted by these organisations (see also Fergusson and Yeates 2014). The
PCI created informal meetings and established monitoring reports in order to increase
accountability and encourage leadership among the executive heads of the international
agencies (World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization 2004). While
the PCI also participated in the development of integrated employment policies in
some countries such as in Liberia (ILO 2012, 34), its main objective is the facilitation of
inter-organisational coordination, which is, however, a less demanding goal than policy
integration.
556 J. TOSUN AND A. LANG

In the following, we centre our analysis on policy integration – one example of several
terms used for indicating that actors from different domains must collaborate with a view
to solve a policy problem. In doing so, however, we will not focus on the literature that
deals exclusively with public sector coordination (see e.g. Metcalfe 1994; Peters 1998,
2015; Braun 2008; Jordan and Schout 2008), but only on studies that discuss coordination
in the context of policy integration and related concepts. Moreover, we acknowledge the
literature on policy appraisal to the extent that policy appraisal can be used as an instru-
ment to attain or improve policy integration (Turnpenny et al. 2009, 648; see also Owens,
Rayner, and Bina 2004; Russel and Jordan 2009).

Policy integration and alternative concepts: insights from the literature


We begin the literature review with government-centred concepts and then turn to gov-
ernance-centred ones. The individual concepts are presented chronologically.

Government-centred concepts
It is widely acknowledged that comprehensive planning as a term first emerged in urban
planning in the US in the 1950s (Chapin 2012), but the concept as such was already recog-
nised by the Perth Metropolitan Town Planning Commission as early as 1930 (Albrechts
2006, 1149). Central to this concept are the central planning office and the development of
a master plan, both of which guide the evaluation of proposals by specialist planners and
help coordinate their activities (Altshuler 1965). From this perspective, comprehensive
planning is a classic approach that fosters coordination with the view to attain multiple
goals in urban planning.
Over the years, the concept travelled to other world regions (see e.g. Glasbergen 1992;
Albrechts 2006; Smith et al. 2010; Bailey 2014). For example, Chile was among the first – at
the time – non-Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
countries to experiment with this approach in metropolitan transportation planning.
The Regional Master Plan adopted in 1960 was a response to the congestion levels and
environmental concerns in the country’s capital Santiago. The comprehensive planning
efforts to combat the growing traffic were maintained and even updated in 1994 with
the adoption of the Santiago Regulatory Plan, which defined urban growth limits, devel-
oped urban sub-centres with the view to improve the distribution of services, promoted
density increases throughout most urbanised areas as well as prescribed the conservation
of fossil fuels (Lee and Rivasplata 2001).
The concept of policy coherence was first used by the OECD’s Development Assistance
Committee in a report published in 1991. It gained currency through publications from
the OECD (2009) and the EU Commission (2007) on policy coherence in the field of
development cooperation. It therefore comes as no surprise that the policy coherence
debate revolves around development policy and the goal of creating synergies between
aid and non-aid policies (see e.g. Carbone 2013).
The best example for development policy coherence is the adoption of the Millennium
Development Goals – the predecessors of the SDGs – which led to the definition of targets
across a wide range of policy domains that are mutually reinforcing (see Sachs 2012). More
generally, development policy coherence refers to the actions taken by developed countries
POLICY STUDIES 557

to support developing countries, though it can also be found in assessments of regulatory


reforms implemented in developing countries.
In analytical terms, policy coherence, like comprehensive planning, stresses the need for
coordination but also emphasises cooperation and political leadership as necessary concepts
for attaining coherence across different sectorial policy goals (May et al. 2005; May, Sapo-
tichne, and Workman 2006). More precisely, May, Jochim, and Sapotichne (2011) argue
that policy coherence is more likely to succeed in general policy domains (such as environ-
mental protection or public health) than group-specific (such as measures for families or the
elderly) or spatially limited (such as rural or urban) policy domains. Policy coherence
becomes more demanding with an increasing number of affected interests. Finally, policy
coherence is more likely to be successful when there are institutions that facilitate the inte-
gration process, such as appropriate parliamentary committees or executive agencies.
The following three concepts have in common that their starting point is the traditional
‘silo’ approach adopted in public sector organisation, which does not consider issues that
cut across traditional responsibilities (Christensen, Fimreite, and Lægreid 2014). This
‘siloisation’ or ‘pillarisation’ of the public sector is widely perceived to have increased in
the New Public Management era (Perri 6 1997, 1999; Peters 1998, 2015; Pollitt 2003;
Christensen, Fimreite, and Lægreid 2014). As a result, in the UK, the Blair government
advanced the concept of holistic government in the mid-1990s to overcome the overly
narrow approach adopted by the public sector – predominantly in the area of urban pol-
icies (Mawson and Hall 2000), including housing and disaster management. Studies
employing this concept advocate the use of specific and arguably more integrative
policy instruments and processes, thereby demonstrating clear linkages to the literature
on policy instruments (Howlett and Ramesh 2014; Howlett, Mukherjee, and Woo 2015)
and on policy appraisal (Owens, Rayner, and Bina 2004; Turnpenny et al. 2009). Holistic
government has mostly been studied in the context of the UK, but as we will see in the next
section, the very closely related concept of holistic governance has diffused to other world
regions, including China (Gao, Song, and Zhu 2013).
Joined-up government (JUG), with a focus on addressing social exclusion, emerged in the
early 2000s and replaced the concept of holistic government in the UK (Cabinet Office 1999,
2000; see e.g. Clark 2002; Bogdanor 2005; Hood 2005; Whitehead, Jones, and Pykett 2011;
Carey, McLoughlin, and Crammond 2015; Trein, Meyer, and Maggetti 2017). JUG was
designed to increase both the effectiveness and the efficiency of public administration by
eliminating organisational redundancies and a lack of resources as well as by providing
better and more integrated coordination in public administration (Ling 2002, 616).
JUG pointed to new forms of administrative cooperation, enabling public authorities to
successfully work together, and new types of accountability and incentives in order to
effectively align different public authorities (Clark 2002; Ling 2002). Similar to holistic
government, JUG was adopted by countries beyond the UK (see e.g. Davies 2009).
Norway, for instance, has introduced a JUG approach to its welfare system and established
a new government agency responsible for employment and welfare services (Christensen,
Fimreite, and Lægreid 2014). Likewise, in 2007, the Australian government adopted a JUG
approach to attain social inclusion and to improve the well-being of Australian citizens.
Through the assessment of this policy agenda, Carey, McLoughlin, and Crammond
(2015) arrive at an important insight, namely that policy integration is most likely to
work if goals, instruments, and processes are consistent and compatible.
558 J. TOSUN AND A. LANG

Analytically, the concepts of holistic government and JUG are a bit challenging, as they
‘were designed as political terms as much as or more than they were intended to provide
analytical leverage for scholars’ (Peters 2015, 7). As a result, the majority of studies employ-
ing these two concepts provide many valuable insights as to how coordination efforts can
provide policy integration. Nevertheless, it is only recent studies that integrated these two
political approaches with tools for policy analysis (see e.g. Christensen, Fimreite, and
Lægreid 2014; Carey, McLoughlin, and Crammond 2015). Peters (2015, 7) points out
what is perhaps the most interesting feature of these two concepts and argues that attaining
policy integration, the aim of both holistic government and JUG, requires a reframing of
policies to generate common ideas regarding the causes of and remedies for policy problems
(on this point, see e.g. Béland 2007). To add to Peters’ assessment, another analytical value
of the JUG concept in particular is that it considers the use of policy instruments that may be
conducive to addressing issues that cut across policy domains, such as policy appraisal.
The literature on the whole of government (WOG) deals with ‘public service agencies
working across portfolio boundaries to achieve a shared goal and an integrated govern-
ment response to particular issues’ (Kickbusch 2010, 12; for an overview see Trein,
Meyer, and Maggetti 2017). Health policy has been WOG’s main focus, followed by
environmental policy (see e.g. Morrison and Lane 2005). Geographically, Australia and
New Zealand have been at the centre of scholarly studies employing this concept (see
e.g. Humpage 2005). WOG summarises recent developments of inter-departmental and
inter-administration coordination, such as performance and output measures and organ-
isational tools of government (see e.g. Boston and Pallot 1997). Such tools include new
cabinet committees, inter-ministerial or inter-agency collaborative units, or task forces
(Christensen and Laegreid 2007, 1061). These new organisational ‘super-structures’
depend on a cultural foundation denoting information sharing and knowledge manage-
ment as well as the alignment of top-down policies with bottom-up issues (Management
Advisory Committee 2004).
The idea of WOG has also spread to developing countries (e.g. Christensen and Gazley
2008). The literature not only discusses how WOG has diffused, but also includes studies
explaining why developing countries’ governments deliberately decide against adopting
such an approach. Ghana is a case in point: the country has been searching for models
to reform its public sector organisations for a several decades, among which the WOG
approach was considered. However, in 2013, when the government ultimately undertook
a reform, it adopted a sector-driven model with a marked top-down character – the antith-
esis of the WOG model. According to Ohemeng and Ayee (2016), the sector-driven model
was chosen over WOG because the government embraced the concept of the so-called
developmental state, which rests on the principle that the state should intervene in the
economy and guide the direction and pace of economic development, as has been prac-
ticed by various East Asian countries.

Governance-centred concepts
Governance-centred concepts of integration strongly emphasise service delivery and issues
of policy implementation and effectiveness or efficiency. In contrast to the government-
centred concepts, these concepts are less concerned with the notion of hierarchical steering
than they are with how policy problems can be solved.
POLICY STUDIES 559

Horizontal governance emerged in the early to mid-1990s and covers a range of predo-
minantly prescriptive approaches to service delivery and management. It entails supple-
menting or replacing government by establishing and strengthening horizontal
networks of different governmental units to increase policy coordination, collaboration,
and shared responsibility (e.g. Bolleyer 2011; Giessen 2011a). Horizontal governance prin-
cipally seeks to evaluate the strategies policy-makers adopt while moving away from hier-
archical government. This literature introduces the bottom-up perspective to policy
integration and demonstrates how horizontal governance and vertical government inter-
act. Studies in horizontal governance focus heavily on interest and power structures, which
have the potential to culminate in competition and conflict.
Empirically, horizontal governance has also been addressed in the context of health
policy in line with the specifications of the 2005 Bangkok Charter for health promotion.
Horizontal governance in this field deals with expanding health policy recommendations
to policy domains that transcend national boundaries, such as trade and foreign policy.
Furthermore – and in contrast to the WOG approach, which is also associated with
health policy – horizontal governance calls for the participation of civil society and the
private sector (Kickbusch 2010, 15).
Horizontal governance has, however, also spread to other policy domains. In 2005, the
US Congress recommended the management of marine ecosystems to be based on the idea
of horizontal governance. As Vousden (2016) shows, this idea then diffused to African
countries such as Comoros by means of financial and technical support provided by IGOs.
Holistic governance emerged during the mid-1990s around the same time as holistic
government (discussed in the previous section). The approach deals with modifying
current governance structures in order to achieve the effective and efficient delivery of
intended policy outcomes (Pollitt 2003). According to Perri 6 (1997, 1999), this can be
attained by collaboration, coordination, cooperation, and integration of policies. Interests
and political dynamics have not been systematically explored within the corresponding
literature.
In 2011, China began building an e-government strategy, which Gao, Song, and Zhu
(2013) evaluate using the concept of holistic governance. E-government puts forth rules
for using information and communication technology. The progress towards e-govern-
ment is regularly monitored by the UN (see also Kneuer and Harnisch 2016). Gao,
Song, and Zhu (2013) conclude that the Chinese e-government regime is fragmented
and recommend measures for attaining holistic governance, namely strengthening legis-
lation, enhancing business coordination and organisational integration, and advancing
the application of service-oriented e-government.
Policy integration – now defined more narrowly as the respective strand of literature –
concerns policy-making in certain domains that take policy goals of other, arguably adja-
cent, domains into account (Giessen 2011a, 2011b). As a concept, it developed out of a
top-down notion of policy-making in which actors are expected to be aware of policies’
cross-sectorial implications and exhibit a willingness to engage in integration. The litera-
ture on policy integration is dominated by empirical analyses concentrating on issues of
environmental protection and climate change (see e.g. Lenschow 2002; Lafferty and
Hovden 2003; Persson 2007; Urwin and Jordan 2008; Oberthür 2009; Jordan and
Lenschow 2010; Tosun and Solorio 2011; Dupont and Oberthür 2012; Biesbroek et al.
2013; Runhaar, Driessen, and Uittenbroek 2014; Van Asselt, Rayner, and Persson
560 J. TOSUN AND A. LANG

2015). While the original focus of this literature was generally on developed states (and in
particular European countries), newer research has shifted the attention to developing
states (see e.g. Nunan, Campbell, and Foster 2012; Román, Linnér, and Mickwitz 2012).
The literature often suggests that policy integration represents a political goal that must
be attained and outlines the design of integrated policies as promoted by the EU, IGOs,
or national policy-makers.
Studies on environmental policy integration, and climate policy integration in particu-
lar, have concentrated on ‘bottlenecks holding back integration’ (Lenschow 2002; see also
Turnpenny et al. 2008; Jordan and Lenschow 2010). In doing so, they primarily illuminate
the political power and policy preferences of the relevant actors, while also highlighting
how these bottlenecks can be overcome. Urwin and Jordan (2008), for instance, point
to the importance of public support, while Oberthür (2009) discusses the extent to
which international institutions can help enhance environmental policy integration.
Ross and Dovers (2008) explicitly shed light on actors’ preferences and strategies when
analysing policy integration in Australia. Nilsson and Nilsson (2005) argue that the
success of policy integration measures depend on the framing of policy problems. Building
on case studies from Brazil, China, and Mozambique, Román, Linnér, and Mickwitz
(2012) show that although development policies can serve as a vehicle for combatting
climate change, the success of such policy integration attempts critically depend on a
minimum level of human and institutional capacity.
A concept that is often used interchangeably with policy integration is policy main-
streaming (see e.g. Nunan, Campbell, and Foster 2012). There is good reason for addres-
sing these two concepts together, since ‘mainstreaming is actually defined as integration’
(Brouwer, Rayner, and Huitema 2013, 135). This concept was first mentioned in the
context of gender equity, education, and anti-poverty policies (see e.g. Jacquot 2010),
but recently it has increasingly been applied to governing climate change and the environ-
ment (see e.g. Visseren-Hamakers 2015). The European Commission played an important
role in the development of this concept by publishing its Social Policy Green Paper in
1993, which recommends that social programmes should integrate education, training,
and employment (Mabbett 2005, 108). Likewise, in the last few years, the nexus approach
has been promoted by the World Economic Forum, which is about coordination among
different policy domains, including climate change, energy, food and agriculture, and
water (Visseren-Hamakers 2015, 139).
The point of departure for the boundary-spanning policy regime approach – as the most
recently emerged concept – is the existence of policy problems that concern at least two
different policy domains (Trein 2017). May, Jochim, and Sapotichne (2011) suggest a
theoretical model highlighting the convergence or divergence of policy-makers’ attention
to certain issues and their solutions in different policy subsystems. The authors identify
three factors responsible for the degree of convergence or divergence. The first is the
nature of linkages between the relevant policy subsystems and how the linkages structure
the processing of boundary-spanning problems. In this context, the authors differentiate
between tightly linked policy subsystems, involving the serial processing of issues, and
loosely linked policy subsystems, involving the parallel processing of issues. The former
leads to convergence while the latter fosters divergence in policy-making. The second
factor is the extent to which the relevant publics converge or diverge in their treatment
of the issues and their potential solutions. The third factor is the degree of agreement
POLICY STUDIES 561

between the subsystem actors over the nature of the underlying problem and possible
solutions to it.
Empirically, boundary-spanning policy regimes are discussed in the context of anti-
terror and homeland security measures in developed countries, mostly the US (May,
Jochim, and Sapotichne 2011; LaPira 2014). In this context, LaPira (2014), for instance,
shows that the creation of the homeland security regime shifted the interest groups
towards this regime and even helped to mobilise new interest groups. Developing this
concept further to apply to the so-called functional regulatory space, Varone and col-
leagues (2013) analyse the integrated management of water basins and the regulation of
the European airspace as an attempt to address a ‘wicked’ problem.

Evaluation of the research questions


After having summarised the research on policy integration and related concepts, we can
now turn to the research questions formulated above. By answering the research questions,
we will be able to identify promising lines of future research on policy integration.

Motivation to promote policy integration


Research on policy integration and related concepts is closely associated with programmes
adopted by national governments or IGOs that are driven by ambitions to solve a given
policy problem or to improve public service delivery. The latter was the main goal of
the political decisions to adopt the programmes on holistic government and governance,
JUG, and WOG: they were conceived as responses to prior developments in public admin-
istration that had adverse effects on public service delivery. In this context, the most
important problem to be addressed by these three concepts was siloisation/pillarisation
as a consequence of New Public Management (see e.g. Christensen and Laegreid 2007;
Christensen, Fimreite, and Lægreid 2014). The literatures on comprehensive planning,
JUG, policy coherence, policy integration, and WOG suggest that cross-sectorial policies
may be the result of functionalist considerations (Ling 2002), that is, the ambition to solve
a howsoever defined policy problem by incentivising cooperation between different gov-
ernment departments.
The body of research reviewed above also points to various types of ‘external demands’
as drivers of policy integration (see e.g. Carbone 2013). The JUG literature considers the
public to be the dominant external driver that demands better and more personalised ser-
vices from public authorities (Bogdanor 2005), whereas studies concentrating on policy
coherence and policy integration stress the role of IGOs that place the issue of integrating
policy measures on the agendas of national governments (Köhler 2011).
Another view argues that integrative measures are established ‘as a conscious organis-
ational design’ based on strategic considerations (Christensen and Laegreid 2007, 1061).
As Turnpenny and colleagues (2009, 642) suggest, policy appraisal – an example of an
integrative policy instrument – can be used to bring in new actors and open up new
venues in politics and public administration to be able to propose and adopt recently
developed policy options. The authors add that it can also be used strategically to delay
the policy-making process and to exert control over government departments and
agencies.
562 J. TOSUN AND A. LANG

Of these motivations for promoting integrative measures, the strategic dimension has
received the least attention and therefore represents the most promising area for future
research. Yet it would be promising to discuss policy integration against the backdrop
of the Punctuated Equilibrium Theory (Baumgartner and Jones 1993) and to explore to
what extent policy integration changes policy images, facilitates venue shopping, and
leads to agenda setting and policy change (see e.g. Workman, Jones, and Jochim 2009).
The functional hypothesis still underlies most of the research regarding policy integration.
This is probably due to the fact that most concepts of policy integration were formulated
by practitioners, who place emphasis on the specific problem at hand and tend to promote
a particular view of societal problems and of supposed policy solutions. Based on the
current body of research, however, we cannot judge whether policy-makers are predomi-
nantly motivated by strategic or functional considerations.

Design of the instruments used for policy integration


A comprehensive conceptual treatise of policy integration is offered by Candel and Bies-
broek (2016), who also detail the instruments policy-makers choose to attain integration.
According to the authors, policy integration is characterised by the adoption of procedural
rather than substantive policy instruments (see Howlett and Ramesh 2014; Howlett,
Mukherjee, and Woo 2015). These include inter-departmental plans, task forces, regulat-
ory impact assessments, funding participants, and monitoring of the participation process
(see e.g. Ross and Dovers 2008; Russel and Jordan 2009; Turnpenny et al. 2009; Jordan and
Lenschow 2010) as well as soft instruments such as mission statements, interaction guide-
lines, and personal leadership (Lang 2016). This suggests that the literature is dominated
by micro-level studies that discuss the nature and selection of specific policies or admin-
istrative techniques.
Micro-management tools are frequently incorporated into government-centred
approaches such as JUG and WOG. Governance-centred approaches such as horizontal
governance or boundary-spanning regimes have developed a macro-perspective on the
coordination process, delineating coordination regimes, and super-structures as the
main integration tools. The state of research could be greatly advanced by paying more
attention to the nexus of micro-management tools and their effects on macro-regime
characteristics and vice versa. Another avenue for future research could be to re-focus
on substantive policies that require actors from different policy sectors to collaborate.
More recently, studies have begun to evaluate policy mixes used to attain policy inte-
gration (see Adelle and Russel 2013; Visseren-Hamakers 2015; Lang 2016). The simul-
taneous use of several different policy instruments obscures the impact singular
instruments have on the outcome of policy integration. Moreover, concentrating on
climate change mitigation, Maor and collaborators (2017) argue that a mix of policy
instruments that are incompatible may yield adverse effects on the policy goal to be
attained.

Impact of policy integration on the policy-making process


There are several conceptual pieces addressing policy integration and related concepts that
aim to develop a framework for analysis, which also includes the question of how policy
integration affects policy-making (see e.g. May, Sapotichne, and Workman 2006; Runhaar,
POLICY STUDIES 563

Driessen, and Uittenbroek 2014; Candel and Biesbroek 2016) or more specifically how
political parties can help attain policy integration (see Bolleyer 2011). One view advanced
in this context is that policy integration can help pluralise politics by bringing in more
actors and interests as well as facilitate the involvement of the public (Turnpenny et al.
2009, 642). While governance-centred approaches generally advocate a widening of par-
ticipation, government-centred approaches are much more reluctant to judge a broad par-
ticipation base as universally positive. Since the government-centred approaches focus on
service delivery, they point to frictions and cultural differences that may result out of over-
arching participation processes.
With regard to the policy-making process more broadly, Candel and Biesbroek (2016)
argue that policy integration increases the number of policy subsystem actors involved.
According to the authors, whether the increased involvement of policy subsystem
actors will produce an opportunity for adopting and implementing integrative measures,
or instead present an obstacle, depends on a number of factors, including the degree to
which the subsystem actors involved share the same beliefs. Other studies point to the
importance of shared policy preferences as well as the actors’ strategies (e.g. Nilsson
and Nilsson 2005; Ross and Dovers 2008) and public support (e.g. Urwin and Jordan
2008). Thus, the management of aims, frames, and public support is key to understanding
the processes of policy integration, and future research may want to elaborate further on
these insights.

Policy integration performance


Similar to the emphasis the relevant literature has placed on the procedural dimension
when examining policy instruments, the process of policy integration also dominates per-
formance assessment. Both effectiveness and efficiency considerations can drive the desire
or need for policy integration (e.g. Runhaar, Driessen, and Uittenbroek 2014). Regarding
effectiveness, we must consider two aspects: first, policy measures unilaterally adopted in
one policy domain may potentially thwart the goals of a policy measure adopted in
another domain. Therefore, by producing an integrated policy measure, contradictions
between the different policy measures can be eliminated, rendering policy goals more
attainable (see Briassoulis 2005). While the first aspect relates to increasing effectiveness
by reducing contradictions between a set of sectorial policies, the second view is that a
given societal problem cannot be resolved unless policies from different sectors are inte-
grated. This perspective underlies the majority of studies on policy integration, but it
becomes particularly visible in treatises drawing on the concept of ‘wicked’ problems
(e.g. Varone et al. 2013). The debates on efficiency then concentrate on the costs incurring
from service delivery. Integrated policy measures are likely to induce lower costs, particu-
larly regarding policy implementation, since ideally, only one public organisation would
be responsible for service delivery (Peters 2015, 8).
It should be noted that many studies adopt a starting point that policy integration is
difficult to attain, and so they tend to focus on factors that are thought to impede inte-
gration (Jordan and Lenschow 2010). From this perspective, the literature has identified
a number of factors that are likely to facilitate the process of integration, and arguably
lead to more desirable policy outcomes. In this context, the need for a centralised
institutional infrastructure to align the instruments originating from different policy
564 J. TOSUN AND A. LANG

domains is inherent to all concepts. Policy coherence and boundary-spanning policy


regimes focus on integrating institutions that increase the coherence of policies (see
May, Jochim, and Sapotichne 2011). JUG and WOG also emphasise the importance of
centralised agencies and centralised leadership. The absence of such an infrastructure is
therefore perceived as a barrier to policy integration.
Future research could explore the consequences of the institutional design of collabora-
tive efforts by recognising the different types of authority that govern these efforts. Provan
and Kenis (2008), for instance, provide a typology of governance modes based on the
degree to which authority is centralised. These governance modes provide the basic insti-
tutional setting in which inter-organisational coordination takes place and policy instru-
ments are enacted. The centralisation of leadership, however, demands certain types of
policy instruments that are based on (positive) incentives rather than command and
control instruments (e.g. Ling 2002). Incentives encourage actors to collaborate and
reach comprises. Along the same lines, WOG and JUG stress the positive effects of per-
formance and output rewards (e.g. Boston and Pallot 1997).
Designing integrated policies can be cumbersome, yet they are often not sufficiently
incentivised by policy domain-specific reward systems. Therefore, policy actors are
more inclined to abandon their customary reward system when they have the opportunity
to compensate the loss by a different, more process-oriented, reward system. Thus, we can
infer from the literature that another difficulty in attaining policy integration is the
absence of appropriate incentives (e.g. Clark 2002).
Several studies reflected on accountability issues and their impact on policy integration
(e.g. Pollitt 2003). It is often argued that traditional models of departmental accountability
have difficulties in coping with cross-departmental collaboration. Government rec-
ommendations thus frequently stress the importance of setting up written rules for gov-
erning the accountability of coordinated efforts. Likewise, sharing budgets appears to
stimulate collaboration among actors from different policy domains (e.g. Ling 2002).
Yet if the dominant administrative cultures do not facilitate these organisational adjust-
ments, policy integration again becomes difficult to attain.
An aspect to be addressed by future research refers to the policy outcomes produced by
policy integration – to date, the literature has paid only scant attention to this question
(but see e.g. May, Jochim, and Sapotichne 2011; Carey, McLoughlin, and Crammond
2015). Nevertheless, the literature offers some indications that policy integration does
not necessarily improve policy performance.
Lastly, more systematic assessments of both the intended and unintended policy out-
comes that are related to integrative measures would be welcome. Put differently, the
study of policy integration may benefit from liaising with scholars working on questions
related to policy design and policy evaluation (e.g. Howlett and Ramesh 2014; Howlett,
Mukherjee, and Woo 2015).

Conclusion
In this review article, we pursued several goals, among which was identifying the different
terminologies under which policy integration has been studied with a view to improving
conceptual clarification. We observed that finding the relevant literature on this topic is a
difficult undertaking not only because of the plethora of terms used to describe policy
POLICY STUDIES 565

integration, but also because of the tendency to use different terms for studies addressing
the different policy domains. Horizontal governance, for instance, is almost exclusively
discussed in health and environmental policy studies, rendering it difficult for scholars
not studying these specific policy domains to be aware of this particular strand of literature
related to the concept of policy integration.
While we have offered improved conceptual clarity on policy integration, there are
additional research gaps that deserve attention by future research. To identify these, we
followed the template offered by Turnpenny and colleagues (2009) and posed the follow-
ing research questions: What is the motivation for policy-makers to promote policy inte-
gration? What is the design of the instruments used for policy integration? How does
policy integration affect the policy-making process? How does policy integration
perform? To address these research questions, we reviewed the literature and benefited
from the recent studies that made laudable attempts to conceptualise policy integration
from the perspective of policy studies (e.g. Candel and Biesbroek 2016).
With regard to the motivation for embracing policy integration, conceptual pieces both
in policy studies (e.g. May, Sapotichne, and Workman 2006; Runhaar, Driessen, and Uit-
tenbroek 2014) and public administration (Peters 1998, 2015) recognise the strategic
dimension of policy integration, but studies still predominantly adopt the functionalist
stance that collaboration is driven by problem-solving. As concerns the instruments
used for policy integration, the literature review highlighted that studies tend to concen-
trate on procedural instruments (e.g. Candel and Biesbroek 2016). In our view, the litera-
ture may benefit from expanding the debate to substantive instruments and to align these
substantial instruments to their procedural equivalents. Furthermore, research on instru-
ment mixes has only recently gained attention and is still in need of substantial research
efforts.
The third dimension addressed the impact of policy integration on the policy-making
process. Again, there is insightful conceptual work (e.g. May et al. 2005; May, Sapotichne,
and Workman 2006; Runhaar, Driessen, and Uittenbroek 2014; Candel and Biesbroek
2016) as well as single case studies reflecting on this question (e.g. Ross and Dovers
2008), but comparative empirical work would advance the state of research even further
(see also Trein, Meyer, and Maggetti 2017).
Finally, we asked how policy integration performs, and we learned that the evaluation
of policy integration again shows a strong orientation towards the procedure rather than
the substance of policy-making. Therefore, we suggest to better link the study of policy
integration with the literature on policy evaluation and more distant theoretical concepts
such as collective intelligence (see e.g. Bourgon 2009), which may offer guidance on how to
assess the performance of policies with regards to their outcomes and impacts (see Jordan
and Lenschow 2010).
In addition to the four avenues discussed above, we noticed that the various concepts of
policy integration have been subject to diffusion processes: they have diffused across
countries as well as – albeit to a more limited extent – across policy sectors. Consequently,
another possibility for future research is examining differences in the diffusion of the
individual concepts in a comparative fashion.
It is clear that the concept of policy integration plays a special role in debates on how to
confront global challenges such as the promotion of public health. In the last few years,
global health networks have proliferated, which promises to improve the global
566 J. TOSUN AND A. LANG

governance of health. However, as Shiffman (2017, 4) notes, effective global health govern-
ance is hampered by disagreement over the degree of policy integration necessary to attain
this goal (see also Tosun 2017). This assessment demonstrates that there is not only an
academic need for a better understanding of the reasons for choosing policy integration
and its forms and effects, but a practical need in terms of policy advice as well.
We hope that this study will trigger a new generation of theoretically informed com-
parative empirical studies in this area. All in all, we are optimistic that this research per-
spective can function as an important bridge between different strands of academic
literature as well as between theory and praxis. To attain the latter, however, the treatise
of policy integration must first become rooted more systematically in policy studies.

Acknowledgements
Previous versions and parts of this paper were presented at the Seventh ECPR General Conference
2013, 4–7 September 2013, Bordeaux, France, and the ECPR Joint Sessions of Workshops, 29
March – 2 April 2015, Warsaw, Poland. The paper also benefitted from discussions at the Marsi-
lius-Kolleg at Heidelberg University and the symposium with the title ‘Cross-Sectoral Policy Inte-
gration: The Strategic Dimension’ held at the International Academic Forum Heidelberg on 28–29
April 2016. We gratefully acknowledge insightful comments by Dietmar Braun, Nicolas Jager,
Moshe Maor, Guy Peters, Jennifer Shore, Philipp Trein, and all other participants of these
events. Rebecca Abu-Sharkh did an excellent job in language editing and Felix Scholl in cleaning
up the references.

Funding
This work was supported by European Cooperation in Science and Technology [grant number
INOGOV – Innovations in Climate Governance (IS1309)].

Notes on contributors
Jale Tosun is Professor of Political Science at the Institute of Political Science at Heidelberg
University, Germany
Achim Lang is Lecturer in Public Governance Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland.

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