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ISBN: 9780878407736 (0878407731)
Policy Analysis Comes of Age
Beryl A. Radin
Policy analysis is a relatively young field, created in the 1960s as a way to introduce data and rationality into the decision-making process. In Beyond Machiavelli, Beryl A. Radin compares policy analysis in the 1960s with its practice in the 1990s, analyzing the transformations the profession has undergone since its birth and offering a provocative conception of its practice today.
All new professions go through a maturation process, but Radin points out that policy analysis is more susceptible to change because it is directly affected by shifting political values. The United States of the 1960s was characterized by a strong belief in progress, a trust in the public sector, and a reliance on experts. By the 1990s, Americans were less confident about the future, not as trustful of the government, and less willing to defer to so-called experts. Even so, the number and range of policy analysis jobs has grown markedly.
Radin explores the significant changes that have taken place in the field, including attitudes toward politics, skills and methodologies required, views about information and data, and shifts in modes of decision making. She includes profiles of six very diverse policy analysis organizations to illustrate these changes. While some argue that the 1960s were the golden day of the profession when decision makers listened to experts, Radin argues that the earlier version of the field held to traditions of elitism and secrecy and that policy analysis in the 1990s, pluralistic and open, is a more democratic American profession.
Beryl A. Radin is a member of the faculty at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute at Georgetown University. She is the author of numerous articles, book chapters, and books dealing with policy analysis, intergovernmental relations and specific policy areas. She is the lead coauthor of New Governance for Rural America: Creating Intergovernmental Partnerships, her most recent book. In 1996-98, she served as a special advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Management and Budget in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
"A valuable contribution to the continuing discussion of what it means for scholars and their practitioner students to be engaged in public discourse."—Administrative Praxis & Theory
"The book is clear, logical, engaging, and straightforward. . . . If one had only a single book to read about the evolution of policy analysis, this would be a very wise pick. It will be a great boon to master of public administration and master of public policy students who want to get a quick and painless, but very strong grip on the field and its issues. Radin has done the field of policy analysis a great service."—Public Administration Review
"Bold, interesting, and clearly written."—Journal of Policy Analysis & Management
"Constitutes an important contribution to the literature in the area and, while not overly technical or academic in its presentation, provides a well-written and carefully argued essay on a topic of much interest to both theorists and practitioners in the field."—Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis
"Draws on a broad range of literature and exemplar cases to provide an insightful analysis of the field's evolution . . . rooted in pragmatism and experience, consciously focused on the implications of important changes in the field for the practitioners who populate it as much as for those who study and teach it . . . provides a reflective tour that can both support debate about the field's intellectual direction and serve as a useful guide to those pursuing careers in it."—American Political Science Review
"Of particular value to students and faculty in policy programs or those in political science programs who want to learn more about the field of policy analysis."—Journal of Politics
"Radin takes us on a panoramic tour of the world of policy analysis and shows us where the field has come from and where it is today. . . . a clearly written, useful, and important account of the challenges policy analysts face."—Fay Lomax Cook, director, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University
"Accessible, insightful, and practical. This is a timely and useful addition to the literature of policy analysis and practice."—Laurence E. Lynn Jr., Sydney Stein Jr. Professor of Public Management, University of Chicago
"What is policy analysis anyway? Radin provides a historical and political analysis that reveals what policy analysts can and do contribute in the real world of public policy debate. By illuminating this context, the book offers a valuable complement to the study of tools and techniques."—Janet Weiss, professor of organizational behavior and public policy, University of Michigan
"Radin has brought together her own unique mix of insight, analysis, and experience to create a living history of the practice of policy analysis over the past four decades."—William H. Robinson, Congressional Research Service
"Illuminates the diversity of policy analysis in a readable and engaging way. I learned a lot from this book. I would recommend this book for anyone considering a career as a policy analyst."—Judith Innes, director, Institute of Urban and Regional Development and professor of city and regional planning, University of California, Berkeley
Table of Contents
A Portrait of the Past
Policy Analysis Today: Dueling Swords
Profiles of Practice
Dealing with Two Cultures: Politics and Analysis
The Tools of the Trade
Information -- Just Give Me the Facts?
The Policy Task
Where Are We and Where Are We Going?