About the Book

Theories of the Policy Process, Second Edition

Theories of the Policy Process, Second Edition

2nd Edition
January 2007
Trade Paperback · 352 Pages
$46.00 U.S. · $53.00 CAN · £30.99 U.K. · €32.99 E.U.
ISBN 9780813343594
Westview Press


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The process of public policymaking is normally very complex, involving hundreds of actors from interest groups, governmental institutions, political parties, journalists, and the research community who have different goals, perceptions of the situation, and policy preferences. In any given policy domain, such as health care, there are normally dozens of programs involving multiple levels of government. Given this complexity, the analyst must find some way of simplifying the situation in order to have any chance of understanding it. This normally involves the development of a theoretical framework which identifies which factors and relationships are critical and which can be ignored.
Theories of the Policy Process provides a forum for the proponents of several of the most promising and widely-used theoretical frameworks to present the basic propositions of their frameworks, to assess the empirical evidence that has developed, and to discuss promising directions for future research. The first edition contained analyses of Institutional Rational Choice (Ostrom), Multiple Streams (Zahariadis), Punctuated Equilibrium (Jones et al), Advocacy Coalition Framework (Sabatier and Jenkins-Smith), and Policy Diffusion (Berry & Berry). The second edition revises these and adds new chapters on Social Construction and Policy Design (Schneider et al) and Policy Networks (Adam and Kriesi). It also contains a much more serious analysis of the European literature relevant to each of the frameworks. Finally, the new edition contains a revised chapter by Edella Schlager presenting a comparative analysis and evaluation of the relevant frameworks, and a concluding chapter by the editor suggesting a number of strategies for improving the state of theorizing in this field.

About the Author

Paul A. Sabatier is political scientist and professor of environmental studies at the University of California, Davis.