12 things to know about studying public policy

Reposted to highlight the inclusion of an audio/ video lecture on the topic. On the principle that you can’t read and listen to the same material at the same time, I’d recommend reading each paragraph then listening to see if the post/ lecture is consistent. There is little added value to *watching* the lecture, unless you want to watch me sway.

Paul Cairney: Politics & Public Policy

Here is a blog post on 12 things to know about studying public policy. Please see the end of the post if you would like to listen to or watch my lecture on this topic.

  1. There is more to politics than parties and elections.

Think of policy theory as an antidote to our fixation on elections, as a focus on what happens in between. We often point out that elections can produce a change in the governing party without prompting major changes in policy and policymaking, partly because most policy is processed at a level of government that receives very little attention from elected policymakers. Elections matter but, in policy studies, they do not represent the centre of the universe.

2. Public policy is difficult to define.

Imagine a simple definition: ‘the sum total of government action, from signals of intent to the final outcomes’. Then consider these questions…

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3 responses to “12 things to know about studying public policy

  1. Great article! Do you mind if I translate the main headings into Arabic? We (Saudi Arabia) are undertaking an economic diversification program. Unfortunately, some of the basic building blocks of policy making is absent from the actions and deliberations, hence the need to highlight your 12 headings.

    Incidentally, I’m a doctoral researcher at the University of Bath…

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