2011 Public Policy Yearbook

Hank C. Jenkins-Smith and Sarah R. Trousset, Editors
University of Oklahoma

This volume contains the third edition of the Public Policy Yearbook, provided as a special issue of the Policy Studies Journal. The 2011 edition of the Yearbook contains a detailed international listing of policy scholars with contact information, fields of specialization, research references1, and a individual scholar’s statements of current and future research interests. The intent is to provide a reasonably comprehensive and accessible reference to the most recent scholarship on all aspects of public policy, as well as indications of future research directions. For public policy scholars, inclusion in the Yearbook is a great way to gain visibility and facilitate networking within the policy research community. Listing in the Yearbook is free of charge to all scholars (including graduate students) who do research in public policy, and is provided in print form to members of the Policy Studies Organization and subscribers to the Policy Studies Journal. The Yearbook is now available as a stand-alone volume, available from the Policy Studies Organization. In addition, the contents will be made accessible in searchable form on the web in the Spring of 2011. The on-line version of the Yearbook will provide links to abstracts, articles and scholar bios.

Policy Scholarship: New Developments, Snapshots and Trends

The 2011 Yearbook contains a set of short peer-reviewed articles summarizing the most recent developments (primarily over the past two years) in scholarship in specific policy subfields. This year’s essays include all five of the theoretical categories identified in the Yearbook: Agenda Setting, Adoption and Implementation; Policy Analysis and Evaluation; Policy History; Policy Process Theories; and Public Opinion. Also included are three essays describing the newest scholarship in three substantive domains: Education Policy; Defense and Security Policy; and Governance. The 2012 Yearbook will include essays on recent policy scholarship concerning Comparative Public Policy, Economic Policy, Environmental Policy, Health Policy, International Relations, Law and Policy, Science and Technology Policy, and Social Policy. We selected advanced graduate students (past the comprehensive exam stage) from leading graduate schools to write these articles, and asked them to focus on the policy subfields listed in the Yearbook, and referenced scholars and articles were contacted to be featured in the listings within the Yearbook to facilitate access to current policy research. The Yearbook is designed to facilitate ready linkage of recent scholarship to scholars’ profiles, abstracts, articles and contact information.

While public policy scholars produce a broad array of new research each year, the 2011 Yearbook highlights some key developments. Some of these include the following:

  • Agenda Setting, Adoption and Implementation: Barry Pump notes that policy scholars are paying greater attention to mechanisms and dynamics of agenda setting in the policy process. Recent trends focus on information processing and shifting the unit of analysis beyond policy subsystems.
  • Policy Analysis: Deven Carlson highlights a recent shift among policy analysis scholars toward a focus on social experimentation, the use of meta-analysis and Monte Carlo simulations in benefit-cost analysis, and on the rise of institutional actors engaged in the promotion and dissemination of policy analysis.
  • Policy History: In reflecting upon new developments in Policy History, Peter deLeon and Kathleen Gallagher re-examine deLeon’s original argument in Advice and Consent (1988). The authors examine the impact of the non-profit sector and the concept of governance on policy analysis within the field of public policy.
  • Policy Process Theories: Matt Nowlin discusses recent progress in the development of policy process theories, including: the “Narrative Policy Framework”; subsystems, trans-subsystems, and policy regimes; and new views of the role of the bureaucracy in policy processes.
  • Public Opinion: Kevin Mullinix reflects on recent trends in public opinion research. Public opinion scholars are increasingly taking a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the dynamics of public opinion. Research has focused on the roles of affect, personality and genetics, as well as focusing on information processing, the influence of media and the impact of deliberation.
  • Defense and Security: Joseph Ripberger provides a focus primarily on civil defense and homeland security policy. Scholars have investigated multi-dimensional questions concerning freedom and security including public opinion, the role of institutions and the policy process.
  • Education Policy: Thaddieus Conner and Thomas Rabovsky discuss developments in higher education policy. Education policy scholars have emphasized empirical questions regarding accountability, affordability and access in higher education. Particular focus among education scholars has been on diversity and student success in the higher education system.
  • Governance: The concept and notion of “governance” has had a tremendous impact on public policy research. Robbie Robichau illuminates the evolution of the concept of “governance” and its implications on the policy process.

The review essays reference the leading scholarship in each theoretical and substantive domain, allowing quick access to both published work and future research interests. Our intent is to provide a resource for scholars and practitioners of public policy to have an accessible reference to who is studying what, where and how in the field of public policy. From our own experience as scholars, journal editors, and teachers, the Yearbook will be of value for finding shared interests and expertise among scholars and practitioners.

One way to illustrate current trends and among policy scholars’ work is to scan the “current research and future directions” summaries in the Yearbook entries. Over time, this section will provide the data to track current and over-time variations in the substantive and theoretical work, as well as methodological approaches to public policy scholarship. Figure 1 below captures the frequency of primary words employed in the summaries of current research in the 2011 Yearbook.

Figure 1. The relative size of each term denotes frequency with which key terms appear in the listing of “current and future research expectations” section of this volume.

Characterizing Yearbook Policy Scholars

The public policy scholars in the 2011 Yearbook reside in 29 countries across the globe, including: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Maricopa, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. Within the US, Yearbook scholars reside in 44 of the 50 states. Figure 2 shows the location of U.S. based scholars. One-quarter of Yearbook members are female, and the average reported years of experience in policy research was 18 years.

Future editions of the Yearbook will capture a broader population of scholars, particularly focusing on increasing the representation of international scholars, graduate students, and practitioners.

Yearbook scholars were asked to provide background on employment and areas of research focus. The breakdown of scholars’ job titles is shown in Figure 3 below. Figures 4 and 5 display the relative frequency for scholars’ theoretical and substantive specializations. Note that scholars could choose more than one area as a specialty, and therefore are represented in multiple categories. The most frequently identified specialization is agenda setting, adoption and implementation, followed by policy analysis and evaluation. Policy process theorists make up the third largest classification. Substantively, more than half of scholars study governance, environmental policy and social policy.

Figure 2. Distribution of US-Based Yearbook Scholars.

Figure 3. Official Job Title.

Scholar Updates. Our intent is to continue to broaden participation in the Yearbook to ensure that it remains the most broadly representative source for current policy scholarship. As editors of the 2011 Public Policy Yearbook, we are grateful to all of the respondents that took the time to respond to several emails and persistent prodding to update their entries for the 2011 Yearbook. In September of 2011, invitations will once again be sent to policy scholars to update their entries in the Yearbook. As in prior years, invitations will be sent to all prior Yearbook scholars, members of the APSA Public Policy Section, and members of the Policy Studies Organization. We will continue our efforts to include faculty from public policy schools and departments across the globe. We also want to continue to increase coverage of graduate students and post-docs in public policy, representing the next generation of leading public policy scholars. We ask that current members assist in this effort by forwarding our invitations to affiliate policy scholars and graduate students.

Figure 4. Theoretical Focus Areas.

The design and production of the Yearbook could not have been accomplished without the help of many hands. We would like to thank Amanda Rutherford and Nick Trousset for their assistance with editing. We also thank Matthew Henderson for the design and implementation of the online survey that was essential for data collection. Furthermore, we extend thanks to David Merchant and appreciation for the people at Wiley-Blackwell, especially Joshua Gannon. Finally, we are especially grateful for the financial support and encouragement by Dr. Paul Rich, President of the Policy Studies Organization.

Figure 5. Substantive Focus Areas.

We hope that you will find the 2011 Yearbook to be a useful resource in your work on public policy, and that you will continue to update your entries for publication in future issues. We apologize for any errors that may have escaped our quality control processes, and we will provide an opportunity for updates, corrections and new additions in September of 2011.

Hank C. Jenkins-Smith

Sarah Trousset

1. Please note that while entries were reviewed for apparent errors, scholars’ publications are listed as the participating scholars provided them.