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A Coevolutionary Revision of Decision Making Processes: An Analysis of Port Extensions in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands

PAQ, Vol. 35 No. 3, (2011)

This article aims to develop an alternative framework for analyzing public decision making processes. It uses a complex systems approach that revolves around the coevolutionary principle of reciprocal selection between policy systems and their environment. The framework is applied to two case studies about port extensions in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands in order to explain the outcomes of decisions that were unintended, unobserved, unexpected, and unwanted. It is argued that this approach helps detecting the causal relationships between decision making and the consequences for the system being governed and how this causality that is often badly understood can backfire on public decision makers.

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