Handbook on Policy, Process and Governing
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Handbook on Policy, Process and Governing

Edited by H. K. Colebatch and Robert Hoppe

This Handbook covers the accounts, by practitioners and observers, of the ways in which policy is formed around problems, how these problems are recognized and understood, and how diverse participants come to be involved in addressing them. H.K. Colebatch and Robert Hoppe draw together a range of original contributions from experts in the field to illuminate the ways in which policies are formed and how they shape the process of governing.
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Chapter 9: Thirty years of research on policy instruments

Michael Howlett, Ishani Mukherjee and J.J. Woo


Anyone interested in policy studies, policy analysis, policy evaluation and policy management should be aware of, and knowledgeable about, the origins, nature and capabilities of different policy tools. They are a critical part of policy-making, providing the “means” by which policy “ends” are achieved, but also often becoming ends-in-themselves as supporters and beneficiaries build up around tool choices. They are and have been the subject of inquiry in many policy-related fields, including public administration and “governance” studies, but also various broader disciplines such as political science and economics and in policy analysis and policy studies writ large, as well as in sector-specific areas such as health studies, energy and utilities studies, labor studies, social policy studies, women’s studies, international studies and many others. This chapter examines, reviews and assesses what these literatures have to say about instruments and instrument choices and derives lessons from them concerning where the study of policy tools has been over the past three decades and where it is heading in the contemporary epoch.

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