Public policy

Public policy

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Public policy as government action is generally the principled guide to action taken by the administrative or executive branches of the state
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

 with regard to a class of issues in a manner consistent with law and institutional customs. In general, the foundation is the pertinent national and subnational constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

al law and implementing legislation such as the US Federal code. Further substrates include both judicial interpretations and regulations which are generally authorized by legislation. Other scholars define it as a system of "courses of action, regulatory
Regulation
Regulation is administrative legislation that constitutes or constrains rights and allocates responsibilities. It can be distinguished from primary legislation on the one hand and judge-made law on the other...

 measures, law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

s, and funding
Funding
Funding is the act of providing resources, usually in form of money , or other values such as effort or time , for a project, a person, a business or any other private or public institutions...

 priorities concerning a given topic promulgated by a governmental entity or its representatives." Public policy is commonly embodied "in constitutions, legislative acts, and judicial decisions."

In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, this concept refers not only to the end result of policies, but more broadly to the decision-making and analysis
Analysis
Analysis is the process of breaking a complex topic or substance into smaller parts to gain a better understanding of it. The technique has been applied in the study of mathematics and logic since before Aristotle , though analysis as a formal concept is a relatively recent development.The word is...

 of governmental decisions. As an academic discipline
Academic discipline
An academic discipline, or field of study, is a branch of knowledge that is taught and researched at the college or university level. Disciplines are defined , and recognized by the academic journals in which research is published, and the learned societies and academic departments or faculties to...

, public policy is studied by professors and students at public policy schools of major universities throughout the country. The U.S. professional association of public policy practitioners, researchers, scholars, and students is the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management
Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management
The Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management is an American organization whose focus is improving public policy and management by fostering excellence in research, analysis, and education. APPAM founded the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management in 1981.- External links :* * * *...

.

Government actions


Shaping public policy is a complex and multifaceted process that involves the interplay of numerous individuals and interest groups competing and collaborating to influence policymakers to act in a particular way. These individuals and groups use a variety of tactics and tools to advance their aims, including advocating their positions publicly, attempting to educate supporters and opponents, and mobilizing allies on a particular issue.

In this context, advocacy can be defined as attempting to influence public policy through education, lobbying, or political pressure. Advocacy groups "often attempt to educate the general public as well as public policy makers about the nature of problems, what legislation is needed to address problems, and the funding required to provide services or conduct research. Although advocacy is viewed as unseemly by some in the professional and research community, it is clear that public policy priorities are influenced by advocacy. Sound research data can be used to educate the public as well as policy makers, thereby improving the public policy process."

As an academic discipline



As an academic discipline, public policy brings in elements of many social science fields and concepts, including economics
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

, sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

, political economy
Political economy
Political economy originally was the term for studying production, buying, and selling, and their relations with law, custom, and government, as well as with the distribution of national income and wealth, including through the budget process. Political economy originated in moral philosophy...

, program evaluation
Program evaluation
Project evaluation is a systematic method for collecting, analyzing, and using information to answer questions about projects, policies and programs, particularly about their effectiveness and efficiency...

, policy analysis
Policy analysis
Policy analysis is "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". However, policy analysis can be divided into two major fields. Analysis of policy is analytical and descriptive—i.e., it...

, and public management
Public management
Public management is a term that considers that government and non-profit administration resembles private-sector management in some important ways. As such, there are management tools appropriate in public and in private domains, tools that maximize efficiency and effectiveness...

, all as applied to problems of governmental administration, management, and operations. At the same time, the study of public policy is distinct from political science or economics, in its focus on the application of theory to practice. While the majority of public policy degrees
Public policy degrees
Public policy degrees, public administration degrees and public affairs degrees are master and PhD level professional degrees offered by public policy schools...

 are master's
Master's degree
A master's is an academic degree granted to individuals who have undergone study demonstrating a mastery or high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice...

 and doctoral
Doctorate
A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder to teach in a specific field, A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder...

 degrees, several universities also offer undergraduate education in public policy.

Policy schools tackle policy analysis differently. The Harris School of Public Policy Studies
Harris School of Public Policy Studies
The Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies is the public policy school of the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It is one of the top policy schools in the United States. It is located on the University's main campus in Hyde Park...

 at the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

 has a more quantitative and economics approach to policy, the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon uses computational
Computational science
Computational science is the field of study concerned with constructing mathematical models and quantitative analysis techniques and using computers to analyze and solve scientific problems...

 and empirical
Empirical
The word empirical denotes information gained by means of observation or experimentation. Empirical data are data produced by an experiment or observation....

 methods, while the John F. Kennedy School of Government
John F. Kennedy School of Government
The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University is a public policy and public administration school, and one of Harvard's graduate and professional schools...

 at Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

 has a more political science and leadership based approach. The Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs
Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs
The Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs is one of the undergraduate and graduate schools of Indiana University, and is the largest public policy and environmental studies school of its kind in the United States...

 provides traditional public policy training with multidisciplinary concentrations available in the environmental sciences and nonprofit management.

Traditionally, the field of public policy focused on domestic policy
Domestic policy
Domestic policy, also known as public policy, presents decisions, laws, and programs made by the government which are directly related to all issues and activity within the country....

. However, the wave of economic globalization
Globalization
Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

, which ensued in the late 20th and early 21st
21st century
The 21st century is the current century of the Anno Domini era or the Common Era in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. The century began on January 1, 2001 and will end on December 31, 2100. The years from 2001 to 2010 are historical; the years from 2011 to 2100 are subject to futurology and...

 centuries, created a need for a subset of public policy that focuses on global governance
Global governance
Global governance or world governance is the political interaction of transnational actors aimed at solving problems that affect more than one state or region when there is no power of enforcing compliance. The modern question of world governance exists in the context of globalization...

, especially as it relates to issues that transcend national borders such as climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

, terrorism
Terrorism
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

, nuclear proliferation
Nuclear proliferation
Nuclear proliferation is a term now used to describe the spread of nuclear weapons, fissile material, and weapons-applicable nuclear technology and information, to nations which are not recognized as "Nuclear Weapon States" by the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, also known as the...

, and economic development
Economic development
Economic development generally refers to the sustained, concerted actions of policymakers and communities that promote the standard of living and economic health of a specific area...

. Consequently, many traditional public policy schools had to tweak their curricula to adjust to this new policy landscape. In contrast, some specialty schools that were conceived to be "international policy" schools from the start had less of an adjustment to make. These programs typically require mastery of a second language
Second language
A second language or L2 is any language learned after the first language or mother tongue. Some languages, often called auxiliary languages, are used primarily as second languages or lingua francas ....

 and take a cross-cultural
Cross-cultural
cross-cultural may refer to*cross-cultural studies, a comparative tendency in various fields of cultural analysis*cross-cultural communication, a field of study that looks at how people from differing cultural backgrounds communicate...

 approach to public policy to address national
National
National may refer to:* Nation or country** Nationality** A citizen or subject of a country; by inference, frequently a person who owes loyalty to a country but lacks full membership in it, a non-citizen resident...

 and cultural biases
Cultural bias
Cultural bias is the phenomenon of interpreting and judging phenomena by standards inherent to one's own culture. The phenomenon is sometimes considered a problem central to social and human sciences, such as economics, psychology, anthropology, and sociology...

. For example, the Monterey Institute of International Studies
Monterey Institute of International Studies
The Monterey Institute of International Studies is a graduate school of Middlebury College, located in Monterey, California, United States...

 at Middlebury College
Middlebury College
Middlebury College is a private liberal arts college located in Middlebury, Vermont, USA. Founded in 1800, it is one of the oldest liberal arts colleges in the United States. Drawing 2,400 undergraduates from all 50 United States and over 70 countries, Middlebury offers 44 majors in the arts,...

 focuses almost exclusively on international
International
----International mostly means something that involves more than one country. The term international as a word means involvement of, interaction between or encompassing more than one nation, or generally beyond national boundaries...

 public policy through a mix of interdisciplinary and cross-cultural
Cross-cultural
cross-cultural may refer to*cross-cultural studies, a comparative tendency in various fields of cultural analysis*cross-cultural communication, a field of study that looks at how people from differing cultural backgrounds communicate...

 analysis called the "Monterey Way" .

See also

  • List of public policy topics by country
  • List of public administration schools
  • Mandate (politics)
    Mandate (politics)
    In politics, a mandate is the authority granted by a constituency to act as its representative.The concept of a government having a legitimate mandate to govern via the fair winning of a democratic election is a central idea of democracy...

  • Overton window
    Overton window
    The Overton window, in political theory, describes a "window" in the range of public reactions to ideas in public discourse, in a spectrum of all possible options on a particular issue. It is named after its originator, Joseph P...

  • Public comment
    Public comment
    -Introduction:Public comment is a specific term of art used by various government agencies in the United States, a constitutional democracy, in several circumstances. It is sometimes called "vox populi". Generally these circumstances are open public meetings of government bodies which set aside...


External links