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  • Anatomy of a Policy Area: The Case of Shipping 399

    CANADIAN PUBLIC POLICY ANALYSE DE POLITIQUES, VOL. XXIII, NO. 4 1997

    Anatomy of a Policy Area:The Case of ShippingDANIEL HOSSEUS AND LESLIE A. PALSchool of Public AdministrationCarleton UniversityOttawa, Ontario

    Les champs de la politique sont habituellement dfinis par un usage conventionnel plutt que par une analysesystmatique. Cet article est une exprience laide de la mthodologie de lanalyse de frontire qui construitde faon inductive travers laggrgation des sujets et des instruments de politique. laide du cas de lapolitique en matire denvois maritimes, nous dveloppons une liste de 473 sujets tirs partir de plusieursbibliographies et de sources politiques. Ceux-ci sont ensuite aggrgs dans 135 catgories avec les instru-ments de politique qui les accompagnent. Bien que la mthodologie ait des limites videntes, lexprienceet ltude de cas dmontrent quil est possible destimer systmatiquement tous les contenus possible dunchamp politique. Cette approche est suffisament prometteuse pour justifier des raffinements et des applica-tions plus larges toute une gamme de problmes destimation. Cet article est aussi une contribution modeste ltude des instruments politiques qui semble stre arrte ltape de la classification sans beaucoupdanalyse empirique de lapplication des catgories dinstruments.

    Policy fields are usually defined by conventional usage rather than by systematic analysis. This paperexperiments with a methodology of boundary analysis that builds inductively through the aggregation oftopics and policy instruments. Using the case of shipping policy, we develop a list of 473 topics drawnfrom several bibliographical and policy sources. These are then aggregated into 135 categories with accom-panying policy instruments. While the methodology has obvious limitations, the experiment and case studydemonstrate that it is possible to systematically estimate the complete possible contents of a policy field.The approach shows sufficient promise to warrant refinements and broader applications to a wide variety ofestimation problems. It also makes a modest contribution to the study of policy instruments, which hastended to get stuck at the classification stage without much detailed empirical analysis of how and wheninstrument categories actually apply.

    Do policy analysts really know what they aretalking about? For example, how do we knowthe difference between transportation policy and ag-ricultural policy, or between environmental policyand social policy? Pigeon-holing is probably one ofthe most fundamental aspects of any policy analy-sis, and yet also one of the least examined. Policyanalysis and policy development clearly cannot oc-

    cur without some implicit boundaries and catego-ries that define a policy field. Wildavsky thought ofpublic policies as divided into sectors and used aspatial metaphor to argue that these sectors couldbe densely rather than lightly packed (1979,p. 64). In practice, while there may be deductiveprinciples that help define a policy field (e.g., trans-portation policy self-evidently is about moving

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    people and things through space), most analysts relyon conventional understandings of core legislationand instruments (e.g., transportation policy is largelydefined by legislation with the word transportationin it).

    When policy fields are stable or lightly packed,this conventional approach works reasonably well.As turbulence increases and as fields get morecrowded and overlapped, however, the need for pre-cision and more systematic definitions increases.Major changes in policy can have second- andthird-order consequences that impair or change in-stitutions, patterns, and arrangements in unan-ticipated ways (Dror 1971, p. 65). Policies are inti-mately linked: changing one will often affect an-other. To understand what we are doing, we need inthe first instance to know with what we are work-ing. Taking Wildavskys metaphor a step further, weneed to inventory the existing policy space. Forexample, the Canadian government has recentlybegun a review of the Canada Shipping Act. Thecentury-old act is archaic in structure and content,yet constitutes the core of the current policy frame-work for Canadas shipping industry. Over the years,the Shipping Act has spawned a plethora of regula-tions and guidelines, and is referenced by other laws.Any overhaul of the Canada Shipping Act will haveramifications for all these laws, regulations, andguidelines. A systematic, comprehensive, and em-pirical inventory of the policy space would seem tobe a useful prerequisite for an overhaul of core leg-islation such as the Canada Shipping Act. Moreover,a generic inventory methodology could be appliedacross policy fields in any single jurisdiction, andacross the same policy field in different jurisdictions,to allow more precise comparisons of policy pro-files. A careful inventory of a policy space shouldmake for better policy analysis, policy making, andpolicy management, as well as a better generalunderstanding of a policy area.

    This article explores one method of compiling acomprehensive, empirically based policy inventory

    which can serve as a guide to a given policy space,based on William Dunns methodology of bound-ary analysis (Dunn 1994). The Canadian commer-cial marine industry and its governing policy regimewill serve as an illustration. We make several he-roic assumptions throughout, but despite the cru-dity of many aspects of the apparatus, we are con-vinced that the question to which it responds is bothvital and devilishly difficult: If you had to com-pletely describe the contents of policy field X, howwould you do it? This question though not usu-ally put in as pointed a fashion underlies a hugeamount of practical and academic policy analysis,from legislative histories to briefing books to schol-arly monographs. As we noted above, we also be-lieve that as policy fields become more crowded andpolicy making becomes more horizontal (Pal1997), some greater measure of precision in answer-ing this question becomes vital. We hope to showthat a policy inventory is a useful, albeit somewhatunwieldy, tool for both policy management andpolicy analysis. We emphasize that this paper is ex-ploratory, and as we are approaching the subjectfrom a methodological point of view, we hesitate tomake grand claims about its theoretical and practi-cal implications.

    Finally, most readers will detect a whiff of ra-tionalism in this article; after all, we are urginggreater precision in analytical technique, and areoffering an application of one such technique. Therecent argumentative turn (Fischer and Forester1993; Stone 1988) in the policy sciences has em-phasized the social construction of policy problemsand hence, by extension, of policy fields. We haveno desire to reopen the tired and stale debate be-tween constructivists and rationalists. We admit toa cautious belief that better policy can arise (notmust arise) from better technique. Indeed, for ourmore constructivist-leaning readers, the methodol-ogy we propose can be viewed as a species of lin-guistic analysis that tries to make better sense ofthe words people use to describe what they are doing(Dryzek 1990).

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    POLICY INVENTORY

    A policy inventory will be defined as a catalogue oftopics and their associated policy instruments.Schematically, an inventory looks like the table be-low. In theory, a complete inventory will provide alist of all possible topics related to a policy field,though if a government is not addressing that topic,the instrument category will be empty.

    Policy Topic Policy Instrument

    topic 1 policy instrument(s) for topic 1topic 2 policy instrument(s) for topic 2topic ... policy instrument(s) for topic ...topic n policy instrument(s) for topic n

    Policy inventories represent a systematic gridwhich can be applied to policy regimes, i.e., thecollection of specific policies governing a policyarea,1 in other times or jurisdictions, and thus serveas a common basis for comparison. They ensure thatidentical topics are compared.

    TopicsIdeally, a policy topic refers to a very narrow sub-category of a policy area. Topics are headers whichshould capture condition descriptions (which formthe basis of problem definitions2) as objectively aspossible. Every policy field consists of a myriad ofproblems or topics, and typically these are aggre-gated into broader (and more workable) categories.The point of an inventory, however, is to begin withthe smallest policy datum or topic, and aggregatein more systematic and transparent ways. Forexample, a policy topic in the shipping policy fieldmight be air quality. Air quality is a very narrowterm under which a set of condition statements canbe categorized (e.g., the air in ships engine roomstends to cause headaches among crew members whowork there). By keeping the term as neutral as pos-sible, a policy inventorys list of topics can beapplied more readily as a grid or template for

    comparisons across jurisdictions. Readers willimmediately object that the definition of topics willvary across jurisdictions. They do to some extent,but as we show below, there are strong similaritiesas well, in part perhaps because of policy diffusion,emulation, and the increasing salience of globalpolicy regimes.

    Policy InstrumentsWhereas topics are visible terms embedded in thelinguistic field of a policy domain which can besearched for inductively, the policy instrument withwhich that topic is associated is a more abstract cat-egory, and we require some guidance from theexisting literature.

    As a field of study, the analysis of policy instru-ments is itself relatively new. Salamon noted in 1981that the systematic study of the techniques of gov-ernment action has hardly gotten off the groundand that most tools have hardly been scrutinized atall, and there has been a virtual absence of system-atic comparative work analyzing different tools orexamining the changing forms of action as a whole(1981, pp. 262, 263). One exception was the workby Kirschen and colleagues in the early 1960s, build-ing on the 1953 remark by Dahl and Lindblom thata fundamental feature of contemporary governmentwas the proliferation of new techniques of socialaction (1953, p. 8). Kirschen identified five fami-lies of policy instruments: (1) public finance,(2) money and credit, (3) exchange-rate, (4) directcontrol, and (5) changes in institutional framework,which together accounted for 62 distinct instruments(Kirschen et al. 1964). Kirschens is easily the mostdetailed and finely grained schema of policy instru-ments, but there are five others that have attractedacademic attention.

    Hood (1984) developed a typology of instrumentsbased on what he called the NATO scheme, stand-ing for the different resources that governments haveat their disposal to effect policy change. N standsfor nodality or information resources, A for

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    authority, T for treasure or money, and O for or-ganization or personnel. In Hoods framework, gov-ernment is modeled as a cybernetic system, bothacting upon and reacting to its environment, muchlike a thermostat. Pal (1992, p. 143) combined theNATO schema with the Doern and Phidd (1992) ar-gument of a sliding scale of coercion, to present anextended inventory of policy instruments linked tospecific governmental resources and objectives.

    McDonnell and Elmore (1987) proposed ascheme with four classes of instruments: (1) man-dates (rules governing action), (2) inducements(transfers of money), (3) capacity-building (trans-fer of money for the purpose of investment in mate-rial, intellectual, or human resources), and (4) sys-tem-changing (transfer of official authority amongindividuals and agencies to alter the system by whichpublic goods and services are delivered). As theysaw it,

    policymakers face a discrete number of poten-tially powerful choices when they respond to apolicy problem. They can set rules, they can con-ditionally transfer money, they can invest in fu-ture capacity, or they can grant or withdraw au-thority to individuals and agencies. Each of theseoptions is expected to carry a particular effect compliance, production, capacity, or authority.And each carries a package of benefits and costsfor different actors. (p. 12)

    In an important article, Linder and Peters (1989)reviewed the various instrument schemes, and de-termined that several basic classes appeared repeat-edly: 1) direct provision 2) subsidy 3) tax 4) con-tract 5) authority 6) regulation (the only consensusclass), and 7) exhortation (p. 44). Actual policymakers provided this list of instruments: cash grant,government-sponsored enterprise, in-kind transfer,loan guarantee, tax break, fee/charge, certification/screening, government provision, fine, administeredcontract, quota, prohibition, quality standard,jawboning, public promotion, information/demonstration, procedural guideline, insurance,

    loan, licence/permit, price control, public invest-ment, franchise (ibid., p. 53).

    Schneider and Ingram (1993) took a behaviouralapproach to the analysis of instruments, on the as-sumption that public policy almost always attemptsto get people to do things that they might not other-wise do; or it enables people to do things that theymight not have done otherwise (p. 513). They iden-tified five classes of instruments. Authority tools arestatements backed by the legitimate authority ofgovernment that grant permission, prohibit, or re-quire action under designated circumstances(p. 514). Incentive tools rely on tangible payoffs,positive or negative, to induce compliance or en-courage utilization (p. 515). Capacity tools pro-vide information, training, education, and resourcesto enable individuals, groups, or agencies to makedecisions or carry out activities (p. 517). Symbolicand hortatory tools assume that people are moti-vated from within and decide whether or not to takepolicy-related actions on the basis of their beliefsand values (p. 519). Learning tools are used whenthe basis upon which target populations might bemoved to take problem-solving action is unknownor uncertain (p. 521).

    Doern and Phidd (1992, p. 97) argued that thereare five broad categories of policy instruments:(1) self-regulation, (2) exhortation, (3) expenditure,(4) regulation (including taxation), and (5) publicownership. This typology assumed that as one movesfrom the first category to the last, one moves alonga continuum of legitimate coercion. Their argumentwas that all governance in a liberal democracy in-volves some degree of imposition or coercion, andthat politicians generally prefer to use the least co-ercive instrument possible. Within these broad cat-egories, Doern and Phidd identified as many as 26finer graduations of choice such as grants andsubsidies, guidelines, and speeches (p. 112).

    This brief review of the dominant typologies ofpolicy instruments demonstrates that, despite dif-ferent approaches and levels of detail, there is a

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    modest consensus that the core instrument catego-ries appear to be exhortation (information), expen-ditures, regulation (including self-regulation), andtaxes. We will use these categories for the inven-tory. The review also shows, however, that the studyof instruments has been somewhat stagnant in re-cent years. Several typologies have been offered,based on different approaches, but there has beenrelatively little effort expended in actually applyingthe categories in some systematic way in order tounderstand what is going on in a policy field. Ourinventory methodology does precisely this.

    In the policy inventory, then, for the topic pilot-age, for example, the entry for policy instrumentmight read: regulation, Canada Pilotage Act. Forsome topics governments will have chosen to donothing. The entry in the policy instrument columnmight then read: laissez-faire or deliberate inaction.There might also be topics of which governmentsare not aware, i.e., they will not have deliberated onthem and not even the no-action policy instrumentwill have been applied. The policy instrument entrycould then read topic not considered.

    CREATING A POLICY INVENTORY

    A major challenge is to ensure completeness of thecatalogue of topics. How can one be certain that nocrucial element has been ignored? Research meth-ods from the field of history seemed useful at first.Historians describe and analyze the nature of socie-ties for which they have no first-hand experience andfor which only limited sources are available. Yet suchanalysis requires that the description of the studiedsociety is reasonably complete. Wiedman (1986,p. xii) outlines the historical methods four elements:

    the collection of the surviving objects and of theprinted, written, and oral materials that may berelevant,

    the exclusion of those materials (or parts thereof)that are unauthentic,

    the extraction from the authentic material of tes-timony that is credible, and

    the organization of that reliable testimony intoa meaningful narrative or exposition.

    The method really refers to steps in a selection proc-ess and selection is classification. Lipset andHofstadter (1968) note:

    The way in which one looks at data depends inlarge measure on the questions asked, the theoryemployed, and the classifications used. It is ob-vious that in dealing with complex alternativeinterpretations, no matter how rigorous the meth-odology employed, most historians and sociolo-gists basically present an argument which theythen validate by showing that there are morepositive than negative data available. (p. 50)

    To postulate historical theories, one must have firstclassified relevant data. How can one ensure thatthe system of classification is complete? Similarly,anthropological methods assume the existence of aninitial frame of reference, a set of categories fromwhich the researcher begins. Trigger (1968) alludedto a method that seemed promising. He describedhow prehistorians assemble an inventory of traitsto make conjectures about the culture upon whichthey have happened. However, the inventory of traitsassumed a set of categories in which artifacts canbe slotted. In the end, these categories rely on thereasoned creativity of the researcher (see Childe1956, pp. 124-31). The completeness of the catalogwould only be assured through trial and error, byapplying and revising categories several times.

    Boundary AnalysisWilliam Dunn, in Public Policy Analysis (1994),proposes an interesting and potentially more effi-cient method to approximate a complete set of top-ics or problems. For Dunn, boundary analysis is amethod to structure so-called metaproblems, i.e.,problem-of-problems that [are] ill-structuredbecause the domain of problem representations

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    held by diverse stakeholders seems unmanageablyhuge (p. 148; see also Dror 1971, p. 63). However,the method seems equally appropriate for problemsthat are moderately or even well-structured. Dunnoutlines three steps: saturation sampling, elicitationof problem representations, and then boundary es-timation (ibid., p. 164). Saturation sampling intendsto ensure that all stakeholders are identified fromwhom ideas, basic paradigms, dominant metaphors,standard operating procedures, or whatever else wechoose to call the systems of interpretation by whichwe attach meaning to events (ibid.) are elicited.These views, opinions, and ideas are subjected toboundary estimation. Boundary estimations are aform of content analysis: The analyst constructs acumulative frequency distr ibution wherestakeholders are arrayed on the horizontal axis andthe number of new problem elementsideas, con-cepts, variables, assumptions, objectives, policiesare plotted on the vertical axis (ibid., see Figure 1).As the number of new elements declines, the curverepresenting additions begins to flatten out, untilfurther sampling contributes virtually nothing new.At this point, one has estimated the boundary oftopics in the field.

    Dunns method can be adapted for policy inven-tories. The array of problems which defines theboundary can serve as the foundation of the policyinventory. It represents the catalogue of topics. Asecond step is to assemble the policy instrumentsassociated with the catalogue of topics.

    This method can also be applied to text sources,whether they be scientific literature, library hold-ings, languages, literary works, consumer prefer-ences (Dunn 1994, p. 165) either for a given pointin time or for a time period.

    Assembling the List of Associated PolicyInstrumentsOnce a list of topics has been established, a list ofassociated policy instruments can be assembled. Theprocess is straightforward. A survey of acts and regu-lations pertaining to each topic would cover the moreintrusive policy instruments, i.e., expenditure, taxa-tion, regulation, and public enterprise. To incorpo-rate the less intrusive policy instruments, i.e.,laissez-faire, exhortation and symbolic policy out-puts, speeches, news releases, budgets, and othergovernment documents would have to be examinedfor evidence of government activity regarding eachtopic. Budgets would, for example, provide infor-mation on government programs that exhort the pub-lic toward a goal or generate symbolic policy out-puts. Speeches and news releases could give indi-cations as to why a government has chosen a courseof inaction.

    THE CASE OF SHIPPING POLICY

    The concept of a policy inventory and the associ-ated methodology will be applied to shipping policy.From a deductive or linguistic approach, shippingpolicy refers to the displacement of people andgoods using waterborne vehicles. Contemporary Ca-nadian public discourse uses the term marinepolicy to label this field (see, e.g., Transport Canada1995). However, the term marine policy is often usedto include issues such as fisheries management or

    FIGURE 1Boundaries of a Metaproblem

    Source: Dunn 1994, p. 165.

    25

    20

    15

    10

    5

    0 2 4 6 8 10

    Boundaries ofMetaproblem

    NEW CONCEPTS

    POLICY STAKEHOLDERS

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    deep-sea mining (see, for example, Hennessey1981). Bibliographic indexes usually employ theheader shipping policy for the policy area to beexamined here. We follow that convention, andexclude natural resource management from theanalysis.

    Boundary AnalysisTo obtain a complete set of ideas, concepts, vari-ables, assumptions, objectives, policies (Dunn1994, p. 164) the list of topics for the policy in-ventory the subject indexes of several bibliogra-phies were surveyed. A bibliography is an inclu-sive, continuing record of all contributions to theliterature (Freides 1973, p. 139). As Freides notes,bibliographies can provide researchers with themain outlines of a topic (ibid.). They usually con-tain a subject index which focuses on only one di-mension of the work, the subject matter of thedata... (ibid., p. 143). A policy inventorys list oftopics is a list of subjects, thus a survey of generaland specific bibliographies should provide a com-plete list.

    Six indexes were consulted for this analysis. Theyare the

    ABI/Inform (ABI), a periodical index,

    Canadian Research Index (CRI), a periodicalindex,

    Library of Congress Subject Headings (LC),

    Public Affairs Information Service Bulletin(PAIS), a periodical index,

    Transport Canada Librarys catalogue (TC), and

    WINSPIRS TRANSPORT (TRAN), a periodi-cal index on transportation.

    The four periodical indexes are available on CD-ROM. These sources offer significant advantages,but also require some qualifications. Because a CD-

    ROM issue covers numerous years (e.g., PAIS be-gins in 1972), its subject index provides longer rangecoverage and thus a more substantial list of topics.Moreover, the Library of Congress Subject Head-ings and the Transport Canada Library catalogue aretimeless as they are intended to cover those li-braries entire holdings. The library catalogues helpavoid missing a topic because it was not addressedin a given time period. However, they do introducea spatial bias toward North America. On the otherhand, PAIS covers material in all forms books,periodical articles, government documents, and awide range of pamphlets and reports by a large andvaried group of commercial and voluntary agencies published anywhere in the world in the Englishlanguage (Freides 1973, p. 167). Also, TRAN is pro-duced by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the US Trans-portation Research Branch, and the European Con-ference of Ministers of Transport, and covers docu-ments published in those jurisdictions.

    The thesauri and dictionaries of the periodicalindexes and the TC and LC listings were scouredfor sub-headers as well as the narrower, broader, andrelated terms of the search keys shipping, ships,transportation, and navigation. This choice ofsearch keys was intended to provide a full listing ofall the topics pertaining to shipping, including top-ics that are related to the policy field in a peripheralway. For example, shipping companies in Europeare embracing the concept of door-to-door serv-ice. Under this concept, the shipping company isresponsible not just for the delivery of goods fromquay to quay but also for bringing the cargo to thequay from its point of origin and moving it to itsfinal destination. The infrastructure required by theshipping industry thus extends beyond port facili-ties and potentially involves railway connections andtrucking. Such topics can have implications for pub-lic policy, and may not be adequately covered bythe term shipping. Transportation was thus in-cluded to incorporate a broader view of the indus-try. Similarly, the term shipping might notadequately cover some policies pertaining to the

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    operation of ships, such as construction regulationsfor ships. To include these elements, the termsships and navigation were also used as searchterms. The four terms represent a progression ofspecificity navigation, ships, shipping, transpor-tation and move from lower to higher levels ofabstraction (Sartori 1977, p. 40).

    Several pragmatic strategies were used to makethe analysis manageable. The terms were appliedonly in English, thus limiting international cover-age to some degree (Freides 1973, p. 142). How-ever, given the predominance of English in academeand commerce, this constraint should not unreason-ably bias the search results. The search was also lim-ited to the first level of sub-headers. For example,for the entry shipping communication systems financial aspects, only shipping communi-cation systems was used. This restriction was in-tended to limit the size of the data file. However,many second-order entries were captured by first-order entries elsewhere. In the example above,financial aspects were be covered by shipping finance. Similarly, first-level sub-headers to geo-graphic areas or jurisdictions such as Transporta-tion Canada or Transportation EuropeanEconomic Community were skipped. Finally, first-level references to bibliographic works, e.g., Ships Bibliography, were also omitted.

    Even with these constraints, an initial list of 692potential topics was generated. However, this listincluded topics that clearly have no relation to ship-ping policy. For example, the high-level search termtransportation generated topics pertaining to bi-cycles and urban transport. The removal of redun-dant terms, of hyphenation (e.g., decision-makingand decision making), of typos, and of terms in thesingular for which plurals are present (e.g., buoyand buoys, though not operation and operations)yielded a list of 473 different topics (see AppendixA). The list includes entries which may be very simi-lar to others in the list, e.g., routes and routing.However, routes refers to the trip trajectories thatcould be used whereas routing refers to trip

    trajectories that are used by shipping companies.These nuances reflect different ways of looking at aproblem. They are alternative problem representa-tions provided by the sources, the elicitation ofwhich is precisely the purpose of boundary analy-sis (Dunn 1994, p. 164).

    The topics listed are non-duplicate problem rep-resentations. The list of topics generated providesan outline of the policy field by topic. It representsthe boundaries of the policy space of shippingpolicy. Using a database program, it was possibleto determine in which database each new and non-duplicative element first appears. The results areplotted in Figure 2.

    Figure 2 approximates the shape of the curve inthe theoretical illustration provided by Dunn. How-ever, a flat part indicating a complete set of prob-lem representations was not attained. More sourceswould likely have to be consulted to reach the outerlimit.3

    FIGURE 2Boundaries of Shipping Policy

    500

    400

    300

    200

    100

    0

    TRAN LC CRI PAIS ABI TCSource

    Hits

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    Classifying the TopicsWith 473 entries, the list of topics is too unwieldyto be useful. An analysis of shipping policy basedon this inventory would entail determining how eachpolicy instrument (and as will be seen, their numberis substantial, too) pertains to each of the 473 top-ics. As Rose notes, the more distinctions made, themore complex the resulting typology and themore improbable it is that social scientists will everbe able to find data to fill all the resulting cells(1973, p. 89). The principal purpose of a policy in-ventory, however, is to give analysts and policymakers an analytic tool that can contribute effec-tively to research and decision making. The list oftopics must be narrowed through classification.

    Classification categories should fulfill four re-quirements: exhaustiveness, disjointness, consist-ency, and hierarchical distinctiveness (Dunn 1994,p. 166; see also OShaughnessy 1972, p. 26).Exhaustiveness means that all subjects in a policyarea should be covered. Disjointness means that thecategories are mutually exclusive. Consistency re-quires that only one classificational principle pro-vides the basis for each category. Hierarchical dis-tinctiveness refers to the idea that the meaning oflevels in a classification system must be carefullydistinguished (Dunn 1994, p. 167). While theseprinciples provide good general guidelines, one can-not always fully adhere to them. For example, Webernotes that ... having one attribute does not logi-cally exclude the possession of a second attribute(1985, p. 34). The topic of dangerous goods pro-vides a good example. Dangerous goods rules andregulations cover the handling of goods that can posea threat to the individuals handling them, the vehi-cles used for their transport, as well as the environ-ment. In a higher level classification system, thetopic dangerous goods could thus be classified as asafety topic or as an environmental topic. Danger-ous goods actually falls under both; however, thiswould compromise the disjointness principle. Thedecision on how to classify a particular topic thusdepends on the purposes of the classification and/or the bias of the analyst (OShaughnessy 1972,

    p. 25; see also Dunn 1994, p. 166; Kingdon 1984,p. 117; and Rose 1973, p. 89). It also requires sub-stantive knowledge of the policy area to appreciatethe nuances of different terms generated throughboundary analysis (see OShaughnessy 1972, p. 25).

    To create a narrower list of topics, the topics ap-pearing most frequently in the six sources were tal-lied. They are listed in Appendix B. These gener-ally low-level topics were reclassified. For exam-ple, accounting was subsumed under finance, portsunder infrastructure, data processing under commu-nications, ice under climatic factors, etc.4 This gen-erated the final, revised list presented in AppendixC. This list represents a more manageable grid thatcan be applied to the shipping policy area.

    Policy InstrumentsThe compilation of policy instruments proved to berelatively easy. The Transport Canada World WideWeb site5 offers a list and the full text of acts andregulations for which the minister of transport isresponsible or partially responsible. It also providesseveral of the ministers speeches, departmentalnews releases, the Speech from the Throne, the 1996budget, and documents pertaining to safety stand-ards and voluntary guidelines. In short, it is a re-pository of documents covering the entire range ofpolicy instruments pertaining to that department. Forillustrative purposes, the discussion of policy inven-tories and shipping policy will be limited to thissource and only to the acts, regulations, and volun-tary guidelines listed there. The list of regulationson the website is not complete yet. Also, the Cana-dian Coast Guard is now under the jurisdiction ofthe Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The CoastGuard is responsible, among other things, for theprovision of icebreaking and aids to navigation. Thussome of the policy instruments relating to shippingpolicy may not be identified in this paper.

    Appendix D represents the policy inventory gen-erated through the methodology outlined above. Itlists the acts, regulations, and voluntary guidelines,i.e., the policy instruments employed to address the

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    topics. It was unavoidable to attach a second topicto the classification of policy instruments, i.e., it wasnecessary to infringe on the classification principleof disjointness. For example, the regulations per-taining to radio communications under the ArcticWaters Pollution Prevention Act in the first instancerefer to pollution prevention. However, they alsopertain to communications. Moreover, the radiocommunications regulations do not have the samedegree of environmental content as, for example,oil pollution prevention measures, which deal onlywith oil pollution. A second topic supplies morenuanced information. Also included in the list is anindication of the nature of the policy instrument. Theclassification of type of policy instruments is fairlyunambiguous. Voluntary guidelines and standardsare classified as exhortations/symbolic outputs be-cause adherence to them is voluntary (though thereis an implicit threat that non-adherence will resultin binding regulations). Items that provide for thecollection of fees and tariffs fall under the headingtaxation. All non-fee, non-tariff regulations fall un-der the heading regulations.

    Not included in Appendix D are policy instru-ments found in documents such as ministersspeeches, departmental news releases, budgets, thatis, documents that would provide information on theless intrusive policy instruments. It was found thatthe classification of such documents would requirea detailed content analysis of each of the items basedon the narrow list of topics. To validly analyze thecontent of each document would require an effortwell beyond the scope of this article.6 In this con-text it must be noted that the topic classification ofthe acts, regulations, and voluntary guidelines andstandards presented in Appendix D is based on thetitles of these items as well as the authors judge-ments. It could well be that a close reading of all ofthese documents would result in a different classi-fication. This represents a serious problem and hasimplications for the usefulness of policy inventories.

    A policy inventory even one as incomplete asours might serve to point out gaps in existing

    and proposed policy, and act as a guide for futurepolicy activity and as a basis for comparisons acrosstime and jurisdictions. For example, a crude indica-tion of the degree of coverage of any topic can beachieved by tallying its relevant policy instruments.A graph can than provide a visual indication of gaps.Appendix E demonstrates this. The valleys repre-sent topics in which few or no policy instrumentshave been applied, the peaks indicate topics withmore activity. Four principal areas of activity canbe discerned in the case of shipping policy: safetyand health, registration/classification/standards, in-frastructure, and environment. Lesser areas of ac-tivity deal with manning, finance, equipment andsupplies, communications, coastwise shipping(cabotage), and accidents. No activity was detectedaround issues such as taxation, automation, and en-ergy. A complete and more in-depth survey of alldocuments from government departments (e.g., in-cluding the Department of Fisheries and Oceans),and of symbolic outputs, might yield different re-sults. However, as is, the valleys do show where thepolicy community may (or may not) want to becomeactive in the future to address legislative and regu-latory shortcomings. Alternatively, peaks may indi-cate areas in which too much legislation and regu-lation limits the performance of the policy frame-work, a situation which the policy community maywant to redress.7

    CONCLUSIONS

    The daunting question posed at the outset of thisarticle was If you had to completely describe thecontents of policy field X, how would you do it?For example, if you had to reform Canadas marinepolicy, what acts, regulations, and issues would youneed to consider during the reform process?

    The methodology has been successful in severalregards. First, the methodology of boundary analy-sis has generated a broad list of topics which listsall or virtually all elements of the policy area. Assuch, it provides a good overview of the policy area.

  • Anatomy of a Policy Area: The Case of Shipping 409

    CANADIAN PUBLIC POLICY ANALYSE DE POLITIQUES, VOL. XXIII, NO. 4 1997

    In terms of the definition of public policy, it liststhe various elements in which conditions can beobserved, and for which preferred alternatives canbe formulated by governments. Second, the meth-odology also generated a substantial list of policyinstruments that have been used by the Canadiangovernment for marine transportation. By listingtopics and instruments, the methodology has gener-ated a good overview of the anatomy of the ship-ping policy area. Third, we hope that this approachhas taken the study of policy instruments forwardin a modest, empirical fashion. The literature to datehas been rich in theory but poor in application. Wethink that the inventory approach makes an explicitconnection between policy content and policy-instrument categories. It provides a way of portray-ing, with some greater confidence, the key instru-ments used in a given policy domain.

    The limitations of our experiment are also pain-fully evident. It takes enormous time and resources,relies on judgements and hunches throughout, andto be truly thorough would require countless hoursof careful content analysis. The list of policy instru-ments, for example, is biased in favour of the moreintrusive policy elements because a content analy-sis of sources which would reveal information ofless intrusive policy instruments was not attempted.Ironically, the best inventories will be compiled bypeople who already know the policy field well that knowledge will help them make the judgementcalls upon which complex classification schemeslike this depend.

    However, our experiment does demonstrate thatthere are ways to completely describe a policy field.At the very least, the illustration we have presentedreminds us that it is important to map out policyfields as clearly as we can, so that policy analysts,policy managers, and policy makers, as well as thegeneral public can understand the full scope of gov-ernmental activity, its intensity and character, andthe possible consequences of policy reform.

    NOTES1There is no difference between a policy area and a

    policy field, and the two terms can be used as synonyms.

    2A problem can be defined as the discrepancy betweena condition and a preferred alternative. This definition isbased on a survey of definitions of policy problems givenby Pal (1992), Brewer and Deleon (1983), Dunn (1981),and Dery (1984).

    3It is not clear though that a completely flat slope couldbe obtained. Given the versatility of the English languagethere will always be words that could be used by othersources to describe an exactly identical problemrepresentation.

    4These reclassifications were based on substantiveknowledge of the policy area gained by one of the au-thors (Hosseus). The list generated in this fashion wascompared to a list that the author had casually assembledbased on newspaper articles and conversations during awork term with a German shipping company.

    5http://www.tc.gc.ca

    6Manheim and Rich, in their discussion of contentanalysis, suggest, for example, using numerous contentcoders (as many as possible) to ensure coding reliabil-ity (1995, p. 196).

    7The table (Appendix D) on which the graph is basedalso illustrates the task the reformers of the Canada Ship-ping Act have at hand. Regulations flowing from that actcover topics such as distressed seamen, pilotage ladders,nominal horsepower computing methods, and shipfumigation.

    REFERENCES

    Brewer, G.D. and P. Deleon (1983), The Foundations ofPolicy Analysis (Homewood, IL: The Dorsey Press).

    Childe, G.V. (1956), Piecing Together the Past: The In-terpretation of Archaeological Data (London:Routledge & Kegan Paul).

    Dahl, R.A. and C.E. Lindblom (1953), Politics, Econom-ics and Welfare (New York: Harper).

    Dery, D. (1984), Problem Definition in Policy Analysis(Lawrence, KA: University Press of Kansas).

    Dror, Y. (1971), Design for Policy Sciences (New York:Elsevier).

  • 410 Daniel Hosseus and Leslie A. Pal

    CANADIAN PUBLIC POLICY ANALYSE DE POLITIQUES, VOL. XXIII, NO. 4 1997

    Dryzek, J.S. (1990), Discursive Democracy: Politics,Policy and Political Science (Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press).

    Dunn, W. (1981), Public Policy Analysis: An Introduc-tion (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall).

    ____ (1994), Public Policy Analysis: An Introduction, 2nded. (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall).

    Doern, B. and R. Phidd (1983), Canadian Public Policy:Ideas, Structure, and Process (Toronto: Methuen).

    Fischer, F. and J. Forester, ed. (1993), The Argumenta-tive Turn in Policy Analysis and Planning (Durham,NC: Duke University Press).

    Freides, T. (1973), Literature and Bibliography of theSocial Sciences (Los Angeles: Melville).

    Hennessey, T.M (1981), Evaluating Marine Policy: Cri-teria from Two Models and a Comparative Study, inComparative Marine Policy: Perspectives from Eu-rope, Scandinavia, Canada, and the United States(New York: Praeger).

    Hood, C. (1984), The Tools of Government (London:Macmillan).

    Kingdon, J.W. (1984), Agendas, Alternatives, and PublicPolicies (Toronto: Little, Brown and Company).

    Kirschen, E.S. et al. (1964), Economic Policy in Our Time,3 vols (Amsterdam: North Holland).

    Linder, S. and G.B. Peters (1989), Instruments of Gov-ernment: Perceptions and Contexts, Journal of Pub-lic Policy 9:35-58.

    Lipset, S.M. and R. Hofstadter, ed. (1968), Sociology andHistory: Methods (New York: Basic Books, Inc.).

    Manheim, J.B. and R.C. Rich (1995), Empirical PoliticalAnalysis: Research Methods in Political Science(White Plains, NY: Longman Publishers).

    McDonnell, L.M. and R.F. Elmore (1987), AlternativePolicy Instruments (Santa Monica: Center for Public

    Research in Education).OShaughnessy, J. (1972), Inquiry and Decision (Lon-

    don: George Allen & Unwin Ltd.).Pal, L.A. (1992), Public Policy Analysis: An Introduc-

    tion. 2nd ed. (Scarborough, ON: Nelson Canada).____ (1997), Beyond Policy Analysis: Public Issue Man-

    agement in Turbulent Times (Toronto: ITP Nelson).Rose, R., ed. (1973), The Dynamics of Public Policy: A

    Comparative Analysis (Beverly Hills: Sage Publica-tions).

    Salamon, L.M. (1981), Rethinking Public Management,Public Policy 29:255-75.

    Sartori, G. (1977), Concept Misinformation in Compara-tive Politics, in Comparative Politics: Notes andReadings, ed. R.C. Macridis and B.E. Brown, 5th ed.(Homewood, IL: The Dorsey Press).

    Schneider, A. and H. Ingram (1993), Social Construc-tion of Target Populations: Implications for Politicsand Policy, American Political Science Review87:334-47.

    Stone, D.A. (1988), Policy Paradox and Political Reason(New York: Harper Collins).

    Transport Canada (1995), National Marine Policy (Ot-tawa: Transport Canada).

    Trigger, B.G. (1968), Beyond History: The Methods ofPrehistory (New York: Holt).

    Weber, R.P. (1985), Basic Content Analysis (BeverlyHills: Sage Publications).

    Wiedman, D., ed. (1986), Ethnohistory: A ResearchersGuide. Studies in Third World Societies, no. 35(Williamsburg, VA: College of William and Mary,Department of Anthropology).

    Wildavsky, A. (1979), Speaking Truth to Power: The Artand Craft of Policy Analysis (Boston: Little, Brownand Co.).

  • Anatomy of a Policy Area: The Case of Shipping 411

    CANADIAN PUBLIC POLICY ANALYSE DE POLITIQUES, VOL. XXIII, NO. 4 1997

    APPENDIX ALIST OF TOPICS*

    abandoning ofactaeronauticsaids to navigationallowanceand pierastronauticsautomationautomotiveberthbuildersbuildingsbuoyscareerscathodic protectioncharacteristicsclassificationcoastwise shippingcollisions at seacommon carriersconferencesconsolidationcontainerizationcontracts, maritimeconvoyscorporationscostsdata processingdecksdepartmentderegulationdeveloping countriesdisadvantageddivisiondomainearth stations

    educationefficiencyelectronic equipmentemergency employeeengineeringenvironmental aspectsfacilitiesfendersfinancingfisheries navigationfoulingfuelfumigationgovernment aidguideshazardshighwayhullshydrographyhydrostaticsimpact forcesindustriesinformationinformation systeminsulationinterioriron and steellegislationliabilitylighthousesload linelossesmaintenance and repairmaneuverabilitymanningmaneuvering

    maritimemathematical modelsmedicinemodelsmovementnautical paraphernalianetworkof disabled personsofficialsoperationoperatorsoptimum ship routingpaintingpassenger listsperiodicalspilotspneumatic equipmentservicespriceproducingproductivitynavigationradar in navigationrailroad transportationratesratproof constructionreformregistrationregulationrepair facilitiesreplacementroutesrouting and schedulingrules of classificationrural transportationsafety

    sailing cardssatellitesscrappingsectorship handlingshippingshuttlessignals and signalingsimulatorssoundproofingspeedsponsoredstate aidstorage and movingstranding of shipsstudiesstudy and teachingsubsidiessurveyssurvivabilitytaxationtechniquestelecommunicationstest centers USto transittransfers to foreigntransit time economicstransportationtruckingunderwater navigationunitized cargouser fees

    vehicles

    * This list has been shortened considerably for publication. A complete list is available from the authors on request.

  • 412 Daniel Hosseus and Leslie A. Pal

    CANADIAN PUBLIC POLICY ANALYSE DE POLITIQUES, VOL. XXIII, NO. 4 1997

    APPENDIX BLIST OF MOST FREQUENTLY APPEARINGTOPICS

    Number ofAppearances Topic

    10 costs8 energy8 finance7 rates7 research7 safety measures6 accidents6 economic aspects6 environmental aspects6 statistics5 communications5 freight5 fuel5 ice5 management4 automation4 data processing4 equipment4 equipment and supplies4 hydrodynamics4 law and legislation4 mathematical models4 planning4 related4 study and teaching3 accounting3 electronic equipment3 fares3 information services3 maintenance and repair3 manning3 noise3 pilots3 ports3 railroads3 regulation3 safety regulations3 security measures3 taxation3 technological innovations3 transportation

    APPENDIX CFINAL, REVISED LIST OF TOPICS

    abandoning of ships/scrappingaccidentsautomationclimatic factorscoastwise shipping (cabotage)communicationsenergyenvironmentequipment and suppliesfinancefreightinfrastructuremaintenance and repairmanningplanningratesregistration/classification/standardsresearch/innovationsafety and healthsecurityshipbuildingstatisticssubsidiestaxation

  • Anatomy of a Policy Area: The Case of Shipping 413

    CANADIAN PUBLIC POLICY ANALYSE DE POLITIQUES, VOL. XXIII, NO. 4 1997

    APP

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    CANADIAN PUBLIC POLICY ANALYSE DE POLITIQUES, VOL. XXIII, NO. 4 1997

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  • Anatomy of a Policy Area: The Case of Shipping 415

    CANADIAN PUBLIC POLICY ANALYSE DE POLITIQUES, VOL. XXIII, NO. 4 1997

    APPENDIX EGAP ANALYSIS

    Secondary TopicPrimary Topic

    taxation

    subsidies

    statistics

    shipbuilding

    security

    safety and health

    research/innovation

    registration/classification/standards

    rates

    planning

    manning

    maintenance and repair

    infrastructure

    freight

    finance

    equipment and supplies

    environment

    energy

    comm

    unications

    coastwise shipping (cabotage)

    climatic factors

    automation

    accidents

    abandoning of ships/scrapping

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