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The Politics of Policymaking

The Politics of Policymaking
An Introduction

March 2024 | 248 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Never has good policy been so important. From unemployment and a lack of affordable housing to regulating cryptocurrencies and protecting against cybersecurity threats, the challenges we face are complex and global. The text explains how policymaking works: from the emergence of policy ideas to deciding between cutting-edge solutions, from evaluating policies to improving policymaking practices, using examples from around the world.

Open up the black box of government to see where policies are made. This introductory text takes you beyond theory and into the messy world of policymaking, offering a toolkit for making better policy. Drawing from insights earned through years of interactions with policymakers and extensive teaching experience, Boin and Lodge offer a comprehensive introduction to the inner workings of government and how to produce policies that address societal problems of today and tomorrow. The Politics of Policymaking teaches you the connections between policies, their effects, and the society they impact. It explores the interplay between citizens, policymakers and politicians, and the intricate web of policy decisions.

  • Reflective questions help to engage readers with the key themes and to reflect on the challenges of policymaking in practice.
  • A global perspective enables you to learn from diverse viewpoints and see examples from around the world.
  • Timely and cutting-edge, this book tackles contemporary policy issues—platform economies, climate change, and more - while delving into crucial theoretical tools like political legitimacy and reform.
  • An assignment feature provides you with the opportunity to consolidate your learning and put it into practice.

This text is an essential companion for any undergraduate or postgraduate student of Politics, International Relations, and Public Administration  and for anyone aspiring to work in public policy.

Arjen Boin is Professor of Public Institutions and Governance at Leiden University, the Netherlands.

Martin Lodge is Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at London school of Economics and Political Science.

Chapter 1: The importance of policymaking
Chapter 2: The challenges of problem-solving in a complex and dynamic world
Chapter 3: Exploring the policymaking world
Chapter 4: The fight for attention: Why some problems trigger policymaking (and many others do not)
Chapter 5: Crafting sound policy: The political dimension of technical choices
Chapter 6: Getting it done: The implementation challenge
Chapter 7: How accountability and evaluation shape policymaking
Chapter 8: Creating and maintaining legitimacy for public policies
Chapter 9: The art of policy adaptation
Chapter 10: The moral dimension of policymaking
Chapter 11: Governing across borders
Chapter 12: The future of policymaking: Cues for policy leadership

Public policy textbooks that provide insight in how public programs are actually crafted, negotiated, implemented, adjusted and terminated are extremely rare, but Boin and Lodge have pulled it off. This earthy and at times gritty gem provides its users with penetrating insights into how the cookies are cut in the real world of policymaking whilst at the same time offering them a helpful introduction to the toolkits that policy craftspeople - analysts and designers - may deploy to make sense of it all. 

Paul 't Hart
Professor of Public Administration, Utrecht University

This lively account takes us from the pinnacles of power to the frontlines of policy delivery and everywhere in-between to illuminate the strange journey of a public policy. The craft of policymaking, we learn, lies in fathoming the journey!

Christopher Ansell
Professor of Public Organization and Administration, University of California Berkeley

book cheerleading the way for students seeking to make a difference as policymakers but not knowing where to start. It informs and stimulates – the perfect combination - in the face of a world of complex policy/political problems and solutions.

Allan McConnell
Professor Emeritus (Public Policy), University of Sydney

This textbook is welcome for its innovative capacity to help students navigating the complexity in policy making and, above all, for showing that Public Policy focuses on real problems and that policy makers can change the world.   

Giliberto Capano
Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, University of Bologna

Through illustrative examples, Boin and Lodge explore the politics of government policymaking – giving a real insight into how policy is made and unmade, by whom, and for which purposes. Dispensing with complicated models, the reader is presented with a refreshingly optimistic guide to how the most pressing societal problems can be solved with smart policies, and the necessary skills and knowledge to be a good policymaker.

Tamara Tubakovic
Fellow in Public Policy and Administration, London School of Economics and Political Science

This textbook provides an optimistic but also realistic introduction to policy making, including the myth of rationality and the role of politics and institutions. It is an excellent guide for all prospective policy makers in undergraduate and master programmes.

Christel Koop
Reader in Political Economy, Kings College London

This book should be an essential part of any public policy course. Written by two leading experts in the field, it covers the big questions of policy making from agenda setting and success, to the moral dimensions of doing policy. 

Ben Worthy
Lecturer in Politics, Birkbeck College

This is a terrific book, which I would strongly recommend to undergraduate and postgraduate students of public policy and/or public administration. In particular, the authors do a great job of showing how concrete examples of policymaking relate to academic theories, and vice-versa.

Peter Eckersley
Senior Research Fellow in Public Policy and Management, Nottingham Trent University

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1: The Importance of Policymaking

Arjen Boin

Arjen Boin is Professor of Public Institutions and Governance at the Institute of Political Science, Leiden University. Before he moved to Leiden, he was a professor of public governance and crisis management at the Utrecht School of Governance and associate professor at the Public Administration Institute, Louisiana State University.Arjen Boin has published widely on topics of crisis and disaster management, leadership, institutional design and organizational issues. His most recent books include Guardians of Public Value, Understanding the Creeping Crisis and Governing the Pandemic (all three were published in... More About Author

Martin Lodge

Professor of Political Science and Public Policy and Deputy Head of Department for ResearchDepartment of GovernmentI have been member of the Department of Government since 2002. Prior to that appointment, I was Lecturer in Public Policy at the University of Ulster at Jordanstown and Senior Research Officer at the ESRC Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR). I am currently Director of CARR. More About Author

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