The Tools of Policy Formulation

The Tools of Policy Formulation

Actors, Capacities, Venues and Effects

New Horizons in Public Policy series

Edited by Andrew J. Jordan and John R. Turnpenny

A PDF version of this book is available for free in open access via the Elgaronline platform - Policy analysts are accustomed to thinking in terms of tools and instruments. Yet an authoritative examination of the tools which have been developed to formulate new policies is missing. This book is the first of its kind to distinguish the defining characteristics of the main policy formulation tools, and offer a fresh way of understanding how, why and by whom they are selected, as well as the effects they produce in practice.

Chapter 1: The tools of policy formulation: an introduction

John R. Turnpenny, Andrew J. Jordan, David Benson and Tim Rayner

Subjects: economics and finance, valuation, politics and public policy, european politics and policy, public administration and management, public policy


What techniques or means do public policymakers use in their attempts to achieve policy goals? The roles of what may be termed policy instruments, tools and methods (Howlett 2011, p. 22) have attracted a great deal of attention. It is generally accepted that policy tools and instruments exist at all stages of the policy process (Howlett 2011, p. 22), ranging from policy formulation through to ex post evaluation (Dunn 2004). But in the public policy literature, much of the debate has focused on instruments for implementing agreed policy objectives, such as regulations, subsidies, taxes and voluntary agreements (Hood 1983; Hood and Margetts 2007; Salamon 2002). Recently, a second category of implementing instruments has been identified: procedural tools (Howlett 2000). These include education, training, provision of information and public hearings. These are procedural in the sense that they seek to affect outcomes indirectly through manipulating policy processes. The manner in which both types of instruments are selected and deployed aims to change the substance, effects and outcomes of policy, by sending signals about what is to be achieved and how government is likely to respond to target groups.