Public policy is a broad and interdisciplinary area of study and research in the field tends to reflect this. Yet for those teaching and studying public policy, the disjointed nature of the field can be confusing and cumbersome. This text provides a consistent and coherent framework for uniting the field of public policy. Authors Kevin B. Smith and Christopher W. Larimer offer an organized and comprehensive overview of the core questions and concepts, major theoretical frameworks, primary methodological approaches, and key controversies and debates in each subfield of policy studies from the policy process and policy analysis to program evaluation and policy implementation.
The third edition has been updated throughout to include the latest scholarship and approaches in the field, including new and expanded coverage of behavioral economics, the narrative policy framework, Fourth Generation implementation studies, the policy regime approach, field experiments, and the debate of program versus policy implementation studies. Now with an appendix of sample comprehensive exam questions, The Public Policy Theory Primer remains an indispensable text for the systematic study of public policy.
List of Illustrations
1. Public Policy as a Concept and a Field (or Fields) of Study
2. Does Politics Cause Policy? Does Policy Cause Politics?
3. Who Makes Decisions? How Do They Make Decisions? Actors and Institutions
4. Whose Values? Policy Design
5. Where Does Policy Come From? The Policy Process
6. What Should We Do? The Field of Policy Analysis
7. What Have We Done? Impact Analysis and Program Evaluation
8. How Does it Work? Policy Implementation
9. New Directions in Policy Research
10. Do the Policy Sciences Exist?
Appendix: Questions for Discussion or Comprehensive Exam Prep
Praise for Previous Editions
"The Public Policy Theory Primer will give students a '30,000 foot view' of the field of policy studies, and provide the necessary context and overview to process the wide variety of perspectives and approaches. This is the much-needed missing piece that will allow the next generation of policy scholars to move the field forward." – Robert Wood, University of North Dakota
"Much more than a primer, this text recognizes the changing dynamics of policy science, emphasizing the latest research in implementation studies. Perfect for graduate seminars and students studying for comprehensive examinations, just about everything you need to know about the field of policy science is in this book." – Jacqueline Vaughn, Northern Arizona University
"Smith and Larimer’s tour de force provides both summary and serious critique of the field of policy studies. It will be the standard reference for years to come." -- Bryan D. Jones, University of Texas at Austin