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9780131830011

Policy Analysis Concepts and Practice

Policy Analysis Concepts and Practice
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  • ISBN-13: 9780131830011
  • ISBN: 0131830015
  • Edition: 4
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall

AUTHOR

Weimer, David Leo, Vining, Aidan R.

SUMMARY

When we began our study of policy analysis at the Graduate School of Public Policy (now the Goldman School), University of California at Berkeley, the field was so new that we seemed always to be explaining to people just what it was that we were studying. It is no wonder, then, that there were no textbooks to provide us with the basics of policy analysis. More than a dozen years later we found ourselves teaching courses on policy analysis but still without what we considered to be a fully adequate text for an introductory course at the graduate level. Our experiences as students, practitioners, and teachers convinced us that an introductory text should have at least three major features. First, it should provide a strong conceptual foundation of the rationales for, and the limitations to, public policy. Second, it should give practical advice about how to dopolicy analysis. Third, it should demonstrate the application of advanced analytical techniques rather than discuss them abstractly. We wrote this text to have these features. We organize the text into six parts. In Part I we begin with an example of a policy analysis and then emphasize that policy analysis, as a professional activity, is client-oriented, and we raise the ethical issues that flow from this orientation. In Part II we provide a comprehensive treatment of rationales for public policy (market failures, broadly defined) and we set out the limitations to effective public policy (government failures). In Part III we set out the conceptual foundations for solving public policy problems, including a catalogue of generic policy solutions that can provide starting points for crafting specific policy alternatives. We also offer advice on designing policies that will have good prospects for adoption and successful implementation and how to think about the choice between government production and contracting out. In Part IV we give practical advice about doing policy analysis: structuring problems and solutions, gathering information, and measuring costs and benefits. In Part V we present several extended examples illustrating how analysts have approached policy problems and the differences that their efforts have made. Part VI briefly concludes with advice about doing well and doing good. We aim our level of presentation at students who have had, or are concur rently taking, an introductory course in economics. Nevertheless, students 14thout a background in economics should find all of our general arguments and most of our technical points accessible. With a bit of assistance from an instructor, they should be able to understand the remaining technical points. We believe that this text has several potential uses. We envision its primary use as the basis of a one-semester introduction to policy analysis for students in graduate programs in public policy, public administration, and business. We believe that our emphasis on conceptual foundations also makes it attractive for courses in graduate programs in political science and economics. At the undergraduate level, we think our chapters on market failures, government failures, generic policies, and cost-benefit analysis are useful supplements, and perhaps even replacements, for the commonly used public finance texts that do not treat these topics as comprehensively.Weimer, David Leo is the author of 'Policy Analysis Concepts and Practice', published 2004 under ISBN 9780131830011 and ISBN 0131830015.

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