The impacts of social movements on public policies have been studied extensively yet yield mixed results. Some results point to a strong impact of social movements, while others conclude that they do not possess any observable leverage on public policies. These mixed results may be linked to utilization of different methodological approaches. However, few studies have considered the possibility that movements may in fact prevent policy change. In this study, we argue that for high-profile policies such as nuclear energy, a low-key social mobilization is in some instances necessary for the occurrence of major policy changes. We further hypothesize that highly mobilized social movements may dampen the chance of major policy changes instead of promoting them. We briefly present the general model and the data before proceeding to the bounded exploratory analysis. This analysis raises questions about the role played by antinuclear movements in their quest for a major policy change. A theoretical explanation is then presented in an attempt to contribute to the clarification of the movement-policy debate.

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