SETTING THE AGENDA: AN EXAMINATION OF NON-STATE ACTORS' IMPACT ON FEDERAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY DISCUSSIONS
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Literature on social movement studies and public management both question whether non-state actors play an influential role in forming public policies. This thesis contributes to these debates by examining non-state actors’ agenda-setting capacity, which is a precursor to influencing policy decisions. This is achieved by comparing environmental non-governmental organizations’ (ENGOs) advocacy versus official policy debates concerning the Paris Agreement to assess the presence of other non-state actors. Overall, I find little evidence that ENGOs or other non-state actors play an agenda-setting role in the public climate change policy field, suggesting that public discussion of policy formation remains the exclusive purview of the state. I offer two possible explanations of ENGOs’ limited impact on public policy discussions, firstly that ENGOs frame their claims in a way that policy makers are not receptive to and that their use of institutional claims-making tactics are easily ignored by policy makers.