policy formulation.pdf - UNDERSTANDING POLICY FORMULATION A TOOLS PERSPECTIVE 1 John Turnpenny Senior Lecturer in the School of Politics Philosophy

policy formulation.pdf - UNDERSTANDING POLICY FORMULATION A...

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1 UNDERSTANDING POLICY FORMULATION: A TOOLS PERSPECTIVE 1 John Turnpenny Senior Lecturer in the School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK Andrew Jordan Professor of Environmental Policy, Tyndall Centre School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia. ABSTRACT Policy formulation is a key element of policy-making, but in spite of increasing interest it is still greatly under-explored. This paper develops a research agenda for policy formulation by studying its associated tools, such as cost-benefit analysis, scenarios and computerized models. It explores how far questions around who formulates policy, where and how, can be clarified through using the lens of policy formulation tools. It then offers new definitions of policy formulation, policy formulation tools, and a preliminary typology linking these. It then takes stock of the diverse literatures around policy formulation and tools, suggesting a need for further definitional-organisational work in framing future research. To this end, it proposes a four-fold framing, examining policy formulation tool actors, capacities, venues and effects, as a fruitful way to advance the sub-field of policy analysis. KEY WORDS: Public policy; Policy formulation; Policy tools; Policy analysis; Policy science 1 This paper draws on A.J. Jordan and J.R. Turnpenny [eds], The Tools of Policy Formulation: Actors, Capacities, Venues and Effects , Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, which can be downloaded for free:
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2 POLICY FORMULATION: DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES The literature on policy formulation has expanded significantly in recent decades (Howlett [2011]; Thomas [2001]; Wolman [1981]; Wu et al. [2010]). But if policy formulation is ‘a process of identifying and addressing possible solutions to policy problems or, to put it another way, exploring the various options or alternatives available for addressing a problem’ (Howlett [2011: 30]), we know surprisingly little about it. Often complex, fluid and less accessible to public scrutiny than other policy- making ‘ stages (e.g. Wu et al. [2010]), policy formulation is sometimes assumed to occur in a space dominated by those with specialist knowledge, preferred access to decision-makers or jobs in a particular government institution (Howlett and Geist [2012: 19]). This suggests it is inherently difficult to research. This paper explores the scope for shedding new light on policy formulation by studying its associated tools . It is generally accepted that policy tools and instruments exist at all stages of the policy process (Howlett [2011: 22]), from formulation to evaluation (Dunn [2004]). But the policy instruments literature (e.g. Hood [1983]; Hood and Margetts [2007]; Salamon [2002]) is focused on implementation instruments, such as regulations, subsidies and taxes; there is relatively little in this literature on the tools which are commonly used in policy formulation , such as cost- benefit analysis, scenarios or forecasting models. Conversely, within a range of quite separate literatures, there is much discussion of
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