This article conceptualises the common agricultural policy (CAP) of the European Union as a policy regime. Policy regimes are defined as meso‐level, problem‐related, dynamically stable, multidimensional governance arrangements consisting of substantive and institutional elements. Utilising the policy regime as the unit of analysis makes it possible to study the lifespan of a certain policy with many levels of abstraction (paradigm, dimensions, elements, topics). This meso‐level focus provides a meaningful way to explain or anticipate regime change and stability based on diverse sources. In this study, an empirical analysis of policy documents exposes the lifespan of the problems underlying the CAP regime. The analysis assesses the stability of the CAP state‐assisted agriculture paradigm, the smooth diversification of the CAP elements and the volatile ups and downs of the CAP topics. Policy design and delivery has become the most extensively considered problem of the CAP, whereas the other dimensions (farms, consumers, regions, markets and trade, environment, taxpayers and budget) have converged towards a more balanced setting. As problems precede policy solutions, the design and delivery of the CAP could be the next target of major reforms.
- 'Sociologia Ruralis, Volume 58, Issue 4, Page 846-866, October 2018. '