The Mazmanian-Sabatier Implementation Framework Examined: an Application to Storm Water Policy

Date of Graduation

Spring 2005


Master of Public Administration


Political Science

Committee Chair

Brian Ellison


This thesis examines the usefulness of the Mazmanian-Sabatier implementation framework in analyzing the implementation of the EPA’s Phase II Storm Water regulations at the local level, specifically in the city of Lake Saint Louis, Missouri, with three major questions in mind. First, are statutory variables more important than local variables in the implementation process? Second, is attainment of statutory objectives the best way to measure the implementation process? Third, is implementation best examined from the top of the implementation hierarchy, down? Answering these questions could improve the quality of this framework, thus subsequent implementation research based on the framework. Data for the case study were gathered from national, state, and local documents, as well as personal interviews of key local implementers from the municipal government of Lake Saint Louis. Results from the study indicate that in this case, local, non-political variables seemed to play a role at least equal to that of statutory variables in influencing implementation success. When attempting to create a framework that must be influencing implementation success. When attempting to create a framework that must be applicable to a wide variety of policy types and studies, the measuring of implementation success by attainment of formal statutory objectives seems best. Finally, a top-down view of implementation does not provide a complete picture of policy implementation as it can hinder discovery of crucial data, informal influences, and causal linkages. The results indicate that while the Mazmanian-Sabatier framework retains value as an implementation framework, it does contain some assumptions that should be corrected.


policy, implementation, environment, regulation, government

Subject Categories

Public Administration


© Marie E. Beckmann


Open Access