An Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Policy Analysis
This major textbook presents for the first time a thoroughly modern introduction to policy studies - one of the fastest growing areas in the academic curriculum.
Public Policy provides a lively, clear and highly accessible introduction to the theory and practice of public policy. Interdisciplinary and comparative in scope, this text covers agenda setting, and problem definition, policy making, implementation and evaluation. The book has been designed to be used with a wide range of policy oriented courses.
Wayne Parsons surveys the development of the policy sciences over the past fifty years and focuses on the key ideas, thinkers and concepts which have shaped the field. His authoritative narrative draws on a wide range of policy disciplines - including political science, psychology, sociology, economics, and management. A central theme of the book is its emphasis on taking a multi-framed approach to analysing the increasingly complex policy problems and processes of industrial societies.
Unique features include case studies, guides to further reading, background notes and numerous graphics to support and illustrate the main text. Public Policy will be welcomed as a comprehensive examination of the models and methods needed to understand policy making in the modern state. Comprehensive, critical and up-to-date, this textbook promises to define the field for a new generation of students and teachers.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
`Its comprehensiveness is a major achievement in such a diffuse and broad subject.' -- Peter John, West European Politics `The wide sweep of the book, with its extensive bibliography, would prove to be very helpful to students and researchers alike. I think it is a valuable addition to the repertory of textbooks available on the subject.' -- Kuldeep Mathur, Journal of Educational Planning and Administration `This is an excellent review and analysis of the public policy literature . . . Students and faculty can both profit from Parsons's insights into the field.' -- B. Guy Peters, University of Pittsburgh, US `This is an excellent book. It is readable, knowledgeable, clear, coherent and in the jargon of the 1990s, "user friendly".' -- Bob Haigh, Teaching Public Administration `This is a formidable book, providing quite the most comprehensive review of the vast and varied literature on public policy. Wayne Parsons presents the range of arguments and theories in a lively and accessible way, being prepared to take us back to Machiavelli and to remind us of the importance of authorities from earlier in this Century as well as to introduce contemporary work. He is very good at showing how prescription and description are interwoven in most of the literature. I read it through over a short period of time without indigestion, but will recommend it to undergraduates in the latter terms, but its particular strength is as a postgraduate text.' -- Michael Hill, University of Newcasle upon Tyne, UK `A very encompassing, informative and useful statement. Belongs in every personal and institutional library.' -- Amitai Etzioni, author of The Spirit of Community `Dr Parsons' book does a very clear and useful job of tracing out the numerous approaches that have been taken and are being taken to the understanding of public policy and the processes that form and change it.' -- Herbert A. Simon, Carnegie Mellon University, US `Rarely does a textbook excite, but this superb teaching volume proves the exception. It is unquestionably the most comprehensive public policy text available. . . it will surely become the standard text. . . As the cliche goes, it is difficult to put down. The level of synthesis is mature and elegant to the degree that it will appeal to most subject teachers as more than simply a student text. Its virtues are considerable.' -- Public Administration `Responding to the increasingly complex nature of modern society. . . . Parsons provides a thoroughly documented introduction to the study of what governments do, why they do it, and what difference it makes.' -- Choice `His awareness of the interrelationship between the social sciences and the public policy field makes this book an important contribution to our understanding of the latter. . . . Parsons' discussion of what is public and what is private makes this book both timely and useful. . . it is comprehensive and contemporary and a most rewarding contribution to our understanding of the origins and scope of public policy.' -- Richard W. Phidd, Canadian Public Administration `This textbook is more than the introduction of the title; it offers a distinctive conceptualization and approach. The structure is commendably clear.' -- Andrew Gray, Political Studies `It is clearly written and will provide an enlightening perspective on the processes of public policy development and implementation. Wayne Parsons' book is likely to become a standard text on public policy analysis.' -- Chris Skelcher, Local Government Studies