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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. 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 teaches policy analysis at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, University of Virginia. He previously held faculty positions at Yale University and at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Patashnik is a Nonresident Senior Fellow of the Brookings Institution, an elected fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, and the editor (beginning 2016) of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. He received his Master's in Public Policy degree from the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley. He served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of the Batten School from 2009-2012. Patashnik's research focuses on the politics of American national policymaking, especially health policy, the welfare state, and the role of Congress. He received the Jefferson Foundation Award for excellence in teaching at UVA. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Reform at Risk: What Happens After Major Policy Changes Are Enacted which won the Louis Brownlow Book Award from the National Academy of Public Administration. Earlier in his career, Patashnik was a legislative analyst for the U.S. 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

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