What is public policy analysis? Distinguish between the rational and incremental models of policy making.
Public Policy Analysis
Public Policy Analysis focuses on the “how”, “why” and “what” in government action. In essence, it analyzes why the government choses a particular path of action; (or arguably: opts to remain inactive) and how it goes about choosing that path. More so, public policy analysis examines what will be the effects of the actions taken by a government.
Historically speaking, “[Public] Policy Analysis draws on concepts from a number of disciplines: economics, political science, sociology, public administration and history, and emerged as a subdiscipline in the late 1960s mainly in the United States.” Walt and Gibson 1994:358. Public Policy Analysis grew over time to become a full-fledged discipline in Political Science identifiable with public policy.
There are two main branches of public policy analysis. The substantive branch concerns itself with researching the actual development of policies passed within the different bureaucracies. The theoretical branch approaches public policy analysis from an academic standpoint with an aim towards understanding why a policy was passed and the long term effects of that policy.
The Theoretical Branch
The theoretical branch of public policy analysis differentiates three major trends in public policy analysis:
focus on government theory,
explanation on how policies work,
Analysis on the impact of policies.
The theoretical branch tends to fluctuate between two administrative perspectives of public policy analysis being; the descriptive approach to public policy administration (knowledge of the policy process) and the prescriptive approach to public policy analysis (knowledge in the policy process).
The Prescriptive Approach
As noted above, the prescriptive approach to public policy focuses on knowledge in the policy process. Analysts of the prescriptive approach are...