What is Public Policy?

A short explanation about what public policy is.
what is public policy
What is public policy?

What is Public Policy? - According to Perry and Kingdon (1985), "public policy" refers to the decisions, acts, and plans implemented by governments or other authoritative entities to address public concerns and attain social goals. It spans a wide range of topics, including social, economic, environmental, and political concerns, and it entails designing, executing, and assessing policies that affect the general population (Lee et al., 2018).

According to Burstein (2003), the area of public policy is incredibly complicated and multidimensional, and it requires careful consideration of a wide range of elements, including political dynamics, public opinion, and influence on various stakeholders. It entails identifying and assessing public problems, formulating alternative policy options, and choosing the course of action that is most appropriate (Pandey & Shukla, 2022). According to Bevan and Rasmussen (2017), the interaction of many actors, such as members of the public, interest groups, and government officials, frequently plays a role in the formation of public policy.

The examination of public policy is a significant subject for academic research and educational pursuits. It is beneficial to have an understanding of the processes and mechanisms that are used in the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of policies (Kuo & Kuo, 2012). Education regarding public policy can be obtained through a variety of academic programs, including degrees such as Master of Public Administration (MPA) and Master of Public Policy (MPP) (Morcol et al., 2020). According to Fritzen (2007), these programs aim to provide students with the information and abilities necessary to assess, formulate, and practice effective public policies.

Analysis of public policy is an extremely important component in the process of assessing and enhancing existing policies. It entails methodizing public policy problems, gathering and examining data pertinent to the problem, and determining possible public policy responses (Pandey & Shukla, 2022). According to Gormley (2007), public policy analysis helps inform decision-making processes and guarantees that policies are evidence-based and effective.

The activities of governments are not the only things that factor into public policy. In addition to this, it encompasses the policies and practices of other organizations and institutions, such as corporations, non-profit organizations, and international agencies (Stone, 2019). For instance, public health policies created by healthcare organizations or policies implementing public involvement developed by research institutes (Powell & Colin, 2008).

The effects of public policy are only sometimes immediately obvious. It can influence a society's social, economic, and environmental aspects ("The Role of Public Policies in the Development of the Brazilian Automotive Industry," 2022). According to Wolfenden et al. (2022), efficient public policy can result in favorable results such as improved public health, increased economic growth, and enhanced social welfare. According to Page and Shapiro (1983), the impact of public policy can be impacted by various factors, including political dynamics, public opinion, and the activities of interest groups.

In conclusion, public policy can be defined as the decisions, acts, and plans that are put into place by governments or other authoritative authorities to solve social issues and work toward achieving societal objectives. Developing, implementing those policies, and analyzing their effectiveness are all part of this intricate and multidimensional field. The study of public policy is necessary to grasp the processes and mechanisms utilized in the formulation and execution of policies. The analysis of public policy is extremely important since it helps guide decision-making processes and ensures that policies are evidence-based and efficient. The effects of public policy can have far-reaching repercussions, affecting the conditions of a society's social life, economy, and environment.


Burstein, P. (2003). The impact of public opinion on public policy: A review and an agenda. Political Research Quarterly, 56(1), 29–40.

Fritzen, S. A. (2007). Public policy education goes global: A multi-dimensional Challenge. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 27(1), 205–214.

Gormley, W. T. (2007). Public policy analysis: Ideas and impacts. Annual Review of Political Science, 10(1), 297–313.

Kuo, Y.-Y., & Kuo, N.-L. (2012). Taiwan’s public policy education: US-style? Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice, 14(5), 391–409.

Lee, M. S. W., Dewhirst, T., & Cherrier, H. (2018). Introduction to the special section: The domain and intersection of anticonsumption, marketing, and public policy. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 37(2), 189–194.

Morçöl, G., Tantardini, M., Williams, A., & Slagle, D. R. (2020). Master of public administration and master of public policy degrees: Differences and similarities in the curricula and course contents. Teaching Public Administration, 38(3), 313–332.

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Pascoal, E. T., Marins, F. A. S., Delamaro, M. C., & Duggins, R. (2022). The role of public policies in the development of the Brazilian automotive industry. Journal of Strategic Innovation and Sustainability, 17(4), 10–26.

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Stone, D. (2020). Making global policy (Ser. Elements in Public Policy). Cambridge University Press.

Wolfenden, L., Mooney, K., Gonzalez, S., Hall, A., Hodder, R., Nathan, N., Yoong, S., Ditton, E., Sutherland, R., Lecathelinais, C., & McCrabb, S. (2022). Increased use of knowledge translation strategies is associated with greater research impact on Public Health Policy and Practice: An Analysis of trials of nutrition, physical activity, sexual health, tobacco, alcohol and substance use interventions. Health Research Policy and Systems, 20(1).

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