Public policy

In recent years, remarkable progress has been made in behavioral research on a wide variety of topics, from behavioral finance, labor contracts, philanthropy, and the analysis of savings and poverty, to eyewitness identification and sentencing decisions, racism, sexism, health behaviors, and voting. Research findings have often been strikingly counterintuitive, with serious implications for public policymaking. In this book, leading experts in psychology, decision research, policy analysis, economics, political science, law, medicine, and philosophy explore major trends, principles, and general insights about human behavior in policy-relevant settings. Their work provides a deeper understanding of the many drivers--cognitive, social, perceptual, motivational, and emotional--that guide behaviors in everyday settings. They give depth and insight into the methods of behavioral research, and highlight how this knowledge might influence the implementation of public policy for the improvement of society.

This collection examines the policy relevance of behavioral science to our social and political lives, to issues ranging from health, environment, and nutrition, to dispute resolution, implicit racism, and false convictions. The book illuminates the relationship between behavioral findings and economic analyses, and calls attention to what policymakers might learn from this vast body of groundbreaking work.


Wide-ranging investigation into people's motivations, abilities, attitudes, and perceptions finds that they differ in profound ways from what is typically assumed. The result is that public policy acquires even greater significance, since rather than merely facilitating the conduct of human affairs, policy actually shapes their trajectory.


The first interdisciplinary look at behaviorally informed policymaking
Leading behavioral experts across the social sciences consider important policy problems
A compendium of behavioral findings and their application to relevant policy domains
Traditional policy analysis approaches are characterized by a focus on system modeling and choosing among policy alternatives. While successful in many cases, this approach has been increasingly criticized for being technocratic and ignoring the behavioral and political dimensions of most policy processes. In recent decades, increased awareness of the multi-actor, multiple perspective, and poly-centric character of many policy processes has led to the development of a variety of different perspectives on the styles and roles of policy analysis, and to new analytical tools and approaches – for example, argumentative approaches, participative policy analysis, and negotiation support. As a result, the field has become multi-faceted and somewhat fragmented.

Public Policy Analysis: New Developments acknowledges the variety of approaches and provides a synthesis of the traditional and new approaches to policy analysis. It provides an overview and typology of different types of policy analytic activities, characterizing them according to differences in character and leading values, and linking them to a variety of theoretical notions on policymaking. Thereby, it provides assistance to both end users and analysts in choosing an appropriate approach given a specific policy situation. By broadening the traditional approach and methods to include the analysis of actors and actor networks related to the policy issue at hand, it deepens the state of the art in certain areas. While the main focus of the book is on the cognitive dimensions of policy analysis, it also links the policy analysis process to the policymaking process, showing how to identify and involve all relevant stakeholders in the process, and how to create favorable conditions for use of the results of policy analytic efforts by the policy actors.

The book has as its major objective to describe the state-of-the-art and the latest developments in ex-ante policy analysis. It is divided into two parts. Part I explores and structures policy analysis developments, the development and description of approaches to diagnose policy situations, design policy analytic efforts, and policy process conditions. Part II focuses on recent developments regarding models and modeling for policy analysis, placing modeling approaches in the context of the variety of conditions and approaches elaborated in Part I.

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.
The Regulatory Craft tackles one of the most pressing public policy issues of our time—the reform of regulatory and enforcement practice. Malcolm K. Sparrow shows how the vogue prescriptions for reform (centered on concepts of customer service and process improvement) fail to take account of the distinctive character of regulatory responsibilities—which involve the delivery of obligations rather than just services.In order to construct more balanced prescriptions for reform, Sparrow invites us to reconsider the central purpose of social regulation—the abatement or control of risks to society. He recounts the experiences of pioneering agencies that have confronted the risk-control challenge directly, developing operational capacities for specifying risk-concentrations, problem areas, or patterns of noncompliance, and then designing interventions tailored to each problem. At the heart of a new regulatory craftsmanship, according to Sparrow, lies the central notion, "pick important problems and fix them." This beguilingly simple idea turns out to present enormously complex implementation challenges and carries with it profound consequences for the way regulators organize their work, manage their discretion, and report their performance. Although the book is primarily aimed at regulatory and law-enforcement practitioners, it will also be invaluable for legislators, overseers, and others who care about the nature and quality of regulatory practice, and who want to know what kind of performance to demand from regulators and how it might be delivered. It stresses the enormous benefit to society that might accrue from development of the risk-control art as a core professional skill for regulators.
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.

The Brookings Institution's Welfare Reform & Beyond Initiative was created to inform the critical policy debates surrounding the upcoming congressional reauthorization of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and a number of related programs that were created or dramatically altered by the 1996 landmark welfare reform legislation. The goal of the project has been to take the large volume of existing and forthcoming research studies and shape them into a more coherent and policy-oriented whole. This capstone collection gathers twenty brief essays (published between January 2001 and February 2002) that focus on assessing the record of welfare reform, specific issues likely to be debated before the TANF reauthorization, and a broader set of policy options for low-income families. It is a reader-friendly volume that will provide policymakers, the press, and the interested public with a comprehensive guide to the numerous issues that must be addressed as Congress considers the future of the nation's antipoverty policies. The collection covers the following topics and features a new introduction from the editors: - An Overview of Effects to Date - Welfare Reform Reauthorization: An Overview of Problems and Issues - A Tax Proposal for Working Families with Children - Welfare Reform and Poverty - Reducing Non-Marital Births - Which Welfare Reforms are Best for Children? - Welfare and the Economy - What Can Be Done to Reduce Teen Pregnancy and Out-of-Wedlock Births? - Changing Welfare Offices - State Programs - Welfare Reform and Employment - Fragile Families, Welfare Reform, and Marriage - Health Insurance, Welfare, and Work - Helping the Hard-to-Employ - Sanctions and Welfare Reform - Child Care and Welfare Reform - Job Retention and Advancement in Welfare Reform - Housing and Welfare Reform - Non-Citizens - Block Grant Structure - Food Stamps - Work Support System - Possible Welfare Reform in the Cities
This book is about the role of agents in policy and institutional change. It draws on cross-country case studies. The focus on ‘agency’ has been an important development, enabling researchers to better reveal the causal mechanisms generating institutional change (i.e., how institutional change actually takes place). However, past research has generally been limited to specific intellectual silos or scholarly domains of inquiry. Policy scholars, for example, have tended to focus on the various mechanisms and levels at which agency operates, drawing on institutionalist perspectives but not always actively contributing to institutionalist theory. Institutionalist perspectives, by contrast, have tended to operate at macro-levels of enquiry, embracing the ontological primacy of institutions in processes of isomorphism but not necessarily contributing to or embracing policy perspectives that engage in more granular analyses of policy making processes, implementation, and the instantiation of institutional and policy change. Despite the obvious complementarities of these two intellectual traditions, it is surprising how little collaborative work, or indeed cross fertilization of theory and analytical design has occurred. The core novelty of this volume is thus its focus on agential actors within institutional settings and processes of entrepreneurship that facilitate isomorphism and policy change. The book’s theoretical framework is grounded in variants of institutional theory, especially historical, sociological and organisational institutionalism and policy entrepreneurship literature. The overall conclusion is that that both institutionalists and public policy scholars have largely overlooked the importance of complex interactions between interdependent structures, institutions, and agents in processes of institutional and policy change.
'The new handbook by Peters and Pierre provides an invaluable addition to the literature. It offers new scholars and practitioners a means to navigate many of the complex theoretical and practical issues in contemporary policy analysis' - Mark Considine, University of Melbourne

The public policies of governments affect the lives and livelihoods of citizens every day in every country around the world. This handbook provides a comprehensive review and guide to the study, theory and practice of public policy today.

Section One, Making Policy, introduces the policy making process - the means by which public policies are formulated, adopted and implemented - and serves to review the many competing conceptualizations within the field.

Section Two, Substantive Policy Areas, focuses on a number of substantive policy areas to consider both diversity and commonalties across different sectoral policy areas.

Section Three, Evaluating Public Policy, addresses issues of policy analysis more directly and assesses successes and failures in public policy in an attempt to answer the question 'what is good policy?'.

The concluding chapter considers the different disciplinary contributions to the research and study of public policy both retrospectively and prospectively.

Drawing contributions from leading academics and policy analysts from around the world, the handbook illustrates the changing role of governments vis-à-vis the public and private sector and the different policy actors (national and international, governmental and non-governmental) involved in the policy making process.

It will be an essential companion for all advanced undergraduates, graduates, academics and practitioners across public policy and public administration, public management, government and political science.

Nel Noddings, one of the central figures in the contemporary discussion of ethics and moral education, argues that caring--a way of life learned at home--can be extended into a theory that guides social policy. Tackling issues such as capital punishment, drug treatment, homelessness, mental illness, and abortion, Noddings inverts traditional philosophical priorities to show how an ethic of care can have profound and compelling implications for social and political thought.

Instead of beginning with an ideal state and then describing a role for home and family, this book starts with an ideal home and asks how what is learned there may be extended to the larger social domain. Noddings examines the tension between freedom and equality that characterized liberal thought in the twentieth century and finds that--for all its strengths--liberalism is still inadequate as social policy. She suggests instead that an attitude of attentive love in the home induces a corresponding responsiveness that can serve as a foundation for social policy.

With her characteristic sensitivity to the individual and to the vulnerable in society, the author concludes that any corrective practice that does more harm than the behavior it is aimed at correcting should be abandoned. This suggests an end to the disastrous war on drugs. In addition, Noddings states that the caring professions that deal with the homeless should be guided by flexible policies that allow practitioners to respond adequately to the needs of very different clients. She recommends that the school curriculum should include serious preparation for home life as well as for professional and civic life.

Emphasizing the importance of improving life in everyday homes and the possible role social policy might play in this improvement, Starting at Home highlights the inextricable link between the development of care in individual lives and any discussion of moral life and social policy.
In 1841 the American sailing ship William Brown struck an iceberg. About half of the passengers and all of the crew were saved in two small, open boats. The next night, half of the passengers in the larger long-boat were thrown overboard because the boat was overfull. This was the first case of lifeboat ethics, of hard choices in the face of scarcity. Since then the question has been who should die so that others, equally needy, might live? Both the case of the William Brown and the ethics it spawned have been used in recent years to describe the problem of health care rationing generally, and organ transplantation specifically.

Koch reexamines and reinterpretes the paradigm case of lifeboat ethics, the story of the William Brown, not as an unavoidable tragedy, but as an avoidable series of errors. Its relation to more general issues of distributive justice are then considered. The lessons learned from both the historical review and its application to distributive principles are then applied to the problem of graft organ distribution in the United States. Through the use of maps, the problem of organ distribution is considered at a range of scales, from the international to the urban. The contextual issues become more evident as one moves from international to hemispheric, fron national to regional, and then local systems. Finally, Koch reviews the lessons in light of other problems of distribution in the face of scarcity. The central lesson-that scarcity is exacerbated where it is not in fact created by our distributive programs-is explored thoroughly. The result is no good choices for anyone and the continuation of the scarcity that for most seems inevitable, but, from the evidence provided, is itself an outcome of inequalities of distribution at different scales of society. Of particular interest to students, scholars, and policymakers involved with issues of planning and health care economics, medical geography, and concepts of justice.

Public policy permeates every aspect of our lives. It is the stuff of government, justifying taxes, driving legislation, and shaping our social services. Public policy gives us roads, railways and airports, emergency services, industry development, and natural resource management. While politicians make the decisions, public servants provide analysis and support for those choices.

Drawing on their extensive practical experience, the authors outline the processes used in making public policy. They systematically explain the relationships between political decision-makers, public service advisers, other community participants, and those charged with implementing the programs that result.

The sixth edition of this widely used introduction is fully updated, and includes new material on the professionalisation of politicians, the role of opposition members, loss of corporate memory in the public service, addressing systemic policy failure, nudge economics and the impact of social media and the sharing economy on policy making and government.

'An invaluable guide for practitioners, academics and students to the craft of policy analysis, development and evaluation. It is an important resource for those with a commitment to sound evidence-based public policy.'
Ken Smith, ANZSOG CEO and Dean

'An enduring and important contribution to the field. Althaus, Bridgman and Davis' pioneering policy cycle approach continues to offer vital insights into the policy-making process in Australia and internationally.'
Lisa Paul AO PSM, Former Secretary of the Department of Education
"The manner of presentation is so objective and projective that one finishes the book almost without realizing that it is perhaps the most effective indictment of democracy … ever penned."—John Dewey, The New Republic
Controversial and compelling, this 1922 work by a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner remains ever vital. Walter Lippmann is ranked among the most influential public figures of his era, and his reputation endures as one of history's greatest journalists. In Public Opinion, Lippmann examines democratic theory, citizenship in a democratic society, and the role of the media in forming public perceptions, expectations, and actions.
"Where mass opinion dominates the government," the author observes, "there is a morbid derangement of the true functions of power. The derangement brings about the enfeeblement, verging on paralysis, of the capacity to govern. This breakdown in the constitutional order is the cause of the precipitate and catastrophic decline of Western society," he warned, adding, "It may, if it cannot be arrested and reversed, bring about the fall of the West."
Public Opinion explores censorship and privacy, stereotypes, leadership, and the image of democracy. In doing so, it changed the nature of political science as a scholarly discipline, helped launch the profession of public relations, and introduced concepts that continue to play an important role in current political theory. It remains essential reading for students and others with an interest in politics, journalism, and history.
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