An Introduction to the Policy Process

An Introduction to the Policy Process : Theories, Concepts, and Models of Public Policy Making

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The fourth edition of this widely-used text relates theory to practice in the public policy process. In a clear, conversational style, author Tom Birkland conveys the best current thinking on the policy process with an emphasis on accessibility and synthesis. This new edition has been reorganized to better explain the role of policy analysis in the policy process.

New to this edition:

* A new section on the role of policy analysis and policy analysts in the policy process.

* A revised and updated chapter surveying the social, economic, and demographic trends that are transforming the policy environment.

* Fully updated references to help the advanced reader locate the most important theoretical literature in policy process studies.

* New illustrations and an improved layout to clarify key ideas and stimulate classroom discussion.

The book makes generous use of visual aids and examples that link policy theory to the concrete experience of practitioners. It includes chapter-at-a-glance outlines, definitions of key terms, provocative review questions, recommended reading, and online materials for professors and students.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 400 pages
  • 191 x 235 x 20.32mm | 505g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • 4th New edition
  • 38 Line drawings, color; 7 Halftones, black and white; 19 Tables, color; 38 Illustrations, color; 7 Illustrations, black and white
  • 0765646625
  • 9780765646620
  • 295,874

Table of contents

List of Tables and Figures Preface 1. Introducing the Policy Process 2. Elements of the Policy Making System 3. The Historical and Structural Contexts of Public Policy Making 4. Official Actors and Their Roles in Public Policy 5. Unofficial Actors and Their Roles in Public Policy 6. Agenda Setting, Power, and Interest Groups 7. Policies and Policy Types 8. Decision Making and Policy Analysis 9. Policy Design and Policy Tools 10. Policy Implementation, Failure, and Learning 11. Science and Theory in the Study of Public Policy
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Review quote

"The fourth edition of An Introduction to the Policy Process remains the best primer for the scientific study of public policy. It provides an accessible and accurate overview of the essential concepts and theories of the policy process with concrete illustrations. The book is ideal for undergraduate and graduate students looking for a readable and comprehensive foundation in the field." -Christopher Weible, University of Colorado Denver, USA

"The fourth edition of An Introduction to the Policy Process provides readers with a broad perspective on American public policy, including insightful discussions of policy theory and the political processes that shape public policies. The author systematically explains his points in a clear, interesting, and accessible writing style. Birkland has made enduring contributions to the study of public policy, and in this textbook he has provided an excellent resource for teachers and students in the field of policy studies." -George Busenberg, Soka University of America, USA

"An Introduction to the Policy Process is among the most accessible textbooks there is on policy process research and theory. This new edition clearly explains basic concepts, theories, and models and incorporates illustrative data and empirical case study examples. Tom Birkland has the unique ability to connect conceptual and theoretical puzzles and debates with contemporary policy problems, which helps bridge the gap between theory and application. Raising questions for discussion and research, the book encourages the reader to think independently and critically about the policy process. I cannot think of a better way to inspire the next generation of public policy students and practitioners." -Daniel Nohrstedt, Uppsala University, Sweden

"As it ever was-and then some! Professor Birkland's 4th edition of this introductory text to public policy continues to deliver esoteric policy theories and practical public policy content pitched at a level both casual enough for undergraduates and sophisticated enough for beginning graduate students. New to this edition are arrays of teaching and learning tools that make it almost off-the-shelf ready for instructors; new organization of the material and a focus on recent trends make the content relevant for the here and now." -Michael Jones, Oregon State University, USA

"No one to my knowledge has assembled a book that covers such an expanse of the policy landscape. This volume introduces readers to the actors, outputs, models, and theories involved in deciding what government does in the name of the public." -Patrick Roberts, Virginia Tech, USA

"An Introduction to the Policy Process provides unparalleled coverage of public policy as emerging from a single underlying system. Students will quickly see how this process applies across states, policy domains, and time. They will gain an appreciation for how seemingly separate institutions all come together in the policy process. The text accomplishes this through emphasizing the connections between various components of the policy system and the result is a stronger understanding of the policy process that will stick with students and serve them in a wide variety of contexts." -Scott Robinson, Texas A&M Research Foundation, USA

"Written in a highly accessible style with clarity and sophistication, this textbook is a fine combination of theory and empirical observation. Its comprehensive and cohesive approach to the study of the policy process gives students the proper tools and perspectives with which to puzzle and understand how U.S. policy is made." -Nikolaos Zahariadis, University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA

"Birkland knows public policy. He makes classic and contemporary policy scholarship come alive by using recent policy cases and inviting readers to consider issues in relation to their own values and goals. Policy studies newbies and experts alike will find this comprehensive, reader-friendly primer engaging, informative, and inspiring." -Sandra Vergari, State University of New York at Albany, USA

"This very readable book provides a clear and cogent introduction to concepts and theory in public policy and communicates critical concepts and ideas to students in a relaxed and conversational tone. Birkland takes on and readily accomplishes the hard task of illustrating and illuminating various features of the policy process as well as organizing and synthesizing a vast amount of information on these features. Students, policy practitioners, and other readers will find the updated fourth edition insightful and replete with current, real-world examples. This book should be required reading for anyone seeking to acquire an understanding of the American policy process." -Alka Sapat, Florida Atlantic University, USA

"This greatly anticipated update to Birkland's straightforward and extremely accessible An Introduction to the Policy Process should be welcomed by anyone interested in policy as a political activity and those looking for a primer on understanding policy. The text embraces the complexity of policy making while bringing systematic coherence to how it can be understood and studied. Real life examples and case studies coupled with straightforward descriptions of theory bring to life the art and science of policy. I highly recommend this for undergraduates as an introduction to policy and for more advanced courses where policy is an important, but not central, element to study." -Toddi A. Steelman, University of Saskatchewan, Canada
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About Thomas A. Birkland

Thomas Birkland is William T. Kretzer is Distinguished Professor of Public Policy and Public Affairs in the School of Public and International Affairs, as well as Associate Dean for Research and Engagement of the College of Humanities and Social Science at North Carolina State University.
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Rating details

155 ratings
3.51 out of 5 stars
5 18% (28)
4 33% (51)
3 35% (55)
2 10% (15)
1 4% (6)
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