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 8: Policy formulation, policy advice and policy appraisal: the distribution of analytical tools

Michael Howlett, Seck L. Tan, Andrea Migone, Adam Wellstead and Bryan Evans

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


At its heart, policy analysis is what Gill and Saunders (1992, pp. 6_7) have characterized as ‘a method for structuring information and providing opportunities for the development of alternative choices for the policymaker’. An important part of the process of policy formulation, policy analysis involves policy appraisal: providing information or advice to policymakers concerning the relative advantages and disadvantages of alternative policy choices (Mushkin 1977; Wildavsky 1979; Sidney 2007; Howlett et al. 2009). Such advice comes from a variety of different actors operating in a wide range of venues both internal and external to government. And policy workers operating in these venues employ many different types of analytical techniques or ‘policy formulation tools’ in this effort (Mayer et al. 2004; Colebatch et al. 2011). These tools generally are designed to help evaluate current or past practices and aid decision making by clarifying or eliminating some of the many possible alternative courses of action mooted in the course of policy formulation.