Actors, Capacities, Venues and Effects
New Horizons in Public Policy series
Edited by Andrew J. Jordan and John R. Turnpenny
Chapter 1: The tools of policy formulation: an introduction
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.