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
Anthony B. L. Cheung
In plain language, a policy is a statement of intent or goal, or simply a decision to act. The crucial questions in public policy making are as follows: Who make(s) policy and how? Where does power lie in the policy process? What interests and demands are taken into account? Who ultimately benefits from policy decisions and outcomes? Different policy models and theories capture the understanding and reality of policy formulation differently. Some doubt whether policy occurs entirely prior to action or, at times, is a post hoc rationalization of action already taken. Others question the scientific rationality of policy formulation. Aaron Wildavsky considers policy analysis an art: While seeking to delineate a field of discipline for policy science, public policy needs to incorporate more awareness of the human aspect of policy making, emphasizing the political choices made in a competitive environment and the social relations that sustain them. In practice, ...