KINGDON’S MULTIPLE STREAMS MODEL AND THE INCLUSION OF ENERGY TITLE IX IN THE 2002
April 17, 2015.
For U.S. policymakers, ensuring the nation’s energy security is essential not only
to energy availability, but also to the country's environment, economy, public health,
and general safety. Energy security forms the cornerstone of any country’s economic
development, and every business and household depends upon it. U.S. dependence on
foreign oil for energy renders it vulnerable to conflicts and political instabilities
in oil-producing countries, particularly those in the Middle East.
Many stakeholders in diverse sectors of the economy—including energy, transportation,
and industry—have advocated replacing traditional oil with alternative energy sources
to reduce the nation’s reliance on imported oil. The September 11, 2001 terrorist
attacks ignited the United States’ debates over energy security. This research addresses
energy security as a means of cutting down oil imports from countries associated with
terrorism (CBO, 2012). If efforts to ensure energy security are to succeed, we need
to understand what makes successful policies successful—that is, how energy policies
that do come into existence, manage to do so. One strategy for achieving energy security
that has proven more feasible than others, and that has inspired the readiest consensus
among politicians and policymakers, is the agricultural solution: specifically, the
use of biofuels as an alternative energy source.
This master’s project specifically analyzes how the policy process led to the inclusion
of Energy Title IX, in the 2002 Farm Bill, the first-ever energy title in a Farm Bill.
The title established both direct and indirect federal agriculture-based policies
aimed at promoting biofuel feedstock production. These federal policies provided incentives
that benefitted farms and rural economies while increasing biofuel feedstock production
(Schnepf, 2008, 2011, 2013). Energy Title IX supported energy security by promoting
the use of corn-based ethanol feedstock for biofuel production as an alternate source
of energy, thereby cutting dependence on foreign oil. The energy title may be the
most significant policy yet to be passed in support of U.S. energy security, yet the
factors contributing to its passage remain little understood.
This study provides a greater understanding of how policy change occurs, when it occurs,
and why it fails to occur when it does not occur. An understanding of the process
of policy creation will ultimately enable policymakers to develop more effective policies
to secure the US energy supply.
This master’s project asks the following question: What policy processes between 1970
and 2002 lead to the inclusion of Energy Title IX in the 2002 Farm Bill for the use
of corn-based ethanol feedstock for biofuel production in the US? The research study
aims to investigate policy processes between 1970 and 2002 leading to the inclusion
for the first time in U.S. history of an energy title in the 2002 Farm Bill for the
use of corn-based ethanol feedstock for biofuel production in the U.S. as an alternate
Kingdon’s (1984) Multiple Stream Framework was chosen for this analysis. Kingdon’s
Multiple Stream framework best explains how one specific policy solution, Energy Title
IX, came to be included in the 2002 Farm Bill as a solution for U.S. energy security.
The framework for this discussion will investigate the policy processes through the
convergence of problem, politics, and policy streams towards a window of opportunity
for the inclusion of the first ever energy title in a farm bill in order to promote
ethanol production to secure the nation’s energy security. Two alternative models
and their shortcomings for analyzing this problem are briefly discussed.
The report then examines all three streams in Kingdon’s model—the problem, political,
and policy streams—and analyzes how their convergence created a window of opportunity
for the creation of a comprehensive policy for U.S. energy security. That policy would
take the form of Title IX of the 2002 Farm Bill, which promoted the use of ethanol
over traditional oil products for the U.S. energy supply. The terrorist attacks on
the United States contributed to both the problem and the political streams that led
to the solution.
This report presents the following analysis points:
• Kingdon’s multiple streams framework offers an explanation of how one specific policy
solution (Sabatier 2007), the inclusion of Energy Title IX in the 2002 Farm Bill,
was adopted to promote the use of corn-based ethanol feedstock for biofuel production
in the United States as an alternate source of energy in order to replace traditional
oil for U.S. energy security.
• Kingdon’s multiple streams model explains how the three streams converged:
The problem stream, in which the problem of energy security captured the attention
of the nation after the September 11 attacks,
The politics stream, in which the elections of both Congress and President Bush
and the subsequent consensus building after the September attacks took away ideological
differences between proposers and opposers, and
The policy stream, in which policy options emerged from both proposers and opposers
in the politics streams to put the solution of biofuels on top of the national agenda
and paved the way for the enactment of the 2002 Farm Bill to include Energy Title
• In addition, the multiple streams model also assisted us in understanding how the
unpopular geographically biased policies of the 2002 Farm Bill encouraged the political
streams to promote the use of ethanol as an alternate source of energy to replace
oil in the United States.
• Despite its limitations, Kingdon’s multiple streams model is a powerful tool for
analyzing the U.S. policy changes (Robinson & Eller 2010) that led to the inclusion
of Title IX in the 2002 Farm Bill. The purpose of the title was to provide energy
security by promoting the use of corn-based ethanol feedstock for biofuel production
in the United States.
• The multiple streams model explains how the policy problem was constructed in three
dimensions, and with solutions matched to the problems. The three streams—problem,
policy, and politics—ultimately converged as a window of opportunity opened, making
possible the emergence of an important new policy.