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Paperback 336 pp.
21 figures, 6" x 9"



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Imprint: OUP Canada

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Studying Public Policy

Policy Cycles and Policy Subsystems, Third Edition

Michael Howlett, M. Ramesh and Anthony Perl

Studying Public Policy examines three dimensions of efforts to engage and resolve public problems: policy actors, institutions, and ideas. Using this focus, the book overviews past efforts to understand public policy-making, outlines the different stages of the policy-making process, and discusses the principal elements and patterns of policy dynamics. Developing an analytical framework of the subject, the text examines the theoretical and conceptual foundations of, and approaches used in, policy sciences giving students a solid basis for understanding public policy. This edition has been fully updated with new developments in the field and revised with clear language and an easy-to-understand structure, making it the most current, student-friendly resource available.

Readership : Suitable for second- and third-year Introduction to Public Policy courses at the college and university level.

Part I: Methodology, Theory, and Context in Public Policy Research
1. Introduction: Why Study Public Policy?
Overview of the Book
Public Policy Defined
Methodological Implications for Studying Public Policy
The Policy Cycle Framework of Analysis: An Applied Problem-Solving Model of the Policy Process
Structure of the Book
2. Understanding Public Policy: Theoretical Approaches
Evolution of the Policy Sciences
Approaches to Public Policy Analysis: Positivism and Post-Positivism
Approaches to Public Policy Studies: Multi-Level, Multi-Disciplinary Theorizing with Different Units of Analysis
3. The Policy Context
Introduction: Institutions, Ideas, and Actors
The Political-Economic Context
Policy-Making in the Liberal-Democratic Capitalist State
The International System and Public Policy
Policy Subsystems and Policy Regimes: Integrating Institutions, Ideas, and Actors
Part II: The Five Stages of the Policy Cycle
4. Agenda-Setting
The Objective Construction of Policy Problems: The Role of Social Conditions and Structures
The Subjective Construction of Policy Problems: The Role of Policy Actors and Paradigms
Combining Ideas, Actors, and Structures in Multi-Variable Models of Agenda-Setting
Modes of Agenda-Setting
Linking Agenda-Setting Modes to Content: Policy Windows and Policy Monopolies
Conclusion: Revisiting Agenda-Setting Modes through a Policy Subsystem Lens
5. Policy Formulation: Policy Instruments and Policy Design
What Is Policy Formulation?
The Phases of Policy Formulation
The General Content of Policy Formulation
The Substance of Policy Formulation: Policy Instruments
Common Policy Tools by Category
The Nature of Policy Alternatives
The Role of Policy Subsystems in Policy Formulation
Conclusion: Understanding Policy Formulation Styles as a Function of Policy Regimes
6. Public Policy Decision-Making
Actors in the Decision-Making Process
Choices: Negative, Positive, and Non-Decisions
Early Models of Decision-Making: Rationalism and Incrementalism
Efforts To Move Beyond Rationalism and Incrementalism
Conclusion: Revisiting Public Policy Decision-Making Modes
7. Policy Implementation
Actors and Activities in Policy Implementation
Implementation Theory
Implementation as Policy Design: Instrument Choices and Policy Mixes
Implementation Styles and Long-Term Instrument Preferences
Conclusion: Subsystem Complexity and Issue Tractability as Key Determinants of Implementation Success and Failure
8. Policy Evaluation: Policy-Making as Policy Learning
Positivist and Post-Positivist Policy Evaluation
Policy Evaluation as Policy Learning
Actors in the Policy Evaluation Process
The Outcomes of Policy Evaluation: Policy Feedback and Policy Termination
Linking Policy Evaluation and Learning: Evaluation Styles in Government
Conclusion: The Key Role of Evaluation and Feedback in the Policy Cycle
Part III: Long-Term Policy Dynamics
9. Patterns of Policy Change
Outcomes of Policy Succession: Policy Feedback and Policy Termination
Types of Policy Change: Normal and Atypical

There are no Instructor/Student Resources available at this time.

Michael Howlett is Burnaby Mountain Chair and Professor of Political Science at Simon Fraser University. M. Ramesh is an Associate 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.

Public Policy in Canada - Lydia Miljan
Making Sense in the Social Sciences - Margot Northey, Lorne Tepperman and Patrizia Albanese

Special Features

  • Up-to-date. 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. Revised with clear language and a structure that is easy for undergraduate students to understand.
  • Expertly written. Authors are well-known in the field, lending their expertise to make this an authoritative resource.
  • Helpful learning tools. New pedagogical devices such as end-of-chapter discussion questions and list of further readings aid student understanding of subject matter.
  • Canadian approach in an international context. Inclusive terminology is used to highlight the similarities between policy studies and policy science in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada, helping students in this country understand how Canadian practices compare with those throughout the world.