POLICY ANALYSIS
6:15 PM | Author: Arfie
Policy analysis or policy studies can be defined as "determining which of various alternative policies will most achieve a given set of goals in light of the relations between the policies and the goals" [1]. However, policy analysis can be divided into two major fields. Analysis of policy is analytical and descriptive, i.e. it attempts to explain policies and its development. Analysis for policy is prescriptive, i.e. it is involved with formulating policies and proposals (e.g. to improve social welfare)[2]. It depends on the area of interest and the purpose of analysis to determine what type of analysis is conducted.
It is frequently deployed in the public sector but is equally applicable to other kinds of organizations. Most policy analysts have graduated from public policy schools with public policy degrees. Policy analysis has its roots in systems analysis as instituted by United States Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara during the Vietnam War.[3]
Policy analysts can come from many backgrounds including sociology, psychology, economics, geography, law, political science, public policy, social work, environmental planning and public administration.

Approaches to policy analysis
Although various approaches to policy analysis exist, three general approaches can be distinguished: the analycentric, the policy process, and the meta-policy approach[4].
The analycentric approach focuses on individual problems and its solutions; its scope is the micro-scale and its problem interpretation is usually of a technical nature. The primary aim is to identify the most effective and efficient solution in technical and economic terms (e.g. the most efficient allocation of resources).
The policy process approach puts its focal point onto political processes and involved stakeholders; its scope is the meso-scale and its problem interpretation is usually of a political nature. It aims at determining what processes and means are used and tries to explain the role and influence of stakeholders within the policy process. By changing the relative power and influence of certain groups (e.g enhancing public participation and consultation), solutions to problems may be identified.
The meta-policy approach is a systems and context approach, i.e. its scope is the macro-scale and its problem interpretation is usually of a structural nature. It aims at explaining the contextual factors of the policy process, i.e. what are the political, economic and socio-cultural factors influencing it. As problems may result because of structural factors, e.g. a certain economic system or certain political institutions, solutions may include the change of the structure itself.

Methodology
Policy analysis is methodologically diverse using both qualitative methods and quantitative methods, including case studies, survey research, statistical analysis, and model building among others. One common methodology is to define the problem and evaluation criteria; identify all alternatives; evaluate them; and recommend the best policy option.

Models of policy analysis
Many models exist to analyze the creation and application of public policy. Analysts use these models to identify important aspects of policy, as well as explain and predict policy and its consequences.
Some models are:
Institutional model
Public policy is determined by political institutions, which give policy legitimacy. Government universally applies policy to all citizens of society and monopolizes the use of force in applying policy.
Process model
Policy creation is a process following these steps:
• Identification of a problem and demand for government action.
• Formulation of policy proposals by various parties (e.g, congressional committees, think tanks, interest groups).
• Selection and enactment of policy; this is known as Policy Legitimation.
• Evaluation of policy.
Rational model
Policy is intended to achieve maximum social gain. Rationally, the policy that maximizes benefits while minimizing costs is the best policy. It is a part of rational choice theory.
Incremental model
Policy is a continuation of previous government activity, with minimal changes made to previous policy.
Group model
The political system's role is to establish and enforce compromise between various, conflicting interests in society.
Elite model
Policy is a reflection of the interests of those individuals within a society that have the most power, rather than the demands of the masses.

1.Nagel, Stuart S. (Ed.), 1999, Policy Analysis Methods. New Science Publishers, Inc.
2.Bührs, Ton and Bartlett, Robert V., 1993. Environmental Policy in New Zealand. The Politics of Clean and Green. Oxford University Press
3.Radin, Beryl (2000), Beyond Machiavelli : Policy Analysis Comes of Age. Georgetown University Press.
4.see Bührs, Ton and Bartlett, Robert V., 1993. Environmental Policy in New Zealand. The Politics of Clean and Green. Oxford University Press
1.Nagel, Stuart S. (Ed.), 1999, Policy Analysis Methods. New Science Publishers, Inc.
2.Bührs, Ton and Bartlett, Robert V., 1993. Environmental Policy in New Zealand. The Politics of Clean and Green. Oxford University Press
3.Radin, Beryl (2000), Beyond Machiavelli : Policy Analysis Comes of Age. Georgetown University Press.
4.see Bührs, Ton and Bartlett, Robert V., 1993. Environmental Policy in New Zealand. The Politics of Clean and Green. Oxford University Press


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