1000 words

Key policy theories and concepts in 1000 words.

These blog posts introduce you to key concepts in the study of public policy. They are all designed to turn a complex policymaking world into something simple enough to understand. Some of them focus on small parts of the system. Others present ambitious ways to explain the system as a whole. The wide range of concepts should give you a sense of a variety of studies out there, but my aim is to show you that these studies have common themes (many of which I introduce in 12 things to know about studying public policy).

I have also begun to experiment with podcasts, which I list under each post (and embed in each relevant post)

What is Policy? (podcast download)

Policy Concepts in 1000 Words: Policy change and measurement (podcast download)

Policy Concepts in 1000 Words: The Policy Cycle and its Stages (podcast download)

Policy Concepts in 1000 Words: Success and Failure (Evaluation) (podcast download)

Policy Concepts in 1000 Words: Bounded Rationality and Incrementalism (podcast download)

Policy Concepts in 1000 Words: ‘Evidence Based Policymaking’ (extra long podcast download, plus bonus lecture and Q&A)

Policy Concepts in 1000 Words: Institutions and New Institutionalism (podcast download)

Policy Concepts in 1000 Words: Rational Choice and the IAD (podcast download)

Policy Concepts in 1000 Words: Networks, sub-government and communities (podcast download)

Policy Concepts in 1000 Words: Framing (podcast download)

Policy Concepts in 1000 Words:  Punctuated Equilibrium Theory (podcast download)

Policy Concepts in 1000 Words: The Advocacy Coalition Framework (podcast download)

Policy Concepts in 1000 Words: Multiple Streams Analysis (podcast download)

Policy Concepts in 1000 Words: the Social Construction of Target Populations (podcast download)

Policy Concepts in 1000 Words: Evolution (podcast download)

Policy Concepts in 1000 Words: Complex Systems (podcast download)

Policy Concepts in 1000 Words: Context, Events, Structural and Socioeconomic Factors (podcast download)

Policy Concepts in 1000 Words: Power and Ideas (podcast download)

Policy Concepts in 1000 Words: the Westminster Model and Multi-level Governance  (podcast download)

Policy Concepts in 1000 Words: Policy Transfer and Learning (podcast download)

Policy Concepts in 1000 Words: the intersection between evidence and policy transfer (podcast download)

Policy Concepts in 1000 Words: Combining Theories (podcast download)

Policy Concepts in 1000 Words: The Psychology of Policymaking (podcast download)

Policy Concepts in 1000 words: Critical Policy Studies and the Narrative Policy Framework (podcast download)

Policy Concepts in 1000 Words: Feminism, Postcolonialism, and Critical Policy Studies

One aim of Understanding Public Policy is to show that all of these theories are connected in important ways. Some are about agenda setting and power. Many are about ideas. Many draw on studies of policy networks. Some are tied by a common focus on ‘evolution’. Some can be linked to ‘bounded rationality’ as a starting point for explanation. Many try to combine what Peter John calls the 5 core causal factors in policy studies: institutions, choices, networks, socioeconomic factors and ideas. The advantage of shorter blog posts is that you can see these connections more readily. One post considers the implications of this interconnectedness – can we combine their insights? If so, how?

See also:

Can anyone use the ‘tools’ of policy analysis?

Whatever happened to multiple streams analysis?

How to teach public policy to non-specialists

Policy concepts in a tweet

Comparing Theories of the Policy Process: A Brief Guide for Postgraduates

The Psychology of Evidence Based Policymaking: Who Will Speak For the Evidence if it Doesn’t Speak for Itself?

What is ‘Complex Government’ and what can we do about it?

If you want to know more, and you want to hear it from me, and you are willing to pay, you can invest £20 in my book (below) or far more than that on my Master of Public Policy course.

If you want to know more, and you want to hear it from me, and you are not willing to pay, tweet me @Cairneypaul or email p.a.cairney at stir.ac.uk. My mobile is 07502081411, which you can call if you have an academic emergency.

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51 responses to “1000 words

  1. Pingback: Kathryn Oliver and I have just published an article on the relationship between evidence and policy | Paul Cairney: Politics & Public Policy

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