“What is policy?” Paul Cairney’s useful introductory materials continues (or, starts I suppose this appears to be episode 1).
Paul Cairney: Politics & Public Policy
(you can stream the podcast here or right click and save this link)
The first thing we do when studying public policy is to try to define it – as, for example, the sum total of government action, from signals of intent to the final outcomes. This sort of definition produces more questions:
- Does ‘government action’ include what policymakers say they will do as well as what they actually do? An unfulfilled promise may not always seem like policy.
- Does it include the effects of a decision as well as the decision itself? A policy outcome may not resemble the initial policy aims.
- What is ‘the government’ and does it include elected and unelected policymakers? Many individuals, groups and organisations influence policy and help carry it out.
- Does public policy include what policymakers do not do. Policy is about power, which is often exercised to keep important issues off…
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