Melbourne School of Government - Theses

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    Comparative study of Indonesian think tanks as policy entrepreneurs in influencing social assistance reform
    Arief, Ria ( 2021)
    The reform of Indonesia’s democracy and public administration in 2001 increased the participation of think tanks in the policymaking process. Since then, the role of Indonesian think tanks as policy entrepreneurs has proliferated. Policy entrepreneurs can be described as advocates of policy change characterised by motivated individuals or organisations. Using their resources and influence, they act as agents of change throughout the policy cycle by presenting innovative policy solutions, building coalitions of support, and securing legislative action. This thesis analyses how two Indonesian think tanks have acted as policy entrepreneurs who influenced the social assistance reform process in the last 15 years. The thesis conducts a comparative case study of NGO-based think tank and quasi-government think tank. It explores their strategies, such as disseminating new and innovative ideas across multi-level government, building coalitions and utilising windows of opportunity. The research also investigates other factors which contribute to the effectiveness of their role as policy entrepreneurs such as resources and institutional context. The thesis concludes that both think tanks can be seen as policy entrepreneurs that use varying strategies to influence social assistance reform. There were examples of striking similarities in coalition building and exploiting windows of opportunity. However, some notable differences were found in developing innovative ideas across multi-level government and crafting institutions for learning. This is due to the different governance arrangements of think tanks. This case study also highlights the critical role of the organisation’s resources and the context in determining policy entrepreneurs’ success. In turn, this suggests social assistance reform is a highly complex and political process. Hence, the findings support the thesis hypothesis that Indonesian think tanks play a crucial role in influencing social assistance reform as policy entrepreneurs.