Policy Sciences

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 217-236

First online:

Agenda dynamics and the multi-level governance of intractable policy controversies: the case of migrant integration policies in the Netherlands

  • P. W. A. ScholtenAffiliated withDepartment of Public Administration, Erasmus University Rotterdam Email author 

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This article focuses on the relation between agenda dynamics and multi-level governance for a specific type of policy problems: intractable policy controversies. It discusses migrant integration policies in the Netherlands as a case-study, analysing problem, political and policy agendas in the cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam and on the national level, as well as the relation and interaction between these policy levels. The article shows that in a contested policy area like migrant integration, patterns of agenda setting often have a strongly level-specific character, leading to different policy frames and thus complicating modes of governance in multi-level setting. Precisely when the framing of policy problems itself is at stake, level-specific agenda dynamics will produce different policy frames also in multi-level policy settings. This makes multi-level governance in terms of effectively coordinating relations between policy levels to create congruence of policies between different levels a particular challenge when faced with this type of policy problems.


Migrant integration policies Agenda setting Multi-level governance