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Identifying proactive and reactive policy entrepreneurs in collaborative networks in flood risk management - a new paper published by Per Becker et al.

– Published 8 January 2024

Book cover. Photo.

Our colleague Per Becker has together with Evangelia Petridou and Jörgen Sparf published a new paper about policy entrepreneurs in risk governance.
It is published in the journal Policy & Politics and is called ”Identifying proactive and reactive policy entrepreneurs in collaborative networks in flood risk management". The paper has open access online at Bristol University Press Digital.


A policy entrepreneur is a distinct political actor aiming to affect change. The theoretical narrative regarding policy entrepreneurs is underpinned by their commitment to a policy solution, the multi-dimensional strategies they use to promote that solution, and a suite of attributes and skills facilitating their actions. Policy entrepreneurs reveal themselves through their attempts to transform policy ideas into policy innovations and, hence, disrupt status quo policy arrangements. Indeed, policy entrepreneurs share sensibilities with entrepreneurs in the market, whose conceptualisation serves as a heuristic for their counterparts in policy and politics. The emphasis on change borne out of innovative solutions distinguishes policy entrepreneurs from many other actors who aim to maintain current institutional settings and power relations. The growing scholarship on policy entrepreneurship assumes intentionality as inherent to the policy entrepreneur and their actions, foregrounding the image of the tenacious political actor set on steering their a priori pet policy to a suitable problem. This article draws from the market theory on entrepreneurship, contrasting proactive policy entrepreneurship (entrepreneurship by opportunity) and reactive policy entrepreneurship (entrepreneurship by necessity). We conduct a comparative social network analysis of three municipalities in southern Sweden focused on flood risk mitigation. We demonstrate two different logics of policy entrepreneurship (as a result of seizing opportunities versus as a reaction to vertical pressure), and we explore the consequences for enhancing our understanding of policy entrepreneurship.