a1 Odense University
In an effort to explain U.S. ocean policy making, four analytical perspectives are applied: statism, international interdependence, bureaucratic politics, and domestic politics. In each of these perspectives, structures, processes, and actors are singled out that may have an impact on the policy-making process. The statist perspective can explain the importance of security interests and of access to resources, but it cannot account for some of the major changes in U.S. ocean policy during the 1970s. The perspective of international interdependence introduces some of the international constraints and explains the use of linkage strategies. But only domestic politics, which played an increasingly important role during the period, can explain the enactment of the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976. One of the general conclusions is that the policy-making system is structurally biased toward subnational and parochial interests. For this reason, policies of the world-order type are likely to be frustrated.
Finn Laursen is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Institute of Social Sciences, Odense University, Denmark. He is the author of various articles on federalism, world order, and ocean politics. His current research, apart from U.S. ocean policy, is on the European Economic Community and on the law of the sea.
* The author gratefully acknowledges financial support from Princeton University and the Danish Social Science Research Council.