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Tag: public policy analysis

Books on public policy

This is a list of recommended books on public policy, including introductory textbooks and more advanced texts, including handbooks and books on more specific topics within the field of public policy analysis. Introductory textbooks: Knill, C., & Tosun, J. (2012). Public policy: A new introduction. Macmillan International Higher Education. Howlett, M., Ramesh, M., & Perl, A. (2009). Studying public policy: Policy cycles and policy subsystems (Third Edition). Oxford: Oxford university press.  John, P. (2013). Analyzing public policy. Routledge. Hill, M., & Varone, F. (2014). The public policy process. Routledge. Cairney, P. (2011). Understanding public policy: Theories and issues. Macmillan International Higher Education. Howlett, M. (2019). Designing public policies: Principles and instruments. Routledge. Advanced books: Goodin, R. E., Moran, M., & Rein, M. (2006). The Oxford handbook of public policy (Vol. 6). Oxford Handbooks. Sabatier, P. A., & Weible, C. M. (Eds.). (2014). Theories of the policy process. Westview Press. Baumgartner, F. R., & Jones, B. D. (2015). The politics of information: Problem definition and the course of public policy in America. University of Chicago Press. Jones, B. D., & Baumgartner, F. R. (2005). The politics of attention: How government prioritizes problems. University of Chicago Press. Writing for public policy: Smith, C., & Pasqualoni, M. (2019). Writing Public Policy: A Practical Guide to Communicating in the Policy Making Process. Oxford University Press.

Visualizing asylum statistics

Note: of potential interest to R users for the dynamic Google chart generated via googleVis in R and discussed towards the end of the post. Here you can go directly to the graph. An emergency refugee center, opened in September 2013 in an abandoned school in Sofia, Bulgaria. Photo by Alessandro Penso, Italy, OnOff Picture. First prize at World Press Photo 2013 in the category General News (Single). The tragic lives of asylum-seekers make for moving stories and powerful photos. When individual tragedies are aggregated into abstract statistics, the message gets harder to sell. Yet, statistics are arguably more relevant for policy and provide for a deeper understanding, if not as much empathy, than individual stories. In this post, I will offer a few graphs that present some of the major trends and patterns in the numbers of asylum applications and asylum recognition rates in Europe over the last twelve years. I focus on two issues: which European countries take the brunt of the asylum flows, and the link between the application share that each country gets and its asylum recognition rate. Asylum applications and recognition rates Before delving into the details, let’s look at the big picture first. Each year between 2001 and 2012, 370,000 people on average have applied for asylum protection in one of the member states of the European Union (plus Norway and Switzerland). As can be seen from Figure 1, the number fluctuates between 250,000 and 500,000 per year, and there is no clear trend. Altogether, during this 12-year period, approximately 4.5 million…

Bureaucrats as Policy-makers

Everyone loves bitching about bureaucrats but few know what it is exactly that they do. Ed Page‘s new book ‘Policies without Politicians’ provides plenty of insights. As I mention at the end of this book review, everyone who theorizes or criticizes bureaucrats should read the book as a reality check. A shorter version of the review is forthcoming in West European Politics later this year. *** This book is about the making of decrees such as the Alcohol Disorder Zones in the UK, Salmon critical habitats in the US, Horse Medicines in the EU and Women’s Organizations in Sweden. If you suspect these issues are rather prosaic, you are not alone. And this is precisely the point. This book is about the making of policies in the absence of sustained attention by politicians. It is a study of how bureaucrats make rules when mostly left to their own devices. It is an exploration into the nature and limits of bureaucratic discretion to regulate our lives. The main conclusion, based on an analysis of 58 issues in six political systems, is that the freedom enjoyed by civil servants and their insulation from political control are in practice severely limited if not completely illusory, even when it comes to the relatively minor issues discussed in the book. Admittedly, this is a rather prosaic conclusion as well, but one that is comforting, timely andimportant. It is comforting to the extent that it dispels the popular myth of the faceless bureaucrats controlling our lives. It is timely because theories of policy-making and politico-administrative relations have…