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Implementing Public Policy

Implementing Public Policy
An Introduction to the Study of Operational Governance

Second Edition
  • Michael Hill - Emeritus Professor at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
  • Peter Hupe - Visiting Professor at the Catholic University of Leuven

248 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

"The second edition of Implementing Public Policy builds on the extremely useful first edition, and is an excellent and timely contribution to the literature on implementation.  This volume represents the most extensive and useful treatment of implementation available."
—B. Guy Peters, University of Pittsburgh

This Second Edition of Hill and Hupe's popular textbook introduces students to the major themes in the study of public policy implementation and relates them to contemporary developments in thinking about governance.  Fully revised and updated, the book stresses the continuing importance of a focus on the implementation part of policy processes. Hill and Hupe suggest strategies for future research on implementation and identify modes of managing implementation as operational governance.

Intended Audience
Designed for an international audience, this is a core text for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students studying or conducting research in public policy, social policy, public management, public administration, and governance.

Read the Introduction now!

Michael Hill is Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and Visiting Professor at the Department of Politics, Queen Mary University of London, UK.

Peter Hupe teaches Public Administration at Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.  In 2007 he also was Visiting Professor at the Public Management Institute, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.

Structure of the Book

Some Matters of Definition

Positioning Implementation Studies
Concerns about Implementation: Historical Origins

The Rule of Law

The Implications of the Idea of Democracy

Public Administration and Public Management

Institutional Theory

Postmodernist Theory

The Top-Down/Bottom-Up Debate
The Discovery of the 'Missing Link'

The Classical Top-Down Authors

The Bottom-Up Challenge

Implementation Theory
The Search for a Synthesis

Where does Implementation Begin

Layers in Policy Processes

Networks: Broadening the Horizontal Dimension

Managing Performance: Redefining the Vertical Dimension

Differentiating Policy Types

Including Responses of Affected Actors

Implementation and Governance
The Age of Interventionism

The Age of the Market and Corporate Government

The Age of Neo-interventionism


Implementation Theory and the Study of Governance
The Stages Model of the Policy Process

Alternative Analytical Frameworks

The Multiple Governance Framework

Studying Implementation as Governance Research

Researching Implementation
Defining Studies of Implementation

Explaining What Needs explanation

Isolating Implementation

Dealing with Layers

Specifying Inter-Organizational Relationships

Differentiating Agency Responses

Identifying Stakes

Recognizing Macro-Parameters

Quantitative Versus Qualitative Studies

Implementation in Context
Implementation in Practice

The Quest for Appropriate Action

Policy Settings

Institutional Environments

Operational Governance in Context

The Future of Implementation Studies
The Objective of Studying Implementation

The Study of Governance in Operation

Promising Developments


The second edition of this key text by two of the leading scholars in the field makes it the primary guide to the study of implementation
Martin Powell
Professor of Health and Social Policy, Health Services Management Centre, University of Birmingham

'The second edition of Implementing Public Policy builds on the extremely useful first edition, and is an excellent and timely contribution to the literature on implementation. As well as providing a thorough review of the literature on implementation it makes a number of important contributions to that literature. This volume represents the most extensive and useful treatment of implementation available
B. Guy Peters
Professor of Political Science, University of Pittsburgh

'This is by far the best textbook ever published on the topic of public policy implementation... Thus, it gives a much needed up-to-date and complete state-of-the-art review of this research field for graduate students and teachers while at the same time serving as an excellent introduction on the topic for those at the undergraduate level
Harald Saetren
University of Bergen, Norway

'Greatly enriched by recent scholarship, this second edition is even more valuable to students of public policy theory and governance and to a subfield of public administration and political science whose ranks are growing owing to efforts such as this one
Laurence E Lynn, Jr.
Emeritus Professor, University of Chicago

'Implementing Public Policy …not only gives a detailed overview of state-of the-art theory and research in policy implementation, but also discusses the profound implications of implementation studies for our understanding of the policy-making process. This book is a must-read for all scholars and students interested in public policy
René Torenvlied
Utrecht University, The Netherlands

This book is based on the authors' well-acclaimed first edition of the same title. Considerable work has gone into updating and re-contextualizing some of their earlier arguments and analysis in the light of an updated research and literature base. The second edition should be as valuable and well received as the first... This is a very useful publication, likely to be the main guide to implementation for some time
Duncan McTavish
Public Management Review

This is a quality text which is sometimes very specialised. It nonetheless can be used right through to dissertation.

Dr Stephen Barber
Dept of Business & International Stud, London South Bank University
January 12, 2011

Received this book on instructions of authors. A useful book that I will use in my research, but do not teach an appropriate course for it currently.

Professor Stephen Osborne
Management School & Economics, Edinburgh University
December 8, 2010

I found the book an ideal complementary reading for an introductory course in public management and governance. The concept of implementation is analyzed from multiple perspectives, which is particularly useful for student in the management area that tend to be offered the rather monolithic view of implementation in business strategy.

Professor Fabrizio Panozzo
Economia e Direzione Aziendale, University of Venice
July 28, 2010

Very theoretical book that only deals with discussions within theoreticians, and, contrary to its title, does not eal with implementation of public policies.
No interest for practitioners.

Professor Claude ROCHET
Management , Aix-Marseille III University
February 8, 2010

Very useful text for key parts of the course. Excellent for library stock

Mr Nicholas Snowden
Management , Hull College of Further Education
October 29, 2009

I shall be recommending this book to students. Whilst it is quite specialised and is not the easiest read it does provide much needed insight into the the complexities involved in moving from formulation to implementation of policy.

Mr Paul Bunyan
Faculty of Education, University of Cumbria
October 19, 2009

New to this edition:

  • All chapters revised
  • Addition of new theorists
  • Increased use of studies as case material
  • New sections on 'Key innovations in theory' and 'The future of Implementation Studies'

Sample Materials & Chapters

Introduction PDF

Michael Hill

Michael Hill is Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at the University of Newcastle, UK.  Before entering academic life at the University of Reading he was a street-level bureaucrat in a local social assistance office. He later worked on research at the Universities of Oxford and Bristol on the implementation of social policy. Since retiring from Newcastle he has held part-time visiting professorships in London University at Goldsmiths College and Queen Mary College and also in the London School of Economics and the University of Brighton. His long-standing text The Public Policy Process reached its eighth edition in 2021 in a joint... More About Author

Peter Hupe

Peter Hupe is Visiting Professor at the Public Governance Institute, KU Leuven, Belgium. He is also Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the School of Social Policy, University of Birmingham, UK. While teaching Public Administration at Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands, he had academic affiliations in Leiden, Leuven, London, Oxford and Potsdam. The major part of his research regards the theoretical-empirical study of policy processes, particularly implementation and street-level bureaucracy. He discovered the relevance of the latter during an earlier career as a policymaker in the Dutch national civil service. Publishing... More About Author