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The Policy Cycle

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Actors, Interests and Lobbying
Administration and Governance
Administrative Law and Constitutional Checks on the Executive
All-Powerful Leaders?: The Concentration of Power in Modern Executives
Bureaucracy and the Formulation of Public Policy
Canadian Intergovernmental Structures and Operating Processes
Conceptual and Theoretical Foundations of Third Sector Governance and Management
Courts, Judicial Review, Rights and Democracy
Emergence of the Nation State
Executive Authority, Cabinet and Leadership
Executive Leadership in Government
Executive-Legislative Relations
Federal-Provincial Fiscal Relations
Federal-Provincial-Municipal Relations
Game Theory and Rational Institutionalism
Indigenous Rights and Institutions
Institutional Architecture: Federalism
Institutional Designs and Paths
Machinery of Government
Media, Framing and Agenda Setting
New Public Management
Parliamentary, Presidential and Decentralized Unitary Systems
Political and Administrative Responsibilities
Political and Administrative Responsibilities
Political Parties and Elections
Probing the Accuracy of Rational Decision Making Models: Alternative Accounts
Public and Para-Public Institutions
Public Institutions, Organizing Principles and Democratic Control
Public Opinion, Ideas and Policy Frames
Representation and Accountability
Representation and Responsiveness
Representation, Accountability and Policy
The Architecture of the Canadian State
The Bureaucracy and Bureaucratic Behaviour
The Changing Role of the State
The Democratic Deficit: Ethics, Responsiveness and Performance
The International Context of Domestic Institutions
The Policy Cycle
The Political Context of Policy Making
Weber: Rationalization and Bureaucracy
Westminster Parliamentary Systems
Who are the Players in the Policy Process?


The Policy Cycle

This topic explores the key steps involved in the processes of developing, implementing, assessing, and updating public policies. It looks at the processes involved and the political and bureaucratic challenges to maintaining proper processes. It examines the institutions responsible for and influential at each step.  

Topic Learning Outcome: Upon mastering this topic, students will be able to describe the key bureaucratic and legislative processes through which policies are decided upon, implemented and evaluated. Students will be knowledgeable about the political and administrative obstacles that must be overcome at different stages in the policy cycle and will be able to identify the most influential actors and institutions at the different steps.

Core Concepts associated with this Topic: Focusing Events; Policy; Policy Development; Policy Feedback; Policy Goals; Policy Learning; Policy Statement; Policy Window; Problem Recognition; Punctuated Equilibrium; Deliberation.

Recommended Readings

NYU Wagner: CORE-GP.1022 Introduction to Public Policy

Kraft & Furlong, Public Policy: Politics, Analysis and Alternatives, 4th edition (2013). Chapter 3.

Kingdon, Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies, 2nd updated edition (2011). Chapters 4-10.

Jenkins-Smith & Sabatier, "Evaluating the Advocacy Coalition Framework".

Lindblom, "The Science of ‘Muddling Through'".

Schneider and Ingram, "Social Construction of Target Populations".

Baumgartner & Jones, Agendas and Instability in American PoliticsChapters 1 & 2.

 Sample Assessment Questions:

1.) What is a policy window? Why is "the policy window" an important concept for students of public administration and practitioners to understand?

2.) What is policy feedback? What is the role of policy feedback, policy learning and the collection of performance information in the policy cycle?

Page created by Sean Goertzen and Ben Eisen on 6 May 2015.


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© University of Toronto 2008
School of Public Policy and Governance