Policy Analysis for the Real World

Policy Analysis for the Real World

Policy Analysis for the Real World

Policy Analysis for the Real World

Excerpt

As teachers of policy analysis to both conventional students and practitioners of policy in Britain, we were struck when we developed courses from the early 1970s onwards by the acute shortage of published material derived from or relevant to, the British scene. That problem is less serious today and several useful British texts have appeared in recent years (see e.g. Jenkins, 1978; Pollitt et al., 1979; Carley, 1980; Ashford, 1981; Burch andWood, 1983). But for each such reference in the typical reading list there are still several which require of the British student an unusual knowledge of, or willingness to be instructed in, the intricacies of ward politics in San Francisco, say, or the finer points of bureaucratic procedure in Washington DC. Clearly, then, the problem of generating suitable and readily available teaching material for British courses has not yet been overcome. Although our primary interest was in producing policy analysis materials for British students, our experience has made us aware of the limitations of much American literature for American students since it offers as generic truths what are merely contingencies. While the illustrations used in this book are mostly British, we feel that our general framework will be of interest to American students, particularly those who have previously thought of policy analysis as merely American politics rehashed, or as arcane mathematical techniques.

A good policy analysis teaching course must make students aware of the repertoire of techniques available for assisting analysts and decision-makers at various stages of the policy process. However, much of the literature about particular techniques concentrates on technical points and assumes that the 'optimal' decision will automatically be taken and enforced by a single, authoritative decision-maker. This literature fails to discuss the use and limits of policy analysis techniques . . .

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