We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more

Studying Public Policy

Principles and Processes

Fourth Edition

Michael Howlett, M. Ramesh, and Anthony Perl

17 March 2020

ISBN: 9780199026142

416 pages

In Stock

Price: £87.99



Studying Public Policy develops an analytical framework of the subject for students in public policy courses. Instead of focussing on the substantive policy of a particular policy area, the book examines the theoretical and conceptual foundations of, and approaches used in, the policy sciences.

  • Fully updated to incorporate new developments in the field, new examples, and the teaching experiences of the authors, making it a practical guide for students and instructors alike
  • Accessible language throughout and a clear structure makes material easy for undergraduate students to understand
  • Expert authors lending their expertise to make this an authoritative resource
  • Helpful learning tools, such as end-of-chapter discussion questions and a list of further readings, aid student understanding of subject matter

About the Author(s)

Michael Howlett, Professor, Political Science, Simon Fraser University, M. Ramesh, Professor, Lew Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, and Anthony Perl, Professor, Political Science, Simon Fraser University

Michael Howlett is Canada Research Chair in Policy and Innovation for Climate Change and Burnaby Mountain Chair and Professor of Political Science at Simon Fraser University.

M. Ramesh is UNESCO Chair of Social Policy Design in Asia and a Professor at the Lew Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.

Anthony Perl is a Professor and the Director of the Urban Studies Program at Simon Fraser University.

Table of Contents

    Part I - Methodology, Theory, and Context in Public Policy Research
    Chapter 1 Studying Public Policy: Why and How
    Public Policy Defined
    Methodological Considerations for Studying Public Policy
    The Policy Cycle Framework: A Problem-Solving Model of the Policy Process
    The Need for Public Policy Capacity
    Identifying and Studying Policy Styles and Policy Regimes
    Overview of the Book
    Study Questions
    Further Readings
    Chapter 2 Understanding Public Policy: Theoretical Approaches
    Evolution of the Policy Sciences
    Approaches to Public Policy Analysis: Positivism and Post-Positivism Revisited
    Positivist Approaches to Policy Analysis
    Post-Positivist Approaches to Policy Analysis
    Reconciling the Positivist and Post-Positivist Approaches
    Approaches to Public Policy Studies: Multi-Level, Multi-Disciplinary
    Public Choice
    Class Analysis
    Study Questions
    Further Readings
    Chapter 3 The Policy Context: States and Societies
    Institutions, Ideas, and Actors in Public Policy
    The Role of Policy Ideas: Paradigms, Public Sentiments, Symbolic Frames, and Program Ideas
    The Political-Economic Context
    Policy-Making in the Liberal-Democratic Capitalist State
    Political-Economic Structures and Public Policy-Making
    Political Systems and Public Policy
    Domestic Policy Actors
    The International System and Public Policy
    Policy Subsystems and Policy Regimes: Integrating Institutions, Ideas, and Actors
    Policy Subsystems
    Study Questions
    Further Readings
    Part II - The Five Stages of the Policy Cycle
    Chapter 4 Agenda-Setting: Definition and Problematics
    What Is Agenda-Setting?
    Issue Initiation
    Issue Expansion
    The Problematics of Agenda-Setting: Issue-Attention Dynamics
    Issue-Attention in Governments and Society
    Problems versus Conditions
    Problem Tractability
    Other Dilemmas of Policy Problems
    The Substance of Agenda-Setting: Problem Construction
    Objective Construction: Convergence Theory and Political Business Cycles
    Subjective Construction: Ideas and Discourses
    Gauging Problem Severity: Indicators and Measures
    Actors and Tasks in Agenda-Setting
    Epistemic Communities
    Instrument Constituencies
    Advocacy Coalitions
    Policy Entrepreneurs and Policy Brokers
    Theories of Agenda-Setting: Ideas, Actors, and Structures
    Funnels of Causality
    Modes of Agenda-Setting
    The Multiple Streams Model and Its Evolution
    Conclusion: A Policy Subsystem Conception of Agenda-Setting
    Study Questions
    Further Readings
    Chapter 5 Policy Formulation: Identifying and Assessing Policy Alternatives
    What Is Policy Formulation?
    The Problematics of Policy Formulation
    Procedural and Substantive Capacity Limits
    Context in Policy Formulation: Design and Non-Design Orientations
    The Substance of Policy Formulation: Selecting Policy Tools
    Nodality, or Information-Based Policy Tools
    Authority-Based Policy Tools
    Treasure-Based Policy Tools
    Organization-Based Policy Tools
    The Formulation Challenge: Mixing and Bundling Policy Tools
    Actors in Policy Formulation
    Policy Advisors and Policy Advisory Systems
    Instrument Constituencies
    Modelling Policy Formulation
    Conclusion: Policy Formulation - Opening up the Black Box
    Study Questions
    Further Readings
    Chapter 6 Decision-Making in Public Policy: Policy Selection and Choice
    What Is Decision-Making in the Public Sector?
    Problematics of Decision-Making: An Unknown Future and Risks of Failure
    Over- and Under-Reactions
    Uncertainty, Ambiguity, Ignorance, and Incompetence
    The Substance of Decision-Making: Seeking Advice and Evidence about Policy Choices
    Policy Analysis
    Evidence-Based Decision-Making
    The Nature of Policy Choices: Negative, Positive, and Non-Decisions
    Actors in the Decision-Making Process
    Executive, Legislators, Judges, and Administrative Officials
    Policy Networks
    Theories of Decision-Making
    Early Rational and Incremental Models
    The Comprehensive and Bounded-Rationality Models
    Incremental Model
    Mixed-Scanning Models
    Garbage Can Models
    "Decision Accretion" Model
    Conclusion: Revisiting Public Policy Decision-Making Modes
    Study Questions
    Further Readings
    Chapter 7 Policy Implementation: Putting Policies into Effect
    What Is Policy Implementation?
    Policy Implementation Barriers: Perfect Implementation and the Anatomy of Failure
    Barriers to Policy Implementation Originating in the Policy Context
    Overcoming Policy Implementation Challenges: Understanding Policy Behaviour and the Foundations of Compliance
    Tools, Targets and Policy Compliance
    Uncertainty: The Need to Deal with Implementation Surprises
    Implementation Capacities
    Actors and Activities in Policy Implementation
    How Multiple Streams Influence Actors During Implementation
    The Problem Stream
    The Policy Stream
    The Politics Stream
    The Process Stream
    The Program Stream
    Implementation Theories: Seeking and Informing the Logic Behind Program Design
    First Generation: Borrowing from Public Administration
    Second Generation: Borrowing from Organization Theory
    Third Generation: Rationalist Theories and Game Theories
    Fourth Generation Implementation Theory: Taking Capacity Seriously
    Conclusion: Implementation Styles and Long-Term Instrument Preferences
    Study Questions
    Further Readings
    Chapter 8 Policy Evaluation: Policy-Making as Learning
    What Is Policy Evaluation?
    Perspectives on Evaluation: Positivist and Post-Positivist
    Approaches to Evaluation: Administrative and Political
    Policy Evaluation as Policy Learning
    Actors in the Policy Evaluation Process
    Internal Evaluators
    External Evaluators
    Types of Policy Evaluation
    Process Evaluation
    Impact Evaluation
    Evaluating and Assessing Policy Success and Failure
    Assessing the Results of Policy Evaluation
    Evaluation Criteria
    Dealing with the Results of Evaluation: Policy Feedback and Policy Termination
    Linking Policy Evaluation and Learning: Evaluation Styles in Government
    Conclusion: The Role of Evaluation in the Policy Cycle
    Study Questions
    Further Readings
    Part III - Long-Term Policy Dynamics
    Chapter 9 Patterns of Policy Change: Between Punctuations and Increments
    The Outcomes of Policy Succession
    Policy Feedback
    Policy Termination
    Types of Policy Change
    Normal Policy Change
    Atypical Policy Change
    Punctuated Equilibrium: Linking Normal and Atypical Policy Change
    The Continued Contemporary Relevance of Studying Public Policy: Can the Policy Cycle Model Cope with Challenges from "Truthiness"?
    Study Questions
    Further Readings

Related Titles