Understanding the Roles of Network Structure and Distance in the Process of Natural Resource Policy Implementation
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Policy makers write policies that are implemented by actors at various levels of government. This results in policies that are implemented differently than how they were intended due to institutional contexts, pressure from the agency, personal beliefs, and collaboration between bureaucrats. This is especially true of natural resource policies, which are implemented at local scales by actors spread across the landscape. This research explores the effects that pressure from above, beliefs of individual actors, collaboration between actors, network structure, and distance between actors collectively have on policy implementation in federal natural resource agencies. A network modeling approach is employed to simulate the policy implementation process as a network of bureaucrats. Results indicate that network structure has little influence on the policy outcome, but adding distance alters the policy outcomes sensitivity to other parameters. The results illuminate the need to consider distance in policy implementation research.