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 13: The tools of policy formulation: new perspectives and new challenges

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

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


It is generally accepted that policy tools and instruments exist at all stages of the policy process (Howlett 2011, p. 22). But as was pointed out in Chapter 1, only some tools and instruments, operating at certain policy stages, have garnered the sustained analytical attention of policy researchers. Policy formulation – a very important but imperfectly understood stage – has certainly been targeted by developers of new tools, ranging from foresight and scenario tools that seek to open up problem framings and conceptualizations, through to tools like cost–benefit analysis (CBA) that seek to recommend preferred policy solutions. Tool developers and policy analysts have also made many normative recommendations on how these and other policy formulation tools should be used (Vining and Weimer 2010; Dunn 2004). But as was made clear in Chapter 1, mainstream policy researchers have largely ignored policy formulation tools, meaning that a lot less is known about how they have actually been utilized in practice. As Howlett et al. (Chapter 8) suggest, policy researchers have long suspected that they probably play some role in structuring policymaking activity, but what that function is remains a largely unexplored research topic.