An Introduction to the Policy Process: Theories, Concepts, and Models of Public Policy Making, 5th Edition (Paperback) book cover

An Introduction to the Policy Process

Theories, Concepts, and Models of Public Policy Making, 5th Edition

By Thomas A Birkland


448 pages | 38 Color Illus. | 7 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2019-06-01
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Now in a thoroughly-revised 5th edition, An Introduction to the Policy Process provides students at all levels with an accessible, readable, and affordable introduction to the field of public policy. In keeping with prior editions, author Tom Birkland conveys the best current thinking on the policy process in a clear, conversational style. Designed to address new developments in both policy theory and policy making, this 5th edition includes examinations of:

  • The Brexit referendum results and its effects on the UK, EU and world politics, as well as the 2016 election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, and the ways in which these events have caused voters and policy makers to rethink their assumptions.
  • Changes to the media environment, including the decline of newspapers and television news, the growth of social media, and the emergence of ‘fake news.’
  • New policy theory developments like the emergence of the Narrative Policy Framework (NPF) and continued and newer applications of existing theories of policy process like Advocacy Coalitions, Multiple Streams, Punctuated Equilibrum, and Instituitonal Analysis and Development.
  • All new "What Does the Research Say?" boxes to illustrate concepts outlined in the book, demonstrate the ways in which the material is applicable to a range of policy problems, and encourage students to further study the policy process and substantive policy matters in which they are interested.
  • All new and updated chapter ‘at a glance’ outlines, definitions of key terms, provocative review questions, recommended reading, visual aids and case studies, theoretical literature, and PowerPoint slides and Test Banks, to make teaching from the book easier than ever.

Firmly grounded in both social science and political science, An Introduction to the Policy Process provides the most up-to-date and thorough overview of the theory and practice of the policy process, ideal for upper level undergraduate and introductory graduate courses in Public Policy, Public Administration, and Political Science programs.

Table of Contents

Part I: The Fundamentals of the Policy Process

1. Introducing the Policy Process

2. Elements of the Policy Making System

3. The Historical and Structural Contexts of Public Policy Making in the United States

Part II: Actors in the Policy Process

4. Official Actors and Their Roles in Public Policy

5. Unofficial Actors and Their Roles in Public Policy

6. Agenda Setting, Power, and Interest Groups

7. Policies and Policy Types

Part III: Ideas, Policies and Decision Making

8. The Social and Political Construction of Problems

9. Policy Design and Policy Tools

10. Decision Making and Policy Analysis

11. Policy Implementation, Failure, and Learning

Part IV: Putting it all Together: Theory and Practice in the Policy Process

12. Contemporary Theories in Policy Process

13. Public Policy Making as a Profession and a Social Activity

About the Author

Tom Birkland is Professor of Public Policy and Associate Dean for Research in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at North Carolina State University. He has taught courses on disaster policy and environmental policy, as well as on the policy process to all levels of students. He grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, and has degrees from the University of Oregon, Rutgers University, and the University of Washington. His research has examined policy theory, agenda setting, and the role of sudden events, such as disasters, in the policy process. He has written two books and many articles about disaster policy, the policy process, and agenda setting.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Affairs & Administration
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / General