The Policy Dystopia Model: an interpretive analysis of tobacco industry political activity

Selda Ulucanlar*, Gary J. Fooks, Anna B. Gilmore

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Tobacco industry interference has been identified as the greatest obstacle to the implementation of evidence-based measures to reduce tobacco use. Understanding and addressing industry interference in public health policy-making is therefore crucial. Existing conceptualisations of corporate political activity (CPA) are embedded in a business perspective and do not attend to CPA's social and public health costs; most have not drawn on the unique resource represented by internal tobacco industry documents. Building on this literature, including systematic reviews, we develop a critically informed conceptual model of tobacco industry political activity.

METHODS AND FINDINGS: We thematically analysed published papers included in two systematic reviews examining tobacco industry influence on taxation and marketing of tobacco; we included 45 of 46 papers in the former category and 20 of 48 papers in the latter (n = 65). We used a grounded theory approach to build taxonomies of "discursive" (argument-based) and "instrumental" (action-based) industry strategies and from these devised the Policy Dystopia Model, which shows that the industry, working through different constituencies, constructs a metanarrative to argue that proposed policies will lead to a dysfunctional future of policy failure and widely dispersed adverse social and economic consequences. Simultaneously, it uses diverse, interlocking insider and outsider instrumental strategies to disseminate this narrative and enhance its persuasiveness in order to secure its preferred policy outcomes. Limitations are that many papers were historical (some dating back to the 1970s) and focused on high-income regions.

CONCLUSIONS: The model provides an evidence-based, accessible way of understanding diverse corporate political strategies. It should enable public health actors and officials to preempt these strategies and develop realistic assessments of the industry's claims.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1002125
Number of pages21
JournalPLoS Medicine
Volume13
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sep 2016

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Tobacco Industry
Tobacco
Politics
Industry
Public Health
Public health
Policy Making
Taxes
Tobacco Use
Public Policy
Health Policy
Marketing
Health Care Costs
Economics
Taxonomies
Taxation

Bibliographical note

© 2016 Ulucanlar et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Cite this

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title = "The Policy Dystopia Model: an interpretive analysis of tobacco industry political activity",
abstract = "BACKGROUND: Tobacco industry interference has been identified as the greatest obstacle to the implementation of evidence-based measures to reduce tobacco use. Understanding and addressing industry interference in public health policy-making is therefore crucial. Existing conceptualisations of corporate political activity (CPA) are embedded in a business perspective and do not attend to CPA's social and public health costs; most have not drawn on the unique resource represented by internal tobacco industry documents. Building on this literature, including systematic reviews, we develop a critically informed conceptual model of tobacco industry political activity.METHODS AND FINDINGS: We thematically analysed published papers included in two systematic reviews examining tobacco industry influence on taxation and marketing of tobacco; we included 45 of 46 papers in the former category and 20 of 48 papers in the latter (n = 65). We used a grounded theory approach to build taxonomies of {"}discursive{"} (argument-based) and {"}instrumental{"} (action-based) industry strategies and from these devised the Policy Dystopia Model, which shows that the industry, working through different constituencies, constructs a metanarrative to argue that proposed policies will lead to a dysfunctional future of policy failure and widely dispersed adverse social and economic consequences. Simultaneously, it uses diverse, interlocking insider and outsider instrumental strategies to disseminate this narrative and enhance its persuasiveness in order to secure its preferred policy outcomes. Limitations are that many papers were historical (some dating back to the 1970s) and focused on high-income regions.CONCLUSIONS: The model provides an evidence-based, accessible way of understanding diverse corporate political strategies. It should enable public health actors and officials to preempt these strategies and develop realistic assessments of the industry's claims.",
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The Policy Dystopia Model : an interpretive analysis of tobacco industry political activity. / Ulucanlar, Selda; Fooks, Gary J.; Gilmore, Anna B.

In: PLoS Medicine, Vol. 13, No. 9, e1002125, 20.09.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - The Policy Dystopia Model

T2 - an interpretive analysis of tobacco industry political activity

AU - Ulucanlar, Selda

AU - Fooks, Gary J.

AU - Gilmore, Anna B.

N1 - © 2016 Ulucanlar et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

PY - 2016/9/20

Y1 - 2016/9/20

N2 - BACKGROUND: Tobacco industry interference has been identified as the greatest obstacle to the implementation of evidence-based measures to reduce tobacco use. Understanding and addressing industry interference in public health policy-making is therefore crucial. Existing conceptualisations of corporate political activity (CPA) are embedded in a business perspective and do not attend to CPA's social and public health costs; most have not drawn on the unique resource represented by internal tobacco industry documents. Building on this literature, including systematic reviews, we develop a critically informed conceptual model of tobacco industry political activity.METHODS AND FINDINGS: We thematically analysed published papers included in two systematic reviews examining tobacco industry influence on taxation and marketing of tobacco; we included 45 of 46 papers in the former category and 20 of 48 papers in the latter (n = 65). We used a grounded theory approach to build taxonomies of "discursive" (argument-based) and "instrumental" (action-based) industry strategies and from these devised the Policy Dystopia Model, which shows that the industry, working through different constituencies, constructs a metanarrative to argue that proposed policies will lead to a dysfunctional future of policy failure and widely dispersed adverse social and economic consequences. Simultaneously, it uses diverse, interlocking insider and outsider instrumental strategies to disseminate this narrative and enhance its persuasiveness in order to secure its preferred policy outcomes. Limitations are that many papers were historical (some dating back to the 1970s) and focused on high-income regions.CONCLUSIONS: The model provides an evidence-based, accessible way of understanding diverse corporate political strategies. It should enable public health actors and officials to preempt these strategies and develop realistic assessments of the industry's claims.

AB - BACKGROUND: Tobacco industry interference has been identified as the greatest obstacle to the implementation of evidence-based measures to reduce tobacco use. Understanding and addressing industry interference in public health policy-making is therefore crucial. Existing conceptualisations of corporate political activity (CPA) are embedded in a business perspective and do not attend to CPA's social and public health costs; most have not drawn on the unique resource represented by internal tobacco industry documents. Building on this literature, including systematic reviews, we develop a critically informed conceptual model of tobacco industry political activity.METHODS AND FINDINGS: We thematically analysed published papers included in two systematic reviews examining tobacco industry influence on taxation and marketing of tobacco; we included 45 of 46 papers in the former category and 20 of 48 papers in the latter (n = 65). We used a grounded theory approach to build taxonomies of "discursive" (argument-based) and "instrumental" (action-based) industry strategies and from these devised the Policy Dystopia Model, which shows that the industry, working through different constituencies, constructs a metanarrative to argue that proposed policies will lead to a dysfunctional future of policy failure and widely dispersed adverse social and economic consequences. Simultaneously, it uses diverse, interlocking insider and outsider instrumental strategies to disseminate this narrative and enhance its persuasiveness in order to secure its preferred policy outcomes. Limitations are that many papers were historical (some dating back to the 1970s) and focused on high-income regions.CONCLUSIONS: The model provides an evidence-based, accessible way of understanding diverse corporate political strategies. It should enable public health actors and officials to preempt these strategies and develop realistic assessments of the industry's claims.

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JF - PLoS Medicine

SN - 1549-1277

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