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Practical Guide for Policy Analysis


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Table of Contents

Preface Acknowledgments Introduction Part I THE EIGHTFOLD PATH Step One: Define the Problem Step Two: Assemble Some Evidence Step Three: Construct the Alternatives Step Four: Select the Criteria Step Five: Project the Outcomes Step Six: Confront the Trade-Offs Step Seven: Stop, Focus, Narrow, Deepen, Decide! Step Eight: Tell Your Story PART II ASSEMBLING EVIDENCE Getting Started Locating Relevant Sources Gaining Access and Engaging Assistance Conducting a Policy Research Interview Using Language to Characterize and Calibrate Protecting Credibility Strategic Dilemmas of Policy Research PART III HANDLING A DESIGN PROBLEM It's a Production System Crosswalks to the Eightfold Path Define the Problem-Focus on a Primary Outcome Construct the Alternatives-Configure the System's Organizational Structure and Its Operating Processes Select the Criteria-Define the Objectives to Be Achieved Project the Outcomes-Test Whether It Will Work Confront the Trade-Offs-Examine the System from Multiple Perspectives Design a Transition Strategy PART IV "SMART (BEST) PRACTICES" RESEARCH: UNDERSTANDING AND MAKING USE OF WHAT LOOK LIKE GOOD IDEAS FROM SOMEWHERE ELSE Develop Realistic Expectations Analyze Smart Practices Observe the Practice Describe Generic Vulnerabilities But Will It Work Here? Back to the Eightfold Path APPENDIX A SPECIMEN OF A REAL-WORLD POLICY ANALYSIS Preface Summary Reducing Consumption: More Enforcement against Typical Dealers Reducing Consumption: More Enforcement against Higher-Level Dealers Reducing Cocaine-Related Crime Conclusion Appendix B THINGS GOVERNMENTS DO Taxes Regulation Subsidies and Grants Service Provision Agency Budgets Information The Structure of Private Rights The Framework of Economic Activity Education and Consultation Financing and Contracting Bureaucratic and Political Reforms APPENDIX C UNDERSTANDING PUBLIC AND NONPROFIT INSTITUTIONS: ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS Mission Environment Performance Measurement Technology Production/Delivery Processes Frontline Workers and Co-Producers Partners and Other Outsiders Centralization/Decentralization Culture and Communications Politics Leadership Change APPENDIX D STRATEGIC ADVICE ON THE DYNAMICS OF GATHERING POLITICAL SUPPORT Sequencing Timing APPENDIX E TIPS FOR WORKING WITH CLIENTS References Index

About the Author

Eugene Bardach has been teaching graduate-level policy analysis workshop classes since 1973 at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, in which time he has coached some 500 projects. He is a broadly based political scientist with wide-ranging teaching and research interests. His focus is primarily on policy implementation and public management, and most recently on problems of facilitating better interorganizational collaboration in service delivery (e.g., in human services, environmental enforcement, fire prevention, and habitat preservation). He also maintains an interest in problems of homeland defense, regulatory program design and execution, particularly in areas of health, safety, consumer protection, and equal opportunity. Bardach has developed novel teaching methods and materials at Berkeley, has directed and taught in residentially based training programs for higher-level public managers, and has worked for the Office of Policy Analysis at the US Department of Interior. He is the recipient of the 1998 Donald T. Campbell Award of the Policy Studies Organization for creative contribution to the methodology of policy analysis, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. This book is based on his experience teaching students the principles of policy analysis and then helping them to execute their project work. Eric M. Patashnik is Julis-Rabinowitz Professor of Public Policy and Political Science, and Director of Brown's Master of Public Affairs program in the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. He is also Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. Before coming to Brown, Patashnik held faculty positions at University of Virginia (UVA), UCLA, and Yale University. During his time at UVA, he served as associate dean and acting dean at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. Patashnik's research focuses on the politics of American national policymaking, especially health policy, the welfare state, and the reform process. He is the author or editor of seven books. Patashnik has twice won the Louis Brownlow Book Award of the National Academy of Public Administration and has also won the Don K. Price Book Award of the American Political Science Association. Patashnik received his MPP and Ph.D from the University of California, Berkeley. Earlier in his career, Patashnik was a legislative analyst for the US House Subcommittee on Elections.


"A Practical Guide for Policy Analysis remains the most accessible and practical guide for those learning the craft of policy analysis. It offers convincing reasoning for and a clear roadmap of the required steps to conduct policy analysis, provides a terrific list of useful resources and helpful hints, and offers very practical illustrations and examples. The newly added section on design problems broadens discourse to include not only knowledge on how to improve analysis of discrete policy choices, but also on how to generate effective strategies to change the design parameters of policy problems. It should be required reading for all students in public affairs type undergraduate major and graduate level programs."

-- Michael Stoll

"I have used Bardach's A Practical Guide for Policy Analysis in several editions over many years to instruct masters in public policy students in the skills and insights required of an effective policy practitioner. I like the book for its conciseness, its concreteness, its practicality and its accessibility. It provides a nice framework and set of concepts that can be developed and applied in case studies to structure an effective policy analysis course. I welcome the new edition, which clarifies and updates the material and adds a helpful new section on policy design, while keeping the structure and down-to-earth writing style of previous editions."

-- Mary Jo Bane
"A Practical Guide for Policy Analysis is the essential text to introduce health policy students to the practice of policy analysis. The authors offer a persuasive argument for why defining the problem is the fundamental yet challenging first step of policy analysis; this lesson is critical for health policy, where issue rhetoric abounds. The book offers a step-by-step methodology that appeals to students' need for structure, while reminding readers that the process of policy analysis-and politics-is inherently complex and non-linear. Students who master the book's core lessons will learn to embrace an iterative mode of thinking and a storytelling mode of writing, skills that will serve policy professionals and policy researchers well throughout their careers." -- Sarah Gollust
"Bardach and Patashnik's Practical Guide has become a genuine classic of policy analysis because it offers a versatile framework for confronting policy issues of all types, from persistent, long-standing problems to new, emergent challenges. Like every classic work, it contains different layers of insight for different readers. Junior analysts can use the 8 basic elements as a primer. Intermediate analysts can add the design principles. Experienced analysts can deepen their practice by applying the 8-fold path to more and more complex problems. I wouldn't think of teaching policy analysis at any level without this elegant guide to our craft." -- Karen Baehler, PhD

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