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The Nature of.Public Policy


f"' The Contemporary Language of Public Policy:

A Starting Point

Stella Z. Theodoulou

In recent years there has been a substantial transformation in the way public pol- icy is studied. The student of policy making is faced not only with a diversity of 11eoretical approaches but also, at times, with 1ivalvocabularies and s ecialist ter- ~ninolqg!.es.Nowhere is this better illustrate an in re e initíons of public pol- icy. Such discussions frequently use a specialized language, indeed often jargon, which often confuses and muddles an understanding of public policy. The one thíng, however, that ali authors on public policy do agree on is that public policy deeply affects the daily lives of eve1yindividual in society.


Rather than look at how individual authors define public policy, it is far more ad- vantageous to discuss a composite of the ideas and elements that are present in the vast majority of definitions. The purpose of doing so is to allow for a less re- strictive meaning of public policy.

2 The Nature of Public Policy

The first idea one en

·stinguish be-

tween what govemments ntend to do.and what, in fact, e actuall d ; that ov-

em.mental mactiVItyis as unportant as govemment act!

is th~n that public policy ideally involves all levels of govemment and is not necessarily restncted to formal acto~; mformal actors are also extremely impor-

tant.Third, public policy is pervasive and is not solely limited to legislatiorl;exec- utive orders, rules, and regulations. Fourth, public policy is ª»)ntentional course

~ ~th an accomplished end goal as its objective. A fifth idea describes

public policy

subseguent actions of im-

plementation, enforcement. and eyaluation. We cannot dívorce politics from public policy or the environment in which it is made. Public policy generally does one or more of the following:it reconciles conllicting claims on scarce resources, it establishes incentives for cooperation and collective action that would be irrational without govemment influence, it prohíbíts morally unacceptable behavior; it protects the activity of a group or an

individual, promoting activities that are essential or important to govemment. Fi- nally, policy provídes direct benefits to citizens,

vity.The second element

as both long term and short term. Policy is 6going ~; it in-

~ volves no] ()l!!Y- the decision to enact a law but also the


On a simplistic level, researchers and students are interested in studying public policy because it concems issues and decisions that affect them. Beyond this, studying policy allows for an overview of the workings of the whole political sys- tem, including a concem with political institutions and the informal elements of the political process, such as interest groups and public opinion. Thus the study of public policy allows one to view the entirety of the political system, including its output. As Thomas Dye concludes, policy study

Involves a description of the content of public policy; an assessment of the impact of environmental forces on the content of public policy; an analysis of the effect of var- ious institutional arrangements and political processes on public policy; an inquiry into the consequences of various public policies for the political system; andan eval- uation of the impact of public policies on society, both in terms of expected and un- expected consequences.!

In sum, students of public policy are concerned with the question posed over fifty years ago by Harold Lasswell, "Who gets what, when, and how?"2 There are additional theoretical, practica!, and polítícal considerations in studying policy making. Such study allows for the testing and development of ex- planations and generalizations that form the basis of many of the theories that contemporary political scientists have formulated about the very nature of politics in modem índustrialízed societies. On a practica! level, b;:(tudying existing policy it is .lleped that future problems may be handled in a much more efficient and ra-


The Contemporary Language of Public Policy: A Starting Point


tional manner, so that the process of formulating and implementing new policies ~be.more effective and appropriate. To argue that policy making is value free is naive: one cannot ignore the ídeologícal debate that surrounds the creation of public policy. Concurrently, it is also true that many of the indíviduals who study policy are not value free in their recommendations. In a perfect world it would be admirable if as Duncan MacRae and James Wilde argue public policy analysiswas "the use of reason and evidence to choose the best policy among a number of al-


However, this ignores the agenda of many who study policy. Such re-

searchers contend that their goal is aiding in the adoption of policies that will ac- complish the "ríght" goals. In short, they have taken on the role of policy advocates. For such índivíduals "right" equals "correct" policy solutions. Such an argument views the policy-making arena as an inherently political process involv- ing conllict and struggle among competing actors-both formal and informal-

with conllicting interests,

values, and desires on policy issues.

A word of warning to new students of public polícy, it is beneficia! to realize

that one should distinguish between a basic understanding of the policy-making

process and the reasons for studying it. The two are inextricably linked, but they should be very separate undertakings. The primary goal should be the explanation of policy rather than the prescription of "good" policy. Thus the emphasis should

be on analysis rather than policy should be searched

ratller than throug!:

policies and their politics cañ be developed, thus allowing policy studies to be

both theoretical and practica!.

advocacy. Next, the causes and consequences of public through the application of social sc1entihcme1ñcidotogy

From tllis, reliable theories conceming



Political scientists have utilized many theoretical approaches in their analysis of policy making. The approaches discussed here are not exhaustive but are exam- ples of the most commonly used. It is also not the intention here to compare or evaluate the usefulness of such approaches but rather to outline each so that stu-

dents may recognize the various ones they will encounter The first group have in common the concept of

image of political activity is to see it as phased behavior leading from stimülus to

new or adapted policy. Who dominates, controls, and benefits from policy is the basis fer the second group of approaches.

in their reading. cycle and ~s:



The common assumption that each of these approaches shares about political so- ciety is that e_olicymakers respond to tl1edemands put on them. The focus is upon -

the process of policy making.


4 The Nature of Public Rolicy

1. Systems Theory

Systerns theory is best exernplified by the work of David Easton and his ad- herents. Easton's approach is suggested by the base rnodel (see Figure 1) that he offers in A Systems Analysis of Political Life.4 He views_p.ublicpolicy asª· political sys em's response to de!nands arising from the environrnent. The politícal system is thus a mee anism by whích popular demañds and popular support for the state are cornbined to produce those policy outputs that best ensure the long-term sta- bility of the politícal systern. Policy outputs rnay produce new d~s that lead to further outputs, and so on in a never-ending flow of public policy. The basic idea is that political systems should be seen as analogues to operating rnechanical systems with feedback loops and clear goals. Systems theory has often been seen as innately conservative because of its stress on stability rather than change. However, this does not negate the useful- ness of the approach in allowing students to see the interrelationship of the vari- ous actors and institutions in the policy process. The basic weakness of the systems model, in analyzing polícy, is that it sayslittle about how decisions are de- terrnined or how they arrive into the decision-making structures.


hovJ 1- ~

2. Structural Functionalism

-H·' Á~.~-

·-v' "T

-l·V\wk ~-""'

b ·~


of',~ ~ This is an attempt to find a way of comparing both the ~tures and the

" operations of all social systerns by finding necessary elernents cornrnon to any sta-

ble .social system.s Much of its origins depends on

qa¡¡logies with biological sys-

~· In the way that biologists might study the role of sorne physiological aspect in the maintenance of life, functionalists have tried to understand (1) the neces- sary "functions" that must be carried out in any polítícal system if it is to~th its environment and achieve its goals and (2) the location of the "structures"-po- litical parties and socializing agencies-that facTiitatethat functioning. This is an acknowledgment that the structures, arrangements, and procedures of polítícal institutions have important consequences for the adoption and content of public




~Political--------~ The /System



Feedback Loo




FIGURE 1 A Simplified Model of a Political System.Source: David Easton,A Systems Analysis, 1965, p. 32.


The Contemporary Language of Public Policy:A Starting Point


policy. Those who concentrate on institutions focus on the relationship of the var-

ious govemrnental institutions with each other in the

James Anderson concludes: "Institutions provide part of the context for policy rnaking which rnust be considered along with the more dynamic aspects of poli-

policy-rnaking process. As

tics, such as political parties, groups and public opinion."6In the same way that its

related theory, the systems rnodel, is criticized for being conservative for stressing J

stability, so has structural-functionalism. The real weakness of thi~¿pproach is that it tends to fragment the stud of palie rnakin b focusin on the various l.! structures;tlius rn g it · icult to concisely draw all of the different elements 1ñvol.Veifin the policy process together. Concentrating on the institutional func- tions will give only a partial perspective. However, the approach is useful in that it does acknowledge the role of institutional structures and procedures in 12olicy Iillíkiilg.

3. The Policy Cycle

This approach views the policy process as a cycle that is deliberative, st~ed, recursive, and admínístratíve.? Policy making is thus seen as a d)mamic ongQing process confirming the importance of policy as a learning systern. Policies are de- ·scribed in two different but important senses: how they are made and how they can be made better.


These models look at how the policy process operates and, most importantly, who controls or dorninates the process and who benefits frorn it. In other words, who rules? It is not the purpose here to critique or compare the rnodels in terms of their usefulness but rather to outline each of thern to prepare students for the rel- evant readings.

1. Group Theory

• ~

OJ) o:





et_ \M-kv--e~







The tenet here is that public

policy is a product of ~ Group

theory is largely associated with the work of David Truman and in various formu- lations with pluralist writers such as Robert Dahl." The central argument of both group theory and pluralism is that societies consist of a large number of social, etlmic, or economic groups, who are more or less well organized. These groups, in political competition with each other, put ressure on the ovemm~roduce p~1es avora le to them. T re pu ic interest thus tends to emerge out of the struggle of competing individual and group claims. Specífíc policies reflect the relative influence of the different interests on any given issue. Therefore, each policy area involves a distinctive set of problems and separate sets of political agents and forces. Public policy is the result of a unique process of interaction.

6 The Nature of Public P¿licy

The basic elements of pluralism and group theory are multíple centers of powers and optimum policy developments through competing interests.

2.(1=1ite Theor ~o<-{.¡ Fl1' I~eª?)

This model holds that policies are made by a relatively small group of influ- ential leaders who share common goals and outlooks. The theory is most associ- ated with the work of writers such as C. Wright Milis and Ralph Mílíband.? Such theorists do not see policy as the product of group conflict and demands but

rather as determined

is the preterences of the elite that are adopted by policy makers, policies reflect

by the preferences of the power elite or ruling class. Thus it

their values and serve their interests. ~olicy

~~ses but b

is not then determined by the


_· rit)rwho_havepolítica! and economic power. ------

Í•.AJi,;u_~:r ~'.\D



1N:,w vv.::hv


;il RJ.; ,.


\'V" '-'-'=

A sígnífícant challenge in recent years to group theory as an approach has come from the corporatísm of Philippe Schmítter.w The concept assumes that in-

tere.st groups do not merely a~t

part.of the decision-making an · lementation system. In retum±ortiíis ~- ipátion jn ,p,plicymaking the groups-tl1rough tht.Sº.!1.!!:91of t}iei~--~~Bers=- - ~

mKsociety more manageable for the state or

to influence policy but themselves become


·.-ce·--···-··"'·······----·------.~::: :=

4. Subgovernmentsj


This model argues that the govemment alone does not make policy choices but endorses decisions made by sections of the govemment in alliance with ínter- est groups. This partnership has been referred to as subgovemments, which are coalítíons of members of Congress, the bureaucracy, and interest gro~s.12 Ali those involved in a subgovemment have similar interests. Sueh structures develop around particular policy areas and involve the relevant Iegislators, bureaucrats, and interest groups. Thus, policy outcomes are determined by various subgovem- ments and revolve around their interests. Subgovemments, therefore, tend to de- velop around those specialized areas of policy that have a low leve! of general public interest and awareness. Thís perspective has in recent years become out- moded among political scientísts, who argue that there are now much larger num- bers of interested actors than the three posited by the subgovemment model.P For example, Hugh Hedo argues that one should view the process as being dom- inated by issue networks, all of whom have substantial expertise in the policy



Since the advent of the New Deal and the grudging acceptance that govem- ment-national, state, and local-will intrude into socíety's day-to-day operation,


The Contemporary Language of Public Policy:A Starting Point


there has been a proliferation of public policies to deal wíth the problems that

arise in a complex industrialized society. In order to come to grips with the huge

task of understanding the nature

veloped severa! typologíes to categorize public policy.15

The classic typology, constantly referred author classífíes policies according to whether

atory, distributive or +-

redistributive in nature. Such a typology differentiates po icies on e basis of their impact on socíety and the relationship among those involved in policy for- mation. A second typology is that of Murray Edelman, who views policy as being either material or symbolic.17Material policies províde tangible resources or sub- stantive power füiheir oeneficiaries, and they may also impose costs on those who may be adversely affected. On the other hand, symbolic policies provide little ma- terial impact on individuals and no real tangible advantages or disadvantages. Rather, they appeal to the values held in common by índívíduals in society, values

that could include socialjustice, equality, and patriotism. Symbolicpolicies can be used to either divert public attention or to satisfy public demand when no sub-

stantive benefits are being províded. James Anderson argues that policies may also be classified as either sub- *-

stantive or rocedur 18Substantive policies are what govemment intendst;;(¡Q actu plans of action), and they provide individuals with advantages and dísad- vantages, costs and benefits. In contrast, procedural policies are how something will be done or who will do it. A further way to classifypolicies is to ask whether a policy provídes collec- tive goods or private goods.19Collective policy may be viewed as providing indi- visible goods, in that if they are given to one individual or group, then they must be provided to all índívíduals or groups. In contrast, private policy may be seen as including divisible goods. Such policies are broken into units and charged for on an individual benefícíary basis. Michael O'Hare recently conceptualízed various

policies by the types of action that govemment might take.20He argues that there are direct and indirect actions that govemments may take to address issues when the private or public sectors do not allocate goods efficiently or when there are equity or distributional problems." Finally, because of the political nature of policy making, policies may be classified as either liberal or conservative.22Liberal policies seek govemment in- tervention to bring about social change while conservative policies oppose such

of policy enactment, political scientists have de-

to, is that ofTheodore Lowí.IsThis

they are re

intervention. It could be argued that thís distinction has become blurred in recent

years and that the division is not

in what areas, in what form, and on whose behalf.

about whether govemment should intervene but


The concem here has been to summarize for readers the debate on what public polícy has come to mean, why it should be studied, and how such study has been

8 TherNature of Public Policy

done. An attempt has been made to link the study of policy to the larger study of govemment and politícs. There has been no real venture to critique any of the de- finitions, approaches, or models that are commonly found in the literature. It is hoped that such critiques will be provoked by the reading selections. From this discussion it should become clear that there is no simple way to view public pol- icy. This point is clearly supported by Paul Sabatier who traces the development of public policy as a subfield of the political science discipline. Sabatier acknowl- edges there are many sources of tension between political scientists and public policy scholars.w The readings that followrepresent a cross-section of the literature and have been selected because they are generally considered by polítícal scientists to form the benchmark from which the discipline looks at policy making. What should emerge is the recognition that there ex:istsa cycle and process of publíc policy and that it involves interaction among a wide spread of participants.


l. Thomas R. Dye, Understanding Public Policy (5th ed.) (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.:

Prentice-Hall, 1984), pp. 5-7.

2. Harold Lasswell, Politics:Who Gets Wliat, When, and How (New York: St. Martín's Press,

1988). (Originally publisbed 1936.)

3. Duncan MacRae, Jr. and James A. Wilde, Policy Analysisfar Public Decisions (North Sci-

tuate, Mass.: Duxbury Press, 1979), p. 4.

4. David Easton, A Systems Analysis of PoliticalLife (New York: Wiley, 1965).

5. Gabriel Almond and J. S. Coleman, The Politics of Developing Arnas (Princeton, N.J.:

Princeton University Press, 1960).

6. James E. Anderson, Public Policymaking: An Introduction (Boston: Houghton Mifflin,

1990), p. 31.

1971), p. 136; also see B. W. Hog-

wood and L. A. Gunn, Policy Analysisfar the Real World (Oxford: Oxford Universíty Press, 1984); B.

Press, 1983); and W. Jenk-

ins, Policy Analysis (Oxford: Martin Robertson, 1978).

8. See Robert Dahl, "With the Consent of Ali" (this reader, part 1, reading 6); also "Pluralism

Revisited,'' Comparative Politics, 10, no. 2 (January 1978), 191-204; and David B. Truman, "Group Politics and Representative Democracy" (thís reader, part 1, reading 9).

9. See Ralph Miliband, "Imperfect Competition" (this reader, part 1, reading 8); and C.

W. Hogwood and B. Guy Peters, Policy Dynamics (New York: St. Martin's

7. R. Mack, Planning and Uncertainty (New York: Wiley,

Wright Milis, "The Power Elite" (this reader, part 1, reading 10).

10. Philippe Schmitter and G. Lehmbruch

(Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage, 1979).

(eds.), Trends towards Corporatist Intennediation

11. Subgovernrnents are also referred to as iron triangles.

12. J. Leiper Freeman, The Political Process:Executive Bureou-Legislanoe Committee Rela-

tions (New York: Norton, 1979); T. L. Gais and others, "Interest Croups, Iron Triangles and Repre- sentative Institutions in American National Covernment," British Joumal of Political Science, 14

(April 1984), 161-186; and A. G. [ordan, "Iron Triangles, Woolly Corporatism and Elastic Nets: Im-

ages of the

Policy Process," [oumal of Public Policy, 1 (February 1981), 95--123.


Jack Walker, Mobilizing Interest Groups in America (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan

Press, 1991).

14. See Hugh Recio (thís reader, part 1, reading 7).

15. Issue areas have also been used to classify types of policy, for example, welfare, foreign, en-


The Contemporary Language of Public Policy: A Starting Point


vironment, labor policy, or institutional categories such as judicial polícy, also legíslatíve policy or time

period, for example, pre-World War

for Theories and Roles" (this reader, part 1, reading 5).

II. See Robert Salisbury, "The Analysis of Public Policy: A Search


See Theodore J. Lowi, "Dístríbution, Regulation, Hedistribution" (this reader, part 1, read-

ing 3).


See Murray Edelman, "Symbols and Political Quíescence" (this reader, part 1, reading 4).


Anderson, Public Policymaking, p. 10.


L. L. Wade and R. L. Curry, [r., A Logic of Public Policy (Belmont, Calif.: Heath, 1979),

chapter 5.


Michael O'Hare, "A Typology of Governmental Actíon," Joumal of Policy Analysis and

Management, 8 (Fall 1989), 670-672.

21. O'Hare, "A Typology," p. 670.

22. Theodore E. Lowi, The End of Lsberalism.(2nd ed.) (New York: Norton,

23. See Paul A. Satatier, "Polítícal Science and Public Políey" (this reader part


1979), chapter 3. 1, reading 2).

CHAMPNEY,LEONARD."Public Goods and Policy Types." Public Administration Review, 48 (Novern- ber/December 1988), 988-994. C!GLER,ALLANJ., and BURDETI,A. LoOMIS.lnterest Group Politics (2nd ed.). Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 1986. CoCHRAN,CLARKEE., MAYER,LAWRENCEC., CARR,T. R., and CAYER,N. JOSEPH.Anwrican Public Policy (4th ed.). New York: St Martín's Press, 1993. DANEKE,GREGORYA. "On Paradigmatic Progress in Public Policy and Administration." Policy Studies Joumal, 17 (Winter 1988/1989), 277-296. DOMHOFF,G. W. \l'ho Rules America? Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1967. DYE,THOMASR. Who's Running America: The Conservative Years (4th ed.). Englewood Cliffs, N.J.:

Prentice-Hall, 1986. EYESTONE,ROBERTE. The Threads of Public Policy. lndianapolis, lnd.: Bobbs-Merrill, 1971. GOLEMBIEWSKI,R. "The Group Basis of Politics." A11wricanPolitical Science Review, 54 (December 1960), 962-971. HEIDENHEIMER,ARNOLDJ., HECLO,HUGH,and ADAMS,CAROLYNTE!CH,Comparative Public Policy (3rd ed.). New York: St. Martin's Press, 1990. HEISLER,M. "Corporate Pluralism Revisited." Scandinavian Political Studies, new series, 2 (1979),


KOENIG,Lours W. An Iniroduction

to Public Polia]. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1986.

ÜLSON,MANCUR.The Logic ofCollective Action. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1965.

PETERS,B. GUY.Anwrican Public Policy:Promiseand Perfonnance (3rd ed.). Chatham, N.J.: Chatham

House, 1993. PETERSON,PAULE. "The Rise and Fall of Special Interest Politics." Political Science Quarterly, 105 (Winter 1990/1991), 53S-556. PRESTHUS,ROBERT.Elites in the Policy Procese.New York: Cambridge Uníversity Press, 1974. RANNEY,AUSTIN(ed.), Political Science and Public Policy. Chicago: Markham, 1968. REICH,ROBERTB. (ed.). The Power of Public Ideas. Cambridge, Mass.: Ballinger, 1988. ROURKE,FRANCISB. E. Bureaucracu, Politic,and Public Policy (3rd ed.). Boston: Little, Brown, 1984. SCHATISCHNEIDER,E. E. The Semi-Sovereign People. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1969. SCHUMPETER,J. Capitalism, Socialism and Dernocracy. London: Allen & Unwin, 1943. SUNDQUIST,JAMESL. "Political Scientists and Public Policy Research." PS, 24 (September 1991),


WILSON.GRAHAMK. Special Interests and Policy-Making. London: Wiley, 1977.

10 The Nature of Publicfolicy


· ce

I'/ Political Scien . an d Public Policy

Pau1A· Sabatier

Pohtical scientists who are policy scholars often trace their hneage back to the pi- oneering work of Lemer and Lasswell (1951). But public policy did not emerge as a sígnífícant subfield within the disciphne of political science until the late 1960s or early 70s. Thís resulted from at least three important stimuli: (1) social and po- lítical pressures to apply the professíon's accumulated knowledge to the pressing

social problems

tal pollution; (2) the challenge posed by Dawson and Robinson (1963), who ar- gued that govemmental pohcy decisions were less the result of traditional disciphnary concems such as public opinion and party composition than of so- cioeconomic factors such as income, education, and unemployment levels, and (3) the efforts of David Easton, whose Systeins Analysis of Political Life (1965) pro- víded an intellectual framework for understanding the entire policy process, from demand articulation through policy formulation and implementation, to feedback effects on society. Over the past twenty years, policy research by pohtical scientists can be di- vided into four types, depending upon the principal focus:

(J) Substantive area research, This seeks to understand the 12oliticsof a specific policy ~ea such as health education, transportation, natural resources, ar forei n olicy.

of racial discrimination, poverty, the arms race, and environmen-

, ar e y a eoretical ase (19 on social security,


~+vo\\--d.)Moynihai1 (1970) on antipoverty programs, and Bailey and Mosher (1968) on federal aid to education. Such studies are useful to practitioners and policy activists in these areas, as well as providing potentially useful infarmation far inductive theory build- ing. In terms of the profession as a whole, however, they are probably less useful than theoretical case studies-such as Pressman and Wildavsky (1973) on imple-

mentation or Nelson (1984) on agenda-setting-which use a specific case to illus-

Most of the work in this tra ition ias consis e o etaí s_~s. Examples would include the work of Derthick


trate or test theories of important aspects of the policy process.

© E!lauation and i.m act studies. Most evaluation research is based on contributions

discip ines, pa cu arly welfare econornics (Stokey and Zeckhauser 1978;

Jenkins-Smith 1990). Policy scholars trained as political scientists have made several contributíons. They have broadened the criteria of evaluation from traditional social welfare functions to include process criteria, such as opportunities far effective citi- zen participation (Pierce and Doerksen 1976). They have facused attention on dís- tríbutíonal effects (MacRae 1989). They have criticized traditional techniques of benefit-cost analysis on many grounds (Meier 1984; MacRae and Wltittington 1988).

from other

From Paul A. Sabatier, "Polítícal Science and Public Policy," PS: Political Science & Politics (june 1991), pp. 143-146. Reprinted by permission.


Political Science and Public Policy


tegrated evaluation studies into research on the policy

_ and non-use of policy analysis in the real world (Wil- davsky 1966; Dunn 1980;'W'eiss1977).

Two decades ago, both Ranney (1968) and Sharkansky (1970) urged

po ic scien sts interested in public policy to facus on the policy process, i.e. the factors affecting policy farmulation and implementation, as well as the subsequent effects of policy. In their view, facusing on substantive policy areas rísked falling into the relatively fruitless realm of atheoretical case studies, while evaluation research offered little prornise far a discipline without clear normative standards of good pol- icy. A facus on the policy process would provide opportunities far applying and inte- grating the díscípline's accumulated knowledge conceming political behavio'r in various institutional settings. That advíce was remarkably prescient; the first paper in

Q) Policy proces"

thís symposium attempts to summaríze what has been leamed. 4. Polict desi n. With roots in the policy sciences tradition described by deLeon (1988 , is approach has recently facused on such tapies as the efficacy of different types of policy instruments (Salamon 1989; Linder and Peters 1989). Although sorne scholars wíthin thís orientation propase a quite radical departure from the behav- ioral traditions of the discipline (Bobrow and Dryzek 1987), others build upon work by policy-oriented political scientists over the past twenty years (Schneider and In- gram 1990) while Miller (1989) seeks to integrate political phílosophy and the be- havioral sciences.

While a11have made sorne contributions, the third has been the most fruitful. Before tuming to a preview of the symposium, sorne mention should be made of tensions that have emerged between political scientists arÍd the subfield

of policy scholars.


(D The first, and most subtle, concems a difference in the fundamental conception of the purpose of govemrnent and political life (Hofferbert 1986). Vírtually a11 pohcy scholars view govemment inJ.nstrJ1mental.terms:Govemments are there to ímprove the welfare of members of society-to protect publíc health, provide for the common defense, correct extemahties and other market failures, improve public safety, etc. Many political scientists are uncornfmtable with this view. Hav- ing been schooled in Plato, Aristotle, Locke, and Mill, there is a tendency to view citizenship and polítícal participation as ends in thernselves rather than as a means of influencing policy decisions. Fortunately, this strain need not be serious. Pohcy scholars can certainly ac- knowledge the value of sohdary incentives and a sense of pohtical efficacy arising from political participation, even if these topics hold no intrinsic interest for them. Likewise most pohtical scientists would admit that people participate in pohtical hfe at least in part to influence govemmental decisions and ultimately improve so- cial welfare. Thus both sídes should be able to agree on the irnportance of devel- oping theories of the pohcy process which focus on ascertaining the factors which affect the extent to which govemmental policy decisions and their social effects