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Encyclopedia > Policy analysis

Policy analysis or policy studies can be defined as "determining which of various alternative policies will most achieve a given set of goals in light of the relations between the policies and the goals" [1]. However, policy analysis can be divided into two major fields. Analysis of policy is analytical and descriptive, i.e. it attempts to explain policies and its development. Analysis for policy is prescriptive, i.e. it is involved with formulating policies and proposals (e.g. to improve social welfare)[2]. It depends on the area of interest and the purpose of analysis to determine what type of analysis is conducted.


It is frequently deployed in the public sector but is equally applicable to other kinds of organizations. Most policy analysts have graduated from public policy schools with public policy degrees. Policy analysis has its roots in systems analysis as instituted by United States Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara during the Vietnam War.[3] < [[[[math>Insert formula here</math>The public sector is that part of economic and administrative life that deals with the delivery of goods and services by and for the [[government </math></math></math></math> Direct administration funded through taxation; the delivering organisation generally has no specific requirement to meet commercial... Public policy schools teach students policy analysis/policy studies, public policy, public administration, and public affairs. ... Public policy degrees or public affairs degrees are master and PhD level professional degrees offered in public policy schools and include: Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.) Master of Public Management (M.P.M.) Master of Public Affairs (M.P.Aff. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... The United States Secretary of Defense is the head of the United States Department of Defense (DoD), concerned with the armed services and The role of the Secretary of Defense is to be the principal defense policy advisor to the President and is responsible for the formulation of general defense... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Combatants Republic of Vietnam United States Republic of Korea Thailand Australia New Zealand The Philippines National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam Democratic Republic of Vietnam People’s Republic of China Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea Strength US 1,000,000 South Korea 300,000 Australia 48,000...


Policy analysts can come from many backgrounds including sociology, psychology, economics, geography, law, political science, public policy, social work, environmental planning and public administration. Sociology (from Latin: socius, companion; and the suffix -ology, the study of, from Greek λόγος, lógos, knowledge) is an academic and applied discipline that studies society and human social interaction. ... Psychology (from Greek: ψυχή, psukhÄ“, spirit, soul; and λόγος, logos, knowledge) is both an academic and applied discipline involving the scientific study of mental processes and behavior. ... Face-to-face trading interactions on the New York Stock Exchange trading floor. ... Lady Justice or Justitia is a personification of the moral force that underlies the legal system (particularly in Western art). ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Political Science is the field concerning the theory and practice of politics and the description and analysis of political systems and political behaviour. ... Public policy is a course of action or inaction chosen by public authorities to address a problem. ... Professional social workers are concerned with social problems, their causes, their solutions and their human impacts. ... Environmental planning is a relatively new field of study that aims to merge the practice of urban planning with the concerns of environmentalism. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Public administration can be broadly described as the study and implementation of policy. ...

Contents

Approaches to policy analysis

Although various approaches to policy analysis exist, three general approaches can be distinguished: the analycentric, the policy process, and the meta-policy approach[4].


The analycentric approach focuses on individual problems and its solutions; its scope is the micro-scale and its problem interpretation is usually of a technical nature. The primary aim is to identify the most effective and efficient solution in technical and economic terms (e.g. the most efficient allocation of resources).


The policy process approach puts its focal point onto political processes and involved stakeholders; its scope is the meso-scale and its problem interpretation is usually of a political nature. It aims at determining what processes and means are used and tries to explain the role and influence of stakeholders within the policy process. By changing the relative power and influence of certain groups (e.g enhancing public participation and consultation), solutions to problems may be identified.


The meta-policy approach is a systems and context approach, i.e. its scope is the macro-scale and its problem interpretation is usually of a structural nature. It aims at explaining the contextual factors of the policy process, i.e. what are the political, economic and socio-cultural factors influencing it. As problems may result because of structural factors, e.g. a certain economic system or certain political institutions, solutions may include the change of the structure itself.


Methodology

Policy analysis is methodologically diverse using both qualitative methods and quantitative methods, including case studies, survey research, statistical analysis, and model building among others. One common methodology is to define the problem and evaluation criteria; identify all alternatives; evaluate them; and recommend the best policy option. Qualitative research is one of the two major approaches to research methodology in social sciences. ... Quantitative methods are research methods concerned with numbers and anything that is quantifiable. ... Case studies involve a particular method of research. ... Statistical surveys are used to collect quantitative information in the fields of marketing, political polling, and social science research. ... Statistics is the science and practice of developing knowledge through the use of empirical data expressed in quantitative form. ...


Models of policy analysis

Many models exist to analyze the creation and application of public policy. Analysts use these models to identify important aspects of policy, as well as explain and predict policy and its consequences.


Some models are:


Institutional model

Public policy is determined by political institutions, which give policy legitimacy. Government universally applies policy to all citizens of society and monopolizes the use of force in applying policy.


Process model

Policy creation is a process following these steps:

  • Identification of a problem and demand for government action.
  • Formulation of policy proposals by various parties (e.g, congressional committees, think tanks, interest groups).
  • Selection and enactment of policy; this is known as Policy Legitimation.
  • Evaluation of policy.

Rational model

Policy is intended to achieve maximum social gain. Rationally, the policy that maximizes benefits while minimizing costs is the best policy. It is a part of rational choice theory. Rational choice theory is a way of looking at deliberations between a number of potential courses of action, in which rationality of one form or another is used either to decide which course of action would be the best to take, or to predict which course of action actually will...


Incremental model

Policy is a continuation of previous government activity, with minimal changes made to previous policy.


Group model

The political system's role is to establish and enforce compromise between various, conflicting interests in society.


Elite model

Policy is a reflection of the interests of those individuals within a society that have the most power, rather than the demands of the masses.


See also

Public policy is a course of action or inaction chosen by public authorities to address a problem. ... This article is about the institution. ... This article is considered orphaned, since there are very few or no other articles that link to this one. ...

References

  1. ^ Nagel, Stuart S. (Ed.), 1999, Policy Analysis Methods. New Science Publishers, Inc.
  2. ^ Bührs, Ton and Bartlett, Robert V., 1993. Environmental Policy in New Zealand. The Politics of Clean and Green. Oxford University Press
  3. ^ Radin, Beryl (2000), Beyond Machiavelli : Policy Analysis Comes of Age. Georgetown University Press.
  4. ^ see Bührs, Ton and Bartlett, Robert V., 1993. Environmental Policy in New Zealand. The Politics of Clean and Green. Oxford University Press
  1. ^ Nagel, Stuart S. (Ed.), 1999, Policy Analysis Methods. New Science Publishers, Inc.
  2. ^ Bührs, Ton and Bartlett, Robert V., 1993. Environmental Policy in New Zealand. The Politics of Clean and Green. Oxford University Press
  3. ^ Radin, Beryl (2000), Beyond Machiavelli : Policy Analysis Comes of Age. Georgetown University Press.
  4. ^ see Bührs, Ton and Bartlett, Robert V., 1993. Environmental Policy in New Zealand. The Politics of Clean and Green. Oxford University Press

Further reading

  • Eugene Bardach, A Practical Guide for Policy Analysis: The Eightfold Path to More Effective Problem Solving
  • David L. Weimer and Aidan R. Vining, Policy Analysis: Concepts and Practice, Prentice Hall

External links

  • General Morphological Analysis: A General Method for Non-Quantified Modelling On Policy Analysis using computer-aided morphological analysis. From the Swedish Morphological Society

  Results from FactBites:
 
Policy analysis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (226 words)
Policy analysis refers to the analysis of existing or prospective policies with the intention of improving social welfare.
Policy analysis differs from program evaluation in that it attempts to evaluate changes to policies and programs rather than evaluating their current performance.
Policy analysis is methodologically diverse using both qualitative methods and quantitative methods, including case studies, survey research, statistical analysis, and model building among others.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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