Reflections on a Half Century of Policy Analysis

Authored by: Beryl A. Radin

Routledge Handbook of Comparative Policy Analysis

Print publication date:  May  2017
Online publication date:  April  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138959774
eBook ISBN: 9781315660561
Adobe ISBN:


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The field of policy analysis that exists in the 21st century is quite different from that found in the field’s earlier phases (Radin, 2000; Radin, 2013a). The world of the 1960s that gave rise to this field in the US often seems unrelated to the world we experience today. These shifts have occurred as a result of a range of developments—technological changes, changes in the structure and processes of government both internally and globally, new expectations about accountability and transparency, economic and fiscal problems, and increased political and ideological conflict. Increasingly, policy observers have been using the phrase ‘wicked problem’ to describe problems that are difficult or impossible to solve. 1 At the same time that these developments require shifts in the way that the field operates, however, many of the expectations from the past continue and persist (Radin, 2013b; Radin, 2013a). Indeed, it is not unusual to find reading lists in the field continuing some of the earlier literature such as the technical approach of Stokey and Zeckhauser’s book in 1978, Arnold Meltsner’s path-breaking study of working policy analysts in 1976, the multiple editions of Weimer and Vining’s textbook, first published in 1989, and Harold Lasswell’s vision of policy sciences in 1971.

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