Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Frans K. M. van Nispen
The study of policy instruments dates from the early 1970s, though much had been written previously, especially in economics, about government intervention in relation to market imperfections. A policy instrument refers to the means of government intervention in markets or, from a broader perspective, society to accomplish goals or to solve problems. The behavioral assumption underlying a policy instrument is that it attempts to get people do things that they might not otherwise have done. Since the 1960s, there has been a transformation not only in the scope and scale of the role of the government but also in the proliferation of tools that it has at its disposal for public action. In retrospect, a distinction can be made between three partly overlapping arenas in the study of policy instruments. This entry starts with a discussion of several approaches to defining what policy instruments are. Policy instruments are not isolated ...