Perspective-Taking for Policy-Making: An Analysis of Canadian Cross-border Shopping


  • Michael S Mulvey
  • Charles E Gengler
  • Michael Lever


Research plays an essential role in policy analysis and is a significant tool used to identify and prioritize alternatives for intervention. Yet public policy problems have a reputation for being complex because one problem (i.e. shopping behavior) can be viewed as part of a larger set of issues (i.e. trade policies, tax policy, border security, monetary policy, etc.). Accordingly, policy makers need research tools that allow them to understand how the system works. This research demonstrates a method for developing systems-level conceptual frameworks to support
policy decision-making. Using archival techniques used by historical researchers in journalism, a 26-year period of news coverage of the cross-border shopping phenomenon in Canada has been conducted. Content assessment and content analysis methods are used to compare levels of topic visibility over time, exposing important changes in the landscape of cross-border shopping. The case study demonstrates how to use
media coverage to develop integrative frameworks to organize issue topics, positions and policy options. Implications for public policy making and implementation are discussed along with study limitations and opportunities for future research.

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