Policy analysis, as a practical matter, is hardly new. Throughout history, rulers have sought advice from priests or sages, and monarchs have conferred with counselors. The emergence of empirical social research in the nineteenth century laid the groundwork for policy advice that was more than an idiosyncratic political exercise, but it was not until well into this century that the systematic examination of policy issues became feasible. Advice and Consent traces the recent course of the "policy sciences," a term coined in 1951 to describe an analytic approach that draws on political science, sociology, law, economics, psychology, and operations research to examine specific social problems in context. Peter deLeon's unique contribution is to delineate two separate but related currents in the development of the policy sciences: first, the evolution of intellectual tools for analysis ("advice"); and second, the evolution of a perceived need for policy research as prompted by events such as the war on poverty ("consent"). Peter deLeon's concise and literate account of how these two trends shaped the policy sciences and affected each other clarifies the present state of policy research, explores its failure to realize fully its ideals, and frames the challenges facing the policy sciences as they struggle to complete their transformation from academic fancy to institutional fact.
Disasters like earthquakes are known as focusing events—sudden calamities that cause both citizens and policymakers to pay more attention to a public problem and often to press for solutions. This book, the first comprehensive analysis of these dramatic events, explains how and why some public disasters change political agendas and, ultimately, public policies.
Thomas A. Birkland explores important successes and failures in the policy process by analyzing the political outcomes of four types of events: earthquakes, hurricanes, oil spills, and nuclear accidents. Using this empirical data to go beyond an intuitive understanding of focusing events, he presents a theory of where and when these events will gain attention and how they trigger political reactions. Birkland concludes that different types of disasters result in different kinds of agenda politics. Public outrage over the highly visible damage caused by the Exxon Valdez oil spill, for example, ended a fourteen-year logjam holding back Congressional legislation to regulate oil spill cleanups. On the other hand, the intangible effects of Three Mile Island had less concrete results in a political arena that was already highly polarized.
Integrating a variety of theories on the policy process, including agenda setting, policy communities, advocacy coalitions, the political aspects of the news media, and the use of symbols in political debate, Birkland illuminates the dynamics of event-driven policy activity. As the first extensive study of its kind, this book offers new insights into the policy process.
In this innovative account of the way policy issues rise and fall on the national agenda—the first detailed study of so many issues over an extended period—Frank R. Baumgartner and Bryan D. Jones show that rapid change not only can but does happen in the hidebound institutions of government.
Short-term, single-issue analyses of public policy, the authors contend, give a narrow and distorted view of public policy as the result of a cozy arrangement between politicians, interest groups, and the media. Baumgartner and Jones upset these notions by focusing on several issues—including civilian nuclear power, urban affairs, smoking, and auto safety—over a much longer period of time to reveal patterns of stability alternating with bursts of rapid, unpredictable change.
A welcome corrective to conventional political wisdom, Agendas and Instability revises our understanding of the dynamics of agenda-setting and clarifies a subject at the very center of the study of American politics.
When Agendas and Instability in American Politics appeared fifteen years ago, offering a profoundly original account of how policy issues rise and fall on the national agenda, the Journal of Politics predicted that it would “become a landmark study of public policy making and American politics.” That prediction proved true and, in this long-awaited second edition, Bryan Jones and Frank Baumgartner refine their influential argument and expand it to illuminate the workings of democracies beyond the United States.
The authors retain all the substance of their contention that short-term, single-issue analyses cast public policy too narrowly as the result of cozy and dependable arrangements among politicians, interest groups, and the media. Jones and Baumgartner provide a different interpretation by taking the long view of several issues—including nuclear energy, urban affairs, smoking, and auto safety—to demonstrate that bursts of rapid, unpredictable policy change punctuate the patterns of stability more frequently associated with government. Featuring a new introduction and two additional chapters, this updated edition ensures that their findings will remain a touchstone of policy studies for many years to come.
Public policy is made of language. Whether in written or oral form, argument is central to all parts of the policy process. As simple as this insight appears, its implications for policy analysis and planning are profound. Drawing from recent work on language and argumentation and referring to such theorists as Wittgenstein, Habermas, Toulmin, and Foucault, these essays explore the interplay of language, action, and power in both the practice and the theory of policy-making. The contributors, scholars of international renown who range across the theoretical spectrum, emphasize the political nature of the policy planner's work and stress the role of persuasive arguments in practical decision making. Recognizing the rhetorical, communicative character of policy and planning deliberations, they show that policy arguments are necessarily selective, both shaping and being shaped by relations of power. These essays reveal the practices of policy analysts and planners in powerful new ways--as matters of practical argumentation in complex, highly political environments. They also make an important contribution to contemporary debates over postempiricism in the social and policy sciences.
Contributors. John S. Dryzek, William N. Dunn, Frank Fischer, John Forester, Maarten Hajer, Patsy Healey, Robert Hoppe, Bruce Jennings, Thomas J. Kaplan, Duncan MacRae, Jr., Martin Rein, Donald Schon, J. A. Throgmorton
Rejecting the notion that policy analysis and planning are value-free technical endeavors, an argumentative approach takes into account the ways that policy is affected by other factors, including culture, discourse, and emotion. The contributors to this new collection consider how far argumentative policy analysis has come during the past two decades and how its theories continue to be refined through engagement with current thinking in social theory and with the real-life challenges facing contemporary policy makers.
The approach speaks in particular to the limits of rationalistic, technoscientific policy making in the complex, unpredictable world of the early twenty-first century. These limits have been starkly illustrated by responses to events such as the environmental crisis, the near collapse of the world economy, and the disaster at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan. Addressing topics including deliberative democracy, collaborative planning, new media, rhetoric, policy frames, and transformative learning, the essays shed new light on the ways that policy is communicatively created, conveyed, understood, and implemented. Taken together, they show argumentative policy inquiry to be an urgently needed approach to policy analysis and planning.
Contributors. Giovanni Attili, Hubertus Buchstein, Stephen Coleman, John S. Dryzek, Frank Fischer, Herbert Gottweis, Steven Griggs, Mary Hawkesworth, Patsy Healey, Carolyn M. Hendriks, David Howarth, Dirk Jörke, Alan Mandell, Leonie Sandercock, Vivien A. Schmidt, Sanford F. Schram
In this new edition of Beyond Machiavelli, Beryl Radin updates her popular overview of the field of policy analysis. Radin, winner of the John Gaus Award from the American Political Science Association, considers the critical issues that confront the policy analysis practitioner, changes in the field, including the globalization of policy analysis, and the dramatic changes in the policy environment. She examines schools and careers; the conflict between the imperatives of analysis and the world of politics; the analytic tools that have been used, created, or discarded over the past fifty years; the relationship between decision makers and analysts as the field has multiplied and spread; and the assumptions about the availability and appropriateness of information that can be used in the analytic task.
Once found largely in the United States, policy analysis has become global, and Radin discusses the field’s new paradigms, methodologies and concepts of success. This new edition considers changes in expertise, controversies in the field, today’s career prospects, and the impact of 9/11 on the field. She profiles three additional policy analysis organizations and updates the profiles of the organizations in the first edition. Continuing the trajectory of the fictional characters from the first edition, Radin adds a character representing the new generation just entering the field. The book discusses the shifts in society’s attitudes toward public action, the availability of resources to meet public needs, and the dimensions of policymaking.
Written for students, faculty, and practitioners, the book concludes with a look at the possible dimensions of the policy analysis field and profession as it moves into the future.
Combining the insights of an economist and a political scientist, this new third edition of Cases in Public Policy Analysis offers real world cases to provide students with the institutional and political dimensions of policy problems as well as easily understood principles and methods for analyzing public policies.
Guess and Farnham clearly explain such basic tools as problem-identification, forecasting alternatives, cost-effectiveness analysis, and cost-benefit analysis and show how to apply these tools to specific cases. The new edition offers a revised framework for policy analysis, practical guidelines for institutional assessment, and five new action-forcing cases. Up-to-date materials involving complex policy issues, such as education reform, cigarette smoking regulation, air pollution control, public transit capital planning, HIV/AIDS prevention strategies, and prison overcrowding are also included.
Bridging the gap between methods and their application in real life, Cases in Public Policy Analysis will be of interest to professors involved with upper-division and graduate-level policy courses, as well as an excellent sourcebook in applied policy training for government practitioners and consultants.
In every generation, Americans have worried about the solidarity of the nation. Since the days of the Mayflower, those already settled here have wondered how newcomers with different cultures, values, and (frequently) skin color would influence America. Would the new groups create polarization and disharmony? Thus far, the United States has a remarkable track record of incorporating new people into American society, but acceptance and assimilation have never meant equality. In Century of Difference, Claude Fischer and Michael Hout provide a compelling—and often surprising—new take on the divisions and commonalities among the American public over the tumultuous course of the twentieth century. Using a hundred years worth of census and opinion poll data, Century of Difference shows how the social, cultural, and economic fault lines in American life shifted in the last century. It demonstrates how distinctions that once loomed large later dissipated, only to be replaced by new ones. Fischer and Hout find that differences among groups by education, age, and income expanded, while those by gender, region, national origin, and, even in some ways, race narrowed. As the twentieth century opened, a person's national origin was of paramount importance, with hostilities running high against Africans, Chinese, and southern and eastern Europeans. Today, diverse ancestries are celebrated with parades. More important than ancestry for today's Americans is their level of schooling. Americans with advanced degrees are increasingly putting distance between themselves and the rest of society—in both a literal and a figurative sense. Differences in educational attainment are tied to expanding inequalities in earnings, job quality, and neighborhoods. Still, there is much that ties all Americans together. Century of Difference knocks down myths about a growing culture war. Using seventy years of survey data, Fischer and Hout show that Americans did not become more fragmented over values in the late-twentieth century, but rather were united over shared ideals of self-reliance, family, and even religion. As public debate has flared up over such matters as immigration restrictions, the role of government in redistributing resources to the poor, and the role of religion in public life, it is important to take stock of the divisions and linkages that have typified the U.S. population over time. Century of Difference lucidly profiles the evolution of American social and cultural differences over the last century, examining the shifting importance of education, marital status, race, ancestry, gender, and other factors on the lives of Americans past and present. A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Census Series
When Barack Obama entered the White House, he followed a long-standing precedent for the development and implementation of major policies by appointing administrators—so-called policy czars—charged with directing the response to the nation’s most pressing crises. Demonstrating that the creation of policy czars is a strategy for combating partisan polarization and navigating the federal government’s complexity, Vaughn and Villalobos offer a sober, empirical analysis of what precisely constitutes a czar and what role they have played in the modern presidency.
Does social science influence social policy? This is a topic of perennial concern among students of politics, the economy, and other social institutions. In Effective Social Science, eight prominent social researchers offer first-hand descriptions of the impact of their work on government and corporate policy. In their own words, these noted political scientists, economists, and sociologists—among them such influential scholars as James Coleman, Joseph Pechman, and Eliz Ginzberg—tell us what it was like to become involved in the making of social policy. These rich personal narratives, derived from detailed interviews conducted by Bernard Barber (himself a veteran of the biomedical poliy arena), illuminate the role of social science in diverse areas, including school desegregation, comprehensive income taxation, military manpower utilization, transportation deregulation, and the protection of privacy. The patterns traced in this volume indicate that social science can influence policy, but only as part of a pluralistic, political process; effective social research requires advocacy as well as a conducive social and idealogical climate. For anyone curious about the relationship between social knowledge and social action, this book provides striking illustration and fruitful analysis.
Pressing environmental challenges are frequently surrounded with stakeholders on all sides of the issues. Opinions expressed by government agencies, the private sector, special interests, nonprofit communities, and the media, among others can quickly cloud the dialogue, leaving one to wonder how policy decisions actually come about.
In Environmental Policy Analysis and Practice, Michael R. Greenberg cuts through the complicated layers of bureaucracy, science, and the public interest to show how all policy considerations can be broken down according to six specific factors: 1) the reaction of elected government officials, 2) the reactions of the public and special interests, 3) knowledge developed by scientists and engineers, 4) economics, 5) ethical imperatives, and 6) time pressure to make a decision.
The book is organized into two parts, with the first part defining and illustrating each one of these criteria. Greenberg draws on examples such as nuclear power, pesticides, brownfield redevelopment, gasoline additives, and environmental cancer, but focuses on how these subjects can be analyzed rather than exclusively on the issues themselves. Part two goes on to describe a set of over twenty tools that are used widely in policy analysis, including risk assessment, environmental impact analysis, public opinion surveys, cost-benefit analysis, and others. These tools are described and then illustrated with examples from part one.
Weaving together an impressive combination of practical advice and engaging first person accounts from government officials, administrators, and leaders in the fields of public health and medicine, this clearly written volume is poised to become a leading text in environmental policy.
Economic reasoning has thus far dominated the field of public policy analysis. This new introduction to the field posits that policy analysis should have both a broader interdisciplinary base—including criteria from such fields as political science, sociology, law, and philosophy, as well as economics—and also a broader audience in order to foster democratic debate.
To achieve these goals, MacRae and Whittington have organized their textbook around the construction of decision matrices using multiple criteria, exploring the uses of the decision matrix formulation more fully than other texts. They describe how to set up the matrix, fill in cells and combine criteria, and use it as an aid for decision making. They show how ethical assessment of the affects that alternatives have on various parties differs from political analysis, and then they extend the use of the decision matrix to consider alternatives by affected parties, periods of time, or combined factors.
The authors also thoughtfully address the role of expert advice in the policy process, widening the scope of the field to describe a complex system for the creation and use of knowledge in a democracy.
An extended case study of HIV/AIDS policy follows each chapter (in installments), immediately illustrating the application of the material. The book also contains a glossary.
Expert Advice for Policy Choice provides a new basis for graduate education in public policy analysis and can also serve as a text in planning, evaluation research, or public administration. In addition, it will be of interest to students and professionals wishing to aid policy choice who work in such fields as sociology, political science, psychology, public health, and social work.
The Gloss of Harmony focuses on agencies of the United Nations, examining the paradox of entrusting relatively powerless and underfunded organisations with the responsibility of tackling some of the essential problems of our time. The book shows how international organisations shape the world in often unexpected and unpredictable ways.
The authors of this collection look not only at the official objectives and unintended consequences of international governance but also at how international organisations involve collective and individual actors in policy making, absorb critique, attempt to neutralise political conflict and create new political fields with local actors and national governments.
The Gloss of Harmony identifies the micro-social processes and complexities within multilateral organisations which have, up to now, been largely invisible. This book will have wide appeal not only to students and academics in anthropology, business studies and sociology but also to all practitioners concerned with international governance.
By highlighting the degree to which meaning making in public policy is more a cultural struggle than a rational and analytical project, Governing Narratives brings public administration back into a political context.
In Governing Narratives, Hugh T. Miller takes a narrative approach in conceptualizing the politics of public policy. In this approach, signs and ideographs—that is, constellations of images, feelings, values, and conceptualization—are woven into policy narratives through the use of story lines. For example, the ideograph “acid rain” is part of an environmental narrative that links dead trees to industrial air pollution. The struggle for meaning capture is a political struggle, most in evidence during times of change or when status quo practices are questioned.
Public policy is often considered to be the end result of empirical studies, quantitative analyses, and objective evaluation. But the empirical norms of science and rationality that have informed public policy research have also hidden from view those vexing aspects of public policy discourse outside of methodological rigor.
Phrases such as “three strikes and you’re out” or “flood of immigrants” or “don’t ask, don’t tell” or “crack baby” or “the death tax” have come to play crucial roles in public policy, not because of the reality they are purported to reflect, but because the meanings, emotions, and imagery connoted by these symbolizations resonate in our culture.
Social practices, the very material of social order and cultural stability, are inextricably linked to the policy discourse that accompanies social change. Eventually a winning narrative dominates and becomes institutionalized into practice and implemented via public administration. Policy is symbiotically associated with these winning narratives. Practices might change again, but this inevitably entails renewed political contestation. The competition among symbolizations does not imply that the best narrative wins, only that a narrative has won for the time being. However, unsettling the established narrative is a difficult political task, particularly when the narrative has evolved into habitual institutionalized practice.
Governing Narratives convincingly links public policy to the discourse and rhetoric of deliberative politics.
Douglas E. Ashford joins a growing number of scholars who have questioned the behavioralist assumptions of much policy science. The essays in this volume show why policy analysis cannot be confined to prevailing methods of social science. Policy-making behavior involves historical, contextual, and philosophical factors that also raise critical questions about the concepts and theory of the discipline. Ashford asks difficult questions about the contextual, conjunctural, and unintentional circumstances that affect actual decision-making. His bridging essays summarize opposing viewpoints and conflicting interpretations to help form a new agenda for comparative policy analysis.
How Information Matters examines the ways a network of state and local governments and nonprofit organizations can enhance the capacity for successful policy change by public administrators. Hale examines drug courts, programs that typify the highly networked, collaborative environment of public administrators today. These “special dockets” implement justice but also drug treatment, case management, drug testing, and incentive programs for non-violent offenders in lieu of jail time. In a study that spans more than two decades, Hale shows ways organizations within the network act to champion, challenge, and support policy innovations over time. Her description of interactions between courts, administrative agencies, and national organizations highlight the evolution of collaborative governance in the state and local arena, with vignettes that share specific experiences across six states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, and Tennessee) and ways that they acquired knowledge from the network to make decisions.
How Information Matters offers valuable insight into successful ways for collaboration and capacity building. It will be of special interest to public administrators or policymakers who wish to identify ways to improve their own programs’ performance.
Government agencies spend billions of dollars each year for policy analysis with the expectation that improved policy will follow. Although civil servants conduct some analysis themselves, more frequently they contract with research organizations to assess the probable consequences of new social policies and to answer other policy questions.
Jams M. Rogers develops a theory that explains and predicts the impact of policy analysis. He illustrates his theory through welfare reform, where policy analysis is caught in political warfare and has little chance to improve actual policy.
During the 1960s and 1970s over $108 million was spent on four unprecedented social scientific experiments to test the effectiveness of a major proposal to reform the welfare system. Now out of favor, the negative income tax was thn considered to be an appealing alternative to welfare. Starting in New Jersey and Pennsylvania during the Johnson administration, the experimental research continued through Carter's term and helped to keep reform proposal and research organizations alive. This book examines the results of these experiments and their effect on Carter's reform attempt—the Program for Better Jobs and Income.
One of the author's main conclusions concerns the role of value conflict. If there is strong disagreement within society over the goals of policy, analysis will seldom change the minds of decision makers or influence policy. Policy analysis is more likely to influence thinking and policy if the issue involves low conflict.
In this controversial book, Keith Krehbiel investigates and casts doubt upon a view of Congress held by many academics, journalists, and members of the lay public: that Congress is organized primarily to facilitate logrolling or "gains from trade" between legislators. The author puts forward an alternative "informational" theory that, unlike previous formal theories, highlights institutional needs and individual incentives for acquiring policy expertise. Using games with incomplete information, Krehbiel derives a set of unique and testable predictions about the organization of legislatures -- including the composition of committees and the procedures under which legislation is considered.
Krehbiel's creative illustrations and nonmathematical presentation of formal theories make this book accessible to a diverse set of readers. The political relevance and testability of games with incomplete information will be appreciated by game theorists and economists, while the book's findings make it essential reading for political scientists who study American politics, political institutions, or democratic legislatures.
In Just Results, Ralph E. Ellis provides an authoritative solution to one of the major problems in the field of public policy. Until now, analysts and planners have had no practical or accurate means of incorporating qualitative social concerns into the traditional quantitative formulas used in policymaking. By introducing a justice factor—a quantitative measure for social values—Ellis opens the door for more balanced policy decisions.
Using concrete, real-world examples, Ellis shows how policy analysts can better account for the use value—or practical measurable utility—of universally agreed-upon social benefits such as life, health, safety, and environmental preservation when making cost-benefit analyses. In this way, policymakers, and by extension, society as a whole, can avoid making unjust tradeoffs between important social values and comparatively frivolous economic benefits.
Drawing on philosophical works on justice from Kant through John Rawls, this book is informed by a theoretical defense of distributive justice that emphasizes diminishing marginal utility, thus favoring the poor. Just Results is a stimulating and highly applicable book that will be of great interest to philosophers, political scientists, policy analysts and planners.
Even before the wreckage of a disaster is cleared, one question is foremost in the minds of the public: "What can be done to prevent this from happening again?" Today, news media and policymakers often invoke the "lessons of September 11" and the "lessons of Hurricane Katrina." Certainly, these unexpected events heightened awareness about problems that might have contributed to or worsened the disasters, particularly about gaps in preparation. Inquiries and investigations are made that claim that "lessons" were "learned" from a disaster, leading us to assume that we will be more ready the next time a similar threat looms, and that our government will put in place measures to protect us.
In Lessons of Disaster, Thomas Birkland takes a critical look at this assumption. We know that disasters play a role in setting policy agendas—in getting policymakers to think about problems—but does our government always take the next step and enact new legislation or regulations? To determine when and how a catastrophic event serves as a catalyst for true policy change, the author examines four categories of disasters: aviation security, homeland security, earthquakes, and hurricanes. He explores lessons learned from each, focusing on three types of policy change: change in the larger social construction of the issues surrounding the disaster; instrumental change, in which laws and regulations are made; and political change, in which alliances are created and shifted. Birkland argues that the type of disaster affects the types of lessons learned from it, and that certain conditions are necessary to translate awareness into new policy, including media attention, salience for a large portion of the public, the existence of advocacy groups for the issue, and the preexistence of policy ideas that can be drawn upon.
This timely study concludes with a discussion of the interplay of multiple disasters, focusing on the initial government response to Hurricane Katrina and the negative effect the September 11 catastrophe seems to have had on reaction to that tragedy.
The functioning of the U.S. government is a bit messier than Americans would like to think. The general understanding of policymaking has Congress making the laws, executive agencies implementing them, and the courts applying the laws as written—as long as those laws are constitutional. Making Policy, Making Law fundamentally challenges this conventional wisdom, arguing that no dominant institution—or even a roughly consistent pattern of relationships—exists among the various players in the federal policymaking process. Instead, at different times and under various conditions, all branches play roles not only in making public policy, but in enforcing and legitimizing it as well. This is the first text that looks in depth at this complex interplay of all three branches.
The common thread among these diverse patterns is an ongoing dialogue among roughly coequal actors in various branches and levels of government. Those interactions are driven by processes of conflict and persuasion distinctive to specific policy arenas as well as by the ideas, institutional realities, and interests of specific policy communities. Although complex, this fresh examination does not render the policymaking process incomprehensible; rather, it encourages scholars to look beyond the narrow study of individual institutions and reach across disciplinary boundaries to discover recurring patterns of interbranch dialogue that define (and refine) contemporary American policy.
Making Policy, Making Law provides a combination of contemporary policy analysis, an interbranch perspective, and diverse methodological approaches that speak to a surprisingly overlooked gap in the literature dealing with the role of the courts in the American policymaking process. It will undoubtedly have significant impact on scholarship about national lawmaking, national politics, and constitutional law. For scholars and students in government and law—as well as for concerned citizenry—this book unravels the complicated interplay of governmental agencies and provides a heretofore in-depth look at how the U.S. government functions in reality.
In Making the Most of Mess, Emery Roe emphasizes that policy messes cannot be avoided or cleaned up; they need to be managed. He shows how policymakers and other professionals can learn these necessary skills from control operators who manage large critical infrastructures such as water supplies, telecommunications systems, and electricity grids. The ways in which they prevent major accidents and failures offer models for policymakers and other professionals to manage the messes they face.
Throughout, Roe focuses on the global financial mess of 2008 and its ongoing aftermath, showing how mismanagement has allowed it to morph into other national and international messes. More effective management is still possible for this and many other policy messes but that requires better recognition of patterns and formulation of scenarios, as well as the ability to translate pattern and scenario into reliability. Developing networks of professionals who respond to messes is particularly important. Roe describes how these networks enable the avoidance of bad or worse messes, take advantage of opportunities resulting from messes, and address societal and professional challenges. In addition to finance, he draws from a wide range of case material in other policy arenas. Roe demonstrates that knowing how to manage policy messes is the best approach to preventing crises.
Combining philosophy with practical politics, an expanding area of policy studies applies moral precepts, critical principles, and conventional values to collective decisions. This evolving new approach to policy analysis asserts that the same variety of ethical principles available to the individual are also available to make collective decisions in the public interest and should be used.
Although policy analysis has long been dominated by assumptions originally developed for the examination of markets, such as efficiency, these essays by leading scholars - the best work done in the field over the past three decades - explore alternatives to the “market paradigm” and show how moral discrimination and choice can extend beyond the individual to encompass public decisions.
Chapters by John Martin Gillroy and Maurice Wade review the political philosophies of Immanuel Kant and David Hume as backgrounds for the development of modern concepts of public policy choice. They present this anthology as a first step in codifying options, arguments, and methods within this important developing area of policy studies.
Narrative Policy Analysis presents a powerful and original application of contemporary literary theory and policy analysis to many of today’s most urgent public policy issues. Emery Roe demonstrates across a wide array of case studies that structuralist and poststructuralist theories of narrative are exceptionally useful in evaluating difficult policy problems, understanding their implications, and in making effective policy recommendations. Assuming no prior knowledge of literary theory, Roe introduces the theoretical concepts and terminology from literary analysis through an examination of the budget crises of national governments. With a focus on several particularly intractable issues in the areas of the environment, science, and technology, he then develops the methodology of narrative policy analysis by showing how conflicting policy "stories" often tell a more policy-relevant meta-narrative. He shows the advantage of this approach to reading and analyzing stories by examining the ways in which the views of participants unfold and are told in representative case studies involving the California Medfly crisis, toxic irrigation in the San Joaquin Valley, global warming, animal rights, the controversy over the burial remains of Native Americans, and Third World development strategies. Presenting a bold innovation in the interdisciplinary methodology of the policy sciences, Narrative Policy Analysis brings the social sciences and humanities together to better address real-world problems of public policy—particularly those issues characterized by extreme uncertainty, complexity, and polarization—which, if not more effectively managed now, will plague us well into the next century.
Opposing Power argues that perceptions of regime vulnerability and mutual dependency by opposition elites shape the building of opposition alliances. When electoral autocracies are consistently dominant, opposition parties eschew fully fledged alliances. At best, they allocate only one candidate to contest against the incumbent in each subnational electoral district to avoid splitting the opposition vote. However, when multiple regime-debilitating events strike within a short period of time, thus pushing an incumbent to the precipice of power, opposition elites expect victory, accepting costly compromises to build alliances and seize power. Opposing Power shows how oppositions build these alliances through case study comparisons in East and Southeast Asia—between the Philippines and South Korea in the late 1980s, and between Malaysia and Singapore from 1965 to 2020.
While civics textbooks describe an idealized model of “how a bill becomes law;” journalists often emphasize special interest lobbying and generous campaign contributions to Congress; and other textbooks describe common stages through which all policies progress, these approaches fail to convey—much less explain—the tremendous diversity in political processes that shape specific policies in contemporary Washington.
Bridging the gap between textbook models of how public policy should work, and how the process actually works in contemporary Washington, Pathways of Power provides a framework that integrates the roles of political interests and policy ideals in the contemporary policy process. This book argues that the policy process can be understood as a set of four distinctive pathways of policymaking—pluralist, partisan, expert, and symbolic—that draw upon different political resources, appeal to different political actors, and elicit unique strategies and styles of coalition building.
Revealing the strategic behavior of policy actors who compete to shift policies onto pathways that maximize their resources and influence, the book provides a fresh approach to understanding the seeming chaos and volatility of the policy process today. The book’s use of a wide universe of major policy decisions and case studies, focused on such key areas as health care, federal budgeting, and tax policy, provides a useful foundation for students of the policy process as well as for policy practitioners eager to learn more about their craft.
Policymaking is of its very nature a people-centered business-a good reason why highly effective policy analysts display not only superb technical expertise but excellent people skills as well. Those "people skills" include the ability to manage professional relationships, to learn from others about policy issues, to give presentations, to work in teams, to resolve conflict, to write for multiple audiences, and to engage in professional networking. Training programs for policy analysts often focus on technical skills. By working to enhance their people skills, policy analysts can increase their ability to produce technical work that changes minds. Fortunately, this unique book fills the gaps in such programs by covering the "people side" of policy analysis.
Beyond explaining why people skills matter, this book provides practical, easy-to-follow advice on how policy analysts can develop and use their people skills. Each chapter provides a Skill Building Checklist, discussion ideas, and suggestions for further reading. People Skills is essential reading for anyone engaged in public policymaking and public affairs as well as all policy analysts. Completely changing how we think about what it means to be an effective policy analyst, People Skills for Policy Analysts provides straightforward advice for students of policy analysis and public management as well as practitioners just starting their professional lives.
Policy Analysis by Design
Davis Bobrow University of Pittsburgh Press, 1987 Library of Congress H97.B6 1987 | Dewey Decimal 361.61
Policy Analysis by Design examines the approaches to public policy taken by those who try to teach it, write about it, and influence it through major analysis. Bobrow and Dryzek systematically compare the five major contending analytical frames of reference: welfare economics, public choice, social structure, information processing, and political philosophy. The workings of each frame are illustrated by means of a common, if imaginary, policy case - air pollution in the hypothetical Smoke Valley.
Rapid and controversial, the spread of school choice initiatives across the United States has radically changed political debate about public education. In this book, Michael Mintrom explores the complex world of open-enrollment policies, charter schools and voucher plans to reveal how and why school choice has become a major issue, and he draws important conclusions about how innovative individuals can spur significant change in the policy arena.
Policy entrepreneurs—individuals who take up a cause and make it part of the political agenda—have largely remained background figures without clear definition in the policymaking literature. This book is the first comprehensive and systematic treatment of the concept of policy entrepreneurship, providing an important foundation for explaining how policy proposals are initiated, considered, and adopted.
Mintrom uses the emergence of school choice in state politics to examine how policy change originates. He shows how policy entrepreneurs have been instrumental in placing school choice onto state legislative agendas, despite the lack of compelling evidence about its merits, and how they use social networks, reframe policy issues, and attempt to shift the sites of policy debate.
Blending innovative theory with both qualitative and quantitative investigation, Mintrom explains how energetic individuals made school choice a real choice. In doing so, he changes our broader understanding of how policy is formed.
Policy is government’s response to changing times, the key to its successful adaptation. It tackles problems as they arise, from foreign relations and economic affairs to race relations and family affairs. Karen Orren and Stephen Skowronek take a close look at this well-known reality of modern governance: the expanded domain of the “policy state.”
The Political Economy of Expertise is a carefully argued examination of how legislatures use expert research and testimony. Kevin Esterling demonstrates that interest groups can actually help the legislative process by encouraging Congress to assess research and implement well-informed policies.
More than mere touts for the interests of Washington insiders, these groups encourage Congress to enact policies that are likely to succeed while avoiding those that have too great of a risk of failure. The surprising result is greater legislative efficiency. The Political Economy of Expertise illustrates that this system actually favors effective and informed decision making, thereby increasing the likelihood that new policies will benefit the American public.
Kevin M. Esterling is Assistant Professor at the University of California, Riverside.
Some say that public policy can be made without the benefit of theory—that it emerges, instead, through trial-and-error. Others see genuine philosophical issues in public affairs but try to resolve them through fanciful examples. Both, argues Robert E. Goodin, are wrong.
Goodin—a political scientist who is also an associate editor of Ethics—shows that empirical and ethical theory can and should guide policy. To be useful, however, these philosophical discussions of public affairs must draw upon actual policy experiences rather than contrived cases. Further, they must reflect the broader social consequences of policies rather than just the dilemmas of personal conscience.
Effectively integrating the literatures of social science, policy science, and philosophy, Goodin provides a theoretically sophisticated yet empirically well-grounded analysis of public policies, the principles underlying them, the institutions shaping them, and the excuses offered for their failures. This analysis is enhanced by the author's discussion of such specific cases as the disposal of nuclear wastes and the priority accorded national defense—cases that illustrate Goodin's theoretical and methodological framework for approaching policy issues.
How does the government decide what’s a problem and what isn’t? And what are the consequences of that process? Like individuals, Congress is subject to the “paradox of search.” If policy makers don’t look for problems, they won’t find those that need to be addressed. But if they carry out a thorough search, they will almost certainly find new problems—and with the definition of each new problem comes the possibility of creating a government program to address it.
With The Politics of Attention, leading policy scholars Frank R. Baumgartner and Bryan D. Jones demonstrated the central role attention plays in how governments prioritize problems. Now, with The Politics of Information, they turn the focus to the problem-detection process itself, showing how the growth or contraction of government is closely related to how it searches for information and how, as an organization, it analyzes its findings. Better search processes that incorporate more diverse viewpoints lead to more intensive policymaking activity. Similarly, limiting search processes leads to declines in policy making. At the same time, the authors find little evidence that the factors usually thought to be responsible for government expansion—partisan control, changes in presidential leadership, and shifts in public opinion—can be systematically related to the patterns they observe.
Drawing on data tracing the course of American public policy since World War II, Baumgartner and Jones once again deepen our understanding of the dynamics of American policy making.
How much and in which direction have the welfare states among the Western democracies changed over the past decades? Moreover, under what conditions have governments enacted these changes? Based on insights from prospect theory, Barbara Vis demonstrates how socioeconomic or political setbacks affect a government’s view of risk—and thereby the degree and type of reform they pursue. This study’s new theoretical stance and innovative methodological approach make it a must read for those policymakers, scholars, and students interested in the politics of welfare state reform.
Polycentric Games and Institutions summarizes contributions to the analysis of institutions made by scholars associated with the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University.
The readings in this volume illustrate several varieties of institutional analysis. Each reading builds upon the foundation of game theory to address similar sets of questions concerning institutions and self-governance. The chapters in the first section lay out interrelated frameworks for analysis. Section two illustrates the normative component of institutions and their effects on human behavior. Readings in the following two sections detail how these frameworks have been applied to models of specific situations. Section five presents a modeling exercise exploring the functions of monitoring and enforcement, and the sixth section discusses approaches to the problems of complexity that confront individuals playing polycentric games. The final readings provide overviews of experimental research on the behavior of rational individuals.
Contributors include Arun Agrawal, Sue E. S. Crawford, Clark C. Gibson, Roberta Herzberg, Larry L. Kiser, Michael McGinnis, Stuart A. Marks, Elinor Ostrom, Vincent Ostrom, James Walker, Franz J. Weissing, John T. Williams, and Rick Wilson.
Michael McGinnis is Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and Co-Associate Director, Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University.
If knowledge is power, then John Hird has opened the doors for anyone interested in public policymaking and policy analysis on the state level. A beginning question might be: does politics put gasoline or sugar in the tank? More specifically, in a highly partisan political environment, is nonpartisan expertise useful to policymaking? Do policy analysts play a meaningful role in decision making? Does policy expertise promote democratic decision making? Does it vest power in an unelected and unaccountable elite, or does it become co-opted by political actors and circumstances? Is it used to make substantive changes or just for window-dressing?
In a unique comparative focus on state policy, Power, Knowledge, and Politics dissects the nature of the policy institutions that policymakers establish and analyzes the connection between policy research and how it is actually used in decision making. Hird probes the effects of politics and political institutions—parties, state political culture and dynamics, legislative and gubernatorial staffing, partisan think tanks, interest groups—on the nature and conduct of nonpartisan policy analysis. Through a comparative examination of institutions and testing theories of the use of policy analysis, Hird draws conclusions that are more useful than those derived from single cases.
Hird examines nonpartisan policy research organizations established by and operating in U.S. state legislatures—one of the most intense of political environments—to determine whether and how nonpartisan policy research can survive in that harsh climate. By first detailing how nonpartisan policy analysis organizations came to be and what they do, and then determining what state legislators want from them, he presents a rigorous statistical analysis of those agencies in all 50 states and from a survey of 800 state legislators. This thoroughly comprehensive look at policymaking at the state level concludes that nonpartisan policy analysis institutions can play an important role—as long as they remain scrupulously nonpartisan.
Drawing on the work of Foucault and Bourdieu, David Lindenfeld illuminates the practical imagination as it was exhibited in the transformation of the political and social sciences during the changing conditions of nineteenth-century Germany. Using a wealth of information from state and university archives, private correspondence, and a survey of lecture offerings in German universities, Lindenfeld examines the original group of learned disciplines which originated in eighteenth-century Germany as a curriculum to train state officials in the administration and reform of society and which included economics, statistics, politics, public administration, finance, and state law, as well as agriculture, forestry, and mining. He explores the ways in which some systems of knowledge became extinct, and how new ones came into existence, while other migrated to different subject areas.
Lindenfeld argues that these sciences of state developed a technique of deliberation on practical issues such as tax policy and welfare, that serves as a model for contemporary administrations.
The premise behind this book is that policy making provides a useful perspective for studying the presidency, perhaps the most important and least understood policy-making institution in the United States. The eleven essays focus on diverse aspects of presidential policy making, providing insights on the presidency and its relationship to other policy-making actors and institutions. Major topics addressed include the environment of presidential policy making and the constraints it places on the chief executive; relationships with those outside the executive branch that are central to presidential policy making; attempts to lead the public and Congress; presidential decision making; and administration or implementation of policies in the executive branch, a topic that has received limited attention in the literature on the presidency.
Averch describes and analyzes common strategies for solving problems in public policy. The strategies discussed include the use of markets, bureaus, regulation, planning and budgeting, benefit-cost, systems analysis, and evaluation. He examines the historical development of each strategy; describes how each strategy would ideally work; explains the necessary or sufficient conditions that permit each strategy to work; lists the potential failures of each strategy; and provides a judgment or appraisal of each strategy.
Manski argues that public policy is based on untrustworthy analysis. Failing to account for uncertainty in an uncertain world, policy analysis routinely misleads policy makers with expressions of certitude. Manski critiques the status quo and offers an innovation to improve both how policy research is conducted and how it is used by policy makers.
This collection of essays examines how the social sciences in America were developed as a means of social reform and later, especially after World War II, as a tool in federal policymaking and policy analysis. It also uses arenas of policymaking, such as early childhood education and welfare and its reform, as case studies in which social research was used, in policy decisions or in setting and evaluating policy goals. The book is written to aid students of public policy to appreciate the complex relationship of information--principally, of social science research--to policymaking at the federal level.
David L. Featherman is Professor of Sociology and Psychology, Director and Senior Research Scientist, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan. Maris A. Vinovskis is Bentley Professor of History, Senior Research Scientist, Institute for Social Research, Faculty member, School of Public Policy, University of Michigan.
All of the essays in this new collection by Thomas Schelling convey his unique perspective on individuals and society. This perspective has several characteristics: it is strategic in that it assumes that an important part of people’s behavior is motivated by the thought of influencing other people’s expectations; it views the mind as being separable into two or more parts (rational/irrational; present-minded/future-minded); it is motivated by policy concerns—smoking and other addictions, global warming, segregation, nuclear war; and while it accepts many of the basic assumptions of economics—that people are forward-looking, rational decision makers, that resources are scarce, and that incentives are important—it is open to modifying them when appropriate, and open to the findings and insights of other social science disciplines.
Schelling, a 2005 Nobel Prize winner, has been one of the four or five most important social scientists of the past fifty years, and this collection shows why.
When the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the Red Scare seized the American public. While President Eisenhower cautioned restraint, his hand was forced, and NASA’s budget had increased five thousand percent over its pre-Sputnik levels by the time President Kennedy proposed landing a man on the moon. Spending on the space race is in no way unique; Almost every policy area has its own Sputnik-type story, where waves of popular support for an idea (or disillusionment with a previous one) created new political priorities, resulting in dramatic changes to the budget or compelling agencies to respond quickly with little knowledge or preparation. Is this instability an inherent feature of the policy process, or is it possible for an agency to deal with problems in a way that insulates it from swings in public opinion and thus imposes some stability on the decision making process?
Derek A. Epp argues that some agencies can indeed do that and that instability is at least partially a function of poor institutional design. While it is inherently more challenging to maintain stability around complex problems like immigration or climate change, the deliberative process itself can affect the degree of stability around an issue. Epp looks at whether agencies follow a deliberative model for decision making, in which policies are developed by means of debate among a small group of policymakers, or a collective model, in which the opinions of many people are aggregated, as with the stock market. He argues that, in many instances, the collective model produces more informed and stable policy outcomes that can be adapted more readily to new information and changing public priorities.
Think Tanks in America
Thomas Medvetz University of Chicago Press, 2012 Library of Congress JK468.C7M43 2012 | Dewey Decimal 320.60973
Over the past half-century, think tanks have become fixtures of American politics, supplying advice to presidents and policy makers, expert testimony on Capitol Hill, and convenient facts and figures to journalists and media specialists. But what are think tanks? Who funds them? What kind of “research” do they produce? Where does their authority come from? And how influential have they become?
In Think Tanks in America, Thomas Medvetz argues that the unsettling ambiguity of the think tank is less an accidental feature of its existence than the very key to its impact. By combining elements of more established sources of public knowledge—universities, government agencies, businesses, and the media—think tanks exert a tremendous amount of influence on the way citizens and lawmakers perceive the world, unbound by the more clearly defined roles of those other institutions. In the process, they transform the government of this country, the press, and the political role of intellectuals. Timely, succinct, and instructive, this provocative book will force us to rethink our understanding of the drivers of political debate in the United States.
This book looks beyond politics to show how the ability of the U.S. government to implement policies is strongly affected by various economic constraints. These include the credibility of the policies, the ability of government to commit to them, the extent to which firms and consumers rationally anticipate their effects, whether the success of a policy further encourages firms and individuals to behave in intended ways, and whether the behavior of such actors can be sustained without continued government intervention.
The authors apply these concepts to four areas of policy: macroeconomic policies to promote employment and economic growth, redistributive policies to benefit the poor and the elderly, production policies to provide goods and services, and regulatory policies to guide the behavior of firms and individuals. In doing so they provide plausible explanations of many puzzling phenomena—for example, why government has been successful in reducing cigarette smoking, but has failed to get people to install and maintain emission-control devices in their cars.
This book recasts debates about public policy, avoiding conventional “pro-government” or “anti-government” positions; rather, it helps to predict when public policy will succeed.
Cass R. Sunstein Harvard University Press, 2009 Library of Congress HM1101.S864 2007 | Dewey Decimal 320.60973
Nuclear bombs in suitcases, anthrax bacilli in ventilators, tsunamis and meteors, avian flu, scorchingly hot temperatures: nightmares that were once the plot of Hollywood movies are now frighteningly real possibilities. How can we steer a path between willful inaction and reckless overreaction?
Cass Sunstein explores these and other worst-case scenarios and how we might best prevent them in this vivid, illuminating, and highly original analysis. Singling out the problems of terrorism and climate change, Sunstein explores our susceptibility to two opposite and unhelpful reactions: panic and utter neglect. He shows how private individuals and public officials might best respond to low-probability risks of disaster—emphasizing the need to know what we will lose from precautions as well as from inaction. Finally, he offers an understanding of the uses and limits of cost–benefit analysis, especially when current generations are imposing risks on future generations.
Throughout, Sunstein uses climate change as a defining case, because it dramatically illustrates the underlying principles. But he also discusses terrorism, depletion of the ozone layer, genetic modification of food, hurricanes, and worst-case scenarios faced in our ordinary lives. Sunstein concludes that if we can avoid the twin dangers of overreaction and apathy, we will be able to ameliorate if not avoid future catastrophes, retaining our sanity as well as scarce resources that can be devoted to more constructive ends.