The policy-making process

Authored by: Michael Howlett , Sarah Giest

Routledge Handbook of Public Policy

Print publication date:  November  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415782456
eBook ISBN: 9780203097571
Adobe ISBN: 9781136223259


 Download Chapter



The idea that policy development can be thought of as a series of steps in a decision-making process was first broached systematically in the work of Harold Lasswell, a pioneer in the field of policy research (Lasswell 1956, 1971). In most recent work, a five-stage model of the policy process has been most commonly used. In this model, “agenda-setting” refers to the first stage in the process when a problem is initially sensed by policy actors and a variety of solutions put forward. “Policy formulation” refers to the development of specific policy options within government when the range of possible choices is narrowed by excluding infeasible ones, and efforts are made by various actors to have their favored solution ranked highly among the remaining few. “Decision-making” refers to the third stage in which governments adopt a particular course of action. In the fourth stage of “policy implementation” governments put their decisions into effect using some combination of the tools of public administration in order to alter the distribution of goods and services in society in a way that is broadly compatible with the sentiments and values of affected parties. Finally “policy evaluation” refers to the fifth stage in the process in which the results of policies are monitored by both state and societal actors, often leading to the reconceptualization of policy problems and solutions in the light of experiences encountered with the policy in question (Howlett et al. 2009).

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.