Research Review Essays

These retrospective reviews are peer-reviewed and summarize the most recent developments (primarily the past two years) in scholarship in specific policy subfields. They are written by advanced graduate students from leading graduate schools. Our intent is to provide a resource for scholars and practioners of public policy to have an accessible reference to who is studying what, where, and how in the field of public policy.

The review essays reference the leading scholarship in each theoretical and substantive domain, allowing quick access to both published work and future research interests. Referenced scholars were contacted to be featured in the listings within the Yearbook. As you read through the articles, you can easily view cited scholars' profiles by clicking on the in-text citations.

We welcome recommendations for authors who specialize in one of the policy subfields listed within the Yearbook and who would like to contribute a review to a forthcoming edition. Advanced graduate students are encouraged to apply by submitting a reference letter from their senior advisor to psjyearbook@gmail.com.


2017 Articles


The 2017 Public Policy Yearbook: Recent Trends in Public Policy Research

Hank Jenkins-Smith, Julie Krutz, Nina Carlson, and Christopher Weible

The articles presented in this supplemental issue mark the ninth edition of the Policy Studies Journal’s Public Policy Yearbook. This issue includes three retrospective review articles summarizing recent developments in public policy research across the following focus areas: comparative public policy, governance, and policy analysis and evaluation. The issue also includes a special topic paper that examines both the breadth and depth of applications of the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF). We provide a brief description of these articles in greater detail below.

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Advocacy Coalition Framework

There and Back Again: A Tale of the Advocacy Coalition Framework

Jonathan J. Pierce, Holly L. Peterson, Michael D. Jones, Samantha P. Garrard, and Theresa Vu

To better understand how the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) is applied, this article catalogues and analyzes 161 applications of the ACF from 2007 to 2014. Building on a previous review of 80 applications of the ACF (1987–2006) conducted by Weible, Sabatier, and McQueen in 2009, this review examines both the breadth and depth of the framework. In terms of breadth, there are over 130 unique first authors from 25 countries, in almost 100 journals applying the framework, including a majority outside of the United States. In terms of depth, a plurality of applications analyzes environment and energy, subsystems at the national level, and utilizes qualitative methods of data collection and analyses. This review also explores how the three theoretical foci of the framework— advocacy coalitions, policy change, and policy-oriented learning—are applied. Our findings suggest that the ACF balances common approaches for applying the framework with the specificity of particular contexts.

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Comparative Public Policy

Comparative Public Policy: Origins, Themes, New Directions

Matt Wilder

Comparative public policy combines theories of the policy process with the study of political systems and specific issue areas. Yet, some ambiguity surrounds what distinguishes the comparative approach from other perspectives on public policy. This review brings greater clarity to the comparative policy project by emphasizing the need to be attentive to similarities and differences regarding the institutional contexts in which policymaking takes place. This attention is necessary to avoid "forcing a fit" between the empirical reality and theories and frameworks designed with specific institutional configurations in mind. While forced fit posed problems for past research, recent theoretical advancements have been devised to facilitate comparison across dissimilar institutional settings. The following discussion highlights amendments to established approaches intended to deal with problems of comparison and identifies promising new perspectives from which comparative analysis may be conducted. The latest wave of comparative policy scholarship, having accounted for institutional variation, looks beyond institutions to policy discourses in order to explain how ideas, norms, and political culture affect how policy actors maneuver within, maintain, or change the institutional environment in which they operate.

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Governance

The Dynamic Role of State and Nonstate Actors: Governance after Global Financial Crisis

Nick H. K. Or and Ana C. Aranda-Jan

In this article, we review the dynamic role of state and nonstate actors in governance. We first discuss the main arguments for and against the state being the main actor in governance in recent literature. Then, we review some of the literature about the changing role of state and nonstate actors in response to the 2007–08 global financial crisis from 2011 to 2015. The two themes under examination are, first, more control over financial markets and second, austerity measures. They illustrate different trajectories of governance that go beyond the now well-established New Public Management paradigm of public sector reforms. Our review shows that no single actor provides the best mode of governance for all circumstances. Instead, governance is hybrid and dynamic. The mode of governance is dependent on the circumstances under which an actor is more capable of interacting with other actors to provide public services.

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Policy Analysis

Applying Behavioral Insights in Policy Analysis: Recent Trends in the United States

Maithreyi Gopalan and Maureen A. Pirog

An understanding of human nature and of the motivations that drive human behavior have always informed public policies. The use of behavioral research in public policy analysis, which flows largely from social and cognitive psychology, behavioral economics, and other behavioral sciences, came into sharp focus in the last decade. Since then, policy initiatives incorporating behavioral insights have flourished, and thousands of research articles have been published on that topic. A lot of this research has focused on how behavioral insights used by governments at all levels can improve the delivery of governmental services and improve compliance and use of government services by the public. We review recent trends in policy initiatives that specifically incorporate behavioral insights in the United States and outline a framework for further integrating behavioral insights into the various stages of policy analysis and policy design.

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2016 Articles


The 2016 Public Policy Yearbook: Tracking Research in Public Policy

Sarah Trousset, Hank C. Jenkins-Smith, Nina Carlson, Christopher Weible

The articles presented in this supplemental issue mark the eighth edition of the Policy Studies Journal’s Public Policy Yearbook. This issue includes four retrospective review articles summarizing recent developments in public policy research in four focus areas: defense and public policy, economic policy, environmental policy, and health policy. The issue also includes a set of special topic papers that discuss theories on the policy process, and publishing patterns found within public policy journals. We provide a brief description of these articles in greater detail below.

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Defense and Public Policy

Rediscovering Defense Policy: A Public Policy Call to Arms

Brandon J. Archuleta

Since 9/11, policy scholars have made significant inroads with tremendous insights into U.S. homeland security policy, especially in the areas of counterterrorism and disaster relief. But as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan raged on, the public policy field largely ceded questions of traditional defense policy to international relations and security scholars. This was a mistake. The time has come for policy scholars to rediscover defense policy and rejoin America’s national security conversation. With defense spending in decline, the All-Volunteer Force in transition, and emerging threats on the rise, research on defense budgeting and management, military social policy, and cyber bureaucracy are all ripe for scholarly examination. This research note reviews the latest work in the field, reinvigorates national security research agendas for the twenty first century, and explores several ideas for the way ahead in defense policy scholarship.

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Economic Policy

Whither Are We Bound? New Insights on American Economic Policymaking

Komla D. Dzigbede

This essay reviews recent scholarship in American economic policymaking. It focuses on scholarly work from 2012 to 2015 and considers three main streams of research. The first concerns how, amidst the lingering effects of the Great Recession, monetary and fiscal policy variables interplay to affect policy outcomes such as employment and income. The second stream relates to the politics of regulation and spans several aspects of regulatory governance such as enforcement and compliance, regulatory arbitrage in financial markets, and the role of U.S. regulatory regime structures as standards of best practice in global contexts. The third stream of research focuses on the dynamics of institutional relationships in the policy process and explores how policy narratives influence policy outcomes, how the media engages and alters political attention, and how interest groups and lobbyists shape policy decisions. The final section provides directions for future research and assesses the extent to which these frontier issues in economic research could shape American economic policymaking going forward.

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Environmental Policy

Governing Complexity: Recent developments in environmental politics and policy

Bridget K. Fahey and Sarah B. Pralle

Using a large sample of articles and books published between 2012 and 2015, this review shows the recent trends in environmental politics and policy scholarship. Environmental policy scholarship has embraced the concept of governance to explain the variety of actors and institutions that surround environmental problems and solutions. Scholars in the past three years used theories and methods to capture these governing dynamics in far-reaching and complicated issues like climate change. This paper discusses recent patterns in the literature and demonstrates that new methods, recent theoretical focuses, and even the environmental issues covered by scholars reflect the field’s acknowledgement that scholars can and should account for complexity in their work. However, the literature has neglected certain regions and processes, such as the developing world and policy feedback processes, leaving significant gaps in our understanding.

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Health Policy

More than the ACA: Topics and themes in health policy research

Lisa A. Frazier

As debates in industrialized countries over the last century indicate, health care and the role of government in its provision are complex and contentious issues. This article provides an orientation to the variety of topics guiding research and discourse in U.S. health policy, as well as how those topical areas influence and engage each other. This paper introduces five prominent themes in health policy research, namely 1) biomedical policy, 2) public health policy, 3) health economics, 4) health care policy, and 5) health informatics policy. It also provides specific examples from current scholarship. Broad themes that connect those lines of inquiry are highlighted with recommendations for future research.

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2015 Articles


The 2015 Public Policy Yearbook: Tracking Research in Public Policy

Sarah Trousset, Hank C. Jenkins-Smith, Nina Carlson, Christopher Weible

This supplemental issue marks the seventh edition of the Policy Studies Journal’s Public Policy Yearbook. This issue includes retrospective review articles summarizing recent developments in public policy research in three focus areas: education policy; energy and natural resource policy; and urban public policy. By visiting the Yearbook’s website, users can utilize a free web-based interface to easily search for various policy scholars’ contact information, as well as up-to-date summaries describing listed scholars’ self-reported descriptions of current and future research ideas and projects. In this introduction we provide a brief description of the Yearbook, and then present a snapshot of current developments in public policy research.

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Energy & Natural Resource Policy

Down the Line: Assessing the Trajectory of Energy Policy Research Development

John Kester III, Rachael Moyer, Geoboo Song

In light of the impassioned debate regarding various aspects of global climate change, as well as the demand for reliable energy supply for swift economic recovery and stable economic growth in recent years, contemporary policy research on issues concerning energy and natural resources has gained more traction than at any other time in recent history. In this article, we attempt to characterize the recent trends of such research endeavors while reviewing related articles published in major scholarly journals in public policy and related fields of study between 2010 and early 2014. We found that the subtleties of recent energy policy studies revolve around issues pertaining to nuclear energy, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and hydraulic fracturing operations, while such studies employ diverse theoretical and methodological approaches in analyzing various facets of energy policy process ranging from issue framing and agenda setting, to policy formulation and diffusion, to policy evaluation and feasibility assessment. We conclude this paper by discussing future research directions of energy policy issues.

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Urban Public Policy

Re-assessing ‘City Limits’ in Urban Public Policy

Aaron Deslatte

Urban public policy continues to explore the problems of urban growth and decline in a multi-disciplinary fashion, focusing multiple theoretical lenses on questions of governance and division of authority as well as the practical applications for areas of policy specialization. This paper reviews recent articles on income, housing, and racial/ethnic stratification, which share a common link of mobility-based prescriptions. It also reviews the role sustainability, equity and cultural norms play in scholarship. The field is moving in a direction that integrates classical rational choice and sociological explanations for policies addressing sustainability and equity, the role of cultural identity in urban renewal efforts, and long-standing problems of citizen participation in government decision-making.

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Education Policy

Education Politics and Policy: Emerging Institutions, Interests, and Ideas

Sarah Galey

The article reviews the most recent research on K-12 education policy and politics in the United States. I begin by exploring current reform trends and emerging institutional arrangements governing contemporary U.S. school systems in relation to patterns of increasing federal and state involvement in educational policy arenas. I then examine and synthesize studies from four key areas of educational policy research – accountability and teacher evaluation, market-based reforms, educational research utilization, and local and state capacity building. I conclude with an overview of gaps in the literature and suggestions for future research.

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2014 Articles


2014 Public Policy Yearbook: Recent Developments in Public Policy Research

Hank C. Jenkins-Smith, Sarah Trousset, Christopher Weible

We are pleased to present the sixth edition of the Public Policy Yearbook. Each year, dating back to its launch in 2009, we have used the content of the Yearbook to develop indicators for tracking developments in public policy scholarship. While we recognize that trends we can identify are only representative of the sample of Yearbook scholars, the patterns of scholarly focus have remained quite stable despite a more than doubling our membership over the 2009-2014 period. In this introductory article, following a brief a description of the Yearbook, we take a comparative look at how research trends in the Yearbook have evolved over the last six years.

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Agenda Setting, Adoption and Implementation

New Avenues for the Study of Agenda-Setting

Rebecca Eissler, Annelise Russell, Bryan D. Jones

Existing literature on the agenda setting process is grounded and well cited in studies of U.S. national institutions, but emerging scholarship has taken the fundamental principles of agenda setting — attention, information, and learning — and has extended their applicability to understudied participants and institutions. This essay highlights three areas of study that have undergone particular grown during the last few years and best represent the trend of applying the well understood dynamics of agenda setting to a broader swath of participants in the policy process. We first examine how scholars have focused on agenda setting within U.S. state and local governments and the way these institutions balance their agenda-setting needs internally, while still trying to be heard within a federal system. Secondly, we highlight policy scholars’ contributions to create better definitions and measures of the relationship between the media and policy process. Finally, we explore the contributions to the broader agenda setting literature made by scholars examining non-United States institutions. These three categories are but a part of the growing trend in the subfield to expand the scope of agenda setting research.

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Policy Analysis

Empirical Innovations in Policy Analysis

Grant Blume, Tyler Scott, Maureen Pirog

The study and analysis of public policy continues to mature in the United States and around the world. Public policy as a field of study has been the only new academic discipline added to the National Research Council in the past 25 years. Close to 300 programs in public policy, public affairs, and public administration are currently offered at American colleges and universities (NASPAA, 2012). The Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) at present has over 2,000 individual members from countries worldwide (Personal correspondence with APPAM Executive Director, 10/22/2013). In the past year, the contact authors for roughly one-third (32.5 percent) of over 500 submissions to the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (JPAM), a journal focused on policy analysis and policy research, were from authors in foreign countries, with this percentage sharply higher if the residence of co-authors is taken into account. The discipline of policy analysis is clearly recognized globally.

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Public Opinion

Advances in Public Opinion and Policy Attitudes Research

Jennifer Bachner, Kathy Wagner Hill

There has been much advancement in the field of public opinion research in the past few years, particularly with respect to the formation of policy attitudes in response to elite rhetoric, the translation of policy information into attitudes and the biological foundations of policy attitudes. Much of the progress made in these areas of study can be attributed to the increased use of innovative,experimental methods and new data sources. Nonetheless, unresolved issues persist, such as the whether there is an identifiable genetic basis of policy attitudes and the extent to which cultural versus partisan orientations drive opinions. This review will discuss both new findings in the field and identify areas that require further research.

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Policy Process Theories

Theories of the Policy Process: Contemporary Scholarship and Future Directions

Evangelia Petridou

The object of policy research is the understanding of the interactions among the machinery of the state, political actors, and the public. Being broadly defined, political actors can hold formal or informal positions in all governance levels. Their actions frequently produce pervasive public action; that is, action not solely limited to legislation, rules and regulations and executive orders (John, 2012; Theodoulou and Cahn, 1995). To understand and explain this complex “…vast, turgid, self-centered, and highly emotional process” (George Kennan quoted in Gaddis, p. 308), scholars employ a large number of tools in the form of theories, models, and frameworks, a great number of which have developed and refined over the past three decades. Due to the plethora and complexity of the questions raised, these tools tend to be more complementary than contending (Peters and Pierre, 2006; Schlager and Weible, 2013).

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Science and Technology Policy

Current Trends in Science and Technology Policy Research: An examination of published works from 2010-2012

Sarah Trousset

This essay identifies three notable trends in recent science and technology policy research. By analyzing the keywords listed within published scholarship from 2010-2012, a predominant portion of articles focuses on universities, patenting, and innovation policy models. Scholars have gained some insight into these processes by focusing on how collaborations between the government, universities, and industry impact technological outcomes. However, data and measurement issues have limited research in this area.

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Special Topic

Policy Journal Trends and Tensions: JPAM and PSJ

William C. Adams, Donna Lind Infeld, Michael Ruddell, Laura Minicelli

Academic journals may especially influence the development of an emerging field; early editors of public policy journals were explicit about that goal. Two leading journals – the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management and the Policy Studies Journal – were compared for changes between the early 1980s and 2007-2010. Over time, both journals published far fewer research articles by practitioners, and the non-university share of both editorial boards also declined. The journals continued to focus largely on the United States. Both showed a dramatic increase in the proportion of co-authored articles. Over time, JPAM became far more likely to publish studies by economists and far less likely to publish political scientists while PSJ increasingly published political scientists. JPAM authors now primarily reference economics journals. PSJ authors often cite political science, public administration, and other public policy journals. Both journals moved away from broad policy essays, with JPAM heavily trending to multivariate (essentially econometric) secondary analyses of large data sets and PSJ including a broader range of methodologies. Contrary to early predictions of a progressively more interdisciplinary field, the opposite trend – stronger alignments with specific disciplines – reflects public policy's ongoing challenge in transcending long-standing academic legacies and boundaries.

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2013 Articles


2013 Public Policy Yearbook: Evolving Scholarship in Public Policy

Hank C. Jenkins-Smith, Sarah Trousset, Christopher Weible

This marks the release of the fifth edition of the Public Policy Yearbook, which continues to serve as a useful tool for examining recent changes in public policy scholarship over the past several years. First, the Yearbook allows for a systematic way to identify the broader public policy community. The multidisciplinary nature of public policy research can make it challenging to identify the experts studying various policy problems, and the Yearbook provides a convenient and helpful instrument to do so.

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Law and Public Policy

Law and Public Policy

Anthony Michael Kreis, Robert K. Christensen

Law and public policy is a dynamic, interdisciplinary area of study that has broad appeal to scholars, policy-makers, and stakeholders. Scholarship in the subfield is critical to our general understanding of existing public policies and calls for future and reformed policies. While some of the subfield's utility and commonalities are obscured by diverging methodological approaches and topical foci, this review highlights some common fibers that run through the scholarship streams from public policy, public law, and doctrinal disciplines. We focus on several substantive policy areas to illustrate some of the best studies in the subfield and how scholars might better embrace the strength of the subfield's diversity by coordinating with scholars with similar topical interests. So doing, we attempt to articulate clearer boundaries that integrate discipline, method, and the distinction between law and public policy.

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Social Policy

Social Policy: What Have We Learned?

Tatyana Guzman, Maureen A. Pirog, and Kristin Seefeldt

In this review, we focus on current research on the major welfare program in the United States, food security programs, Social Security, Social Security Disability, Unemployment Insurance, child support, and tax provisions such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) that provide substantial financial support for low-income households and other potentially vulnerable populations such as the elderly and the unemployed. Since many of these are programs specifically targeted at poor and low-income individuals, we also describe how poverty is defined in the United States, update readers on the ongoing debate over poverty measurement, and provide some comparison to how it is measured outside the United States. Looking across the various social policies addressed in this review and the associated recent research, one clear theme emerges: the United States is very concerned about work disincentives potentially embedded within these programs.

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International Relations and Policy

Policy Perspectives on National Security and Foreign Policy Decision Making

Steven B. Redd, Alex Mintz

This article reviews major decision-making models with an emphasis on basic theoretical perspectives as well as on how these models explain foreign policy decision making and national and international security decisions. Furthermore, we examine how these models have been utilized in explanations of various international crises. Specifically, for each model, we present examples drawn from the literature on applications of the respective model to foreign policy and national security decisions. The theories we have reviewed are: rational choice, cybernetic model, prospect theory, poliheuristic theory, organizational and bureaucratic politics, groupthink and polythink, analogical reasoning, Applied Decision Analysis (ADA) and biases in decision making.

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2012 Articles


2012 Public Policy Yearbook: Evolving Scholarship in Public Policy

Hank C. Jenkins-Smith, Sarah Trousset, Christopher Weible

The Public Policy Yearbook is now in its fourth iteration and continues to serve a useful tool for examining recent changes in public policy scholarship over the past several years. The Yearbook itself has changed considerably over time: in addition to providing a detailed international listing of policy scholars with contact information, fields of specialization, research references1, and individual scholars' statements of current and future research interests, the September 2011 Yearbook made its debut online as a versatile web-tool.

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Comparative Public Policy

Comparative Public Policy: Using the Comparative Method to Advance Our Understanding of the Policy Process

Kuhika Gupta

Kuhika Gupta (2012) Discusses recent efforts among policy scholars to use the comparative method to analyze how and why policies differ across countries. Furthermore, scholars are utilizing comparative strategies to evaluate and improve leading policy process theories. Perhaps most importantly, comparative public policy scholars are investigating how the competing process theories differ across institutional configurations.

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Economic Policy

A New Normal? American Economic Policymaking After The Great Recession

Barry Pump

Barry Pump (2012) reviews recent scholarship on American economic policymaking, summarizing the literature on income inequality, the impact of economic conditions on electoral outcomes and institutional responses to economic developments. Pump also discusses pathways for economic policy research that may be of particular interest to policy process scholars.

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Environmental Policy

Integrative Frontiers in Environmental Policy Theory and Research

Mark Lubell and Meredith Niles

Mark Lubell and Meredith Niles (2012) review current scholarship in environmental policy, focusing specifically on environmental policy tools. Flexible market-based instruments, voluntary agreements and information provision tools are being utilized for resolving current environmental issues. Lubell and Niles also discuss how scholars are adopting multidisciplinary approaches to better explain environmental outcomes.

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Health Policy

Beyond Path Dependence:
Explaining Healthcare Reform and Its Consequences

Simon Haeder

A timely piece given the recent changes in health policy, Simon Haeder (2012) summarizes current developments in health policy scholarship. Health policy scholars have utilized several frameworks, including pivotal politics, path dependence and multiple streams, to explain the enactment of health reform. In his review, Haeder also discusses challenges for implementation regarding state-federal relations and cost containment.

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2011 Articles


2011 Public Policy Yearbook: Evolving Scholarship in Public Policy

Hank C. Jenkins-Smith and Sarah R. Trousset

The Public Policy Yearbook is now in its fourth iteration and continues to serve a useful tool for examining recent changes in public policy scholarship over the past several years. The Yearbook itself has changed considerably over time: in addition to providing a detailed international listing of policy scholars with contact information, fields of specialization, research references1, and individual scholars' statements of current and future research interests, the September 2011 Yearbook made its debut online as a versatile web-tool.

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Agenda Setting, Adoption and Implementation

Beyond Metaphors: New Research on Agendas
in the Policy Process

Barry Pump

Research on agenda setting seems to have arrived at a second stage in its development. In recent years, it has moved beyond both metaphors and popular units of analysis to study the mechanisms and dynamics of agenda setting in the public policy process. This essay synthesizes the last two years of research on agenda setting. It classifies the divergent work into three broad categories. The first focuses on information processing and punctuated equilibrium processes. The second addresses the attempts by scholars to move beyond subsystems as a unit of analysis. The third addresses the role of the bureaucracy in agenda setting, particularly during crises. The final section of the essay concludes by discussing future directions for research.

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Policy Analysis

Trends and Innovations in Public Policy Analysis

Deven Carlson

This essay identifies three notable advances that have influenced the field of public policy analysis in recent years: the move toward social experimentation, the use of meta-analysis and Monte Carlo simulation in benefit-cost analysis, and the rise of institutional actors that promote the practice and dissemination of high-quality policy analysis. In addition to describing each of these innovations, this essay discusses how each of these advances has affected the practice of public policy analysis.

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Policy History

A Contemporary Reading of Advice and Consent

Peter deLeon and B. Kathleen Gallagher

This essay revisits deLeon’s argument describing the development of the policy sciences. The authors propose two “new” phenomena that have affected the mission and shape of the policy sciences, one—the rise in importance of the non-profit sector—being exogenous in nature, the second—the adoption of the concept of governance—being endogenous. It ends with an illustration.

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Policy Process Theories

Theories of the Policy Process: State of the Research and Emerging Trends

Matthew C. Nowlin

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.

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Public Opinion

Lingering Debates and Innovative Advances:
The State of Public Opinion Research

Kevin J. Mullinix

The intersection of public policy and public opinion has fostered the development of an extensive body of scholarly literature. Much of the research strives to disentangle the relationship between policy and opinion. For this rich area of study to continue to flourish, it is imperative that innovations in public opinion are grasped and utilized. In this essay, I synthesize the most significant advances made to policy related public opinion research in the last few years. Although debates from previous decades persist, theoretical and methodological advances lead to an increased comprehension of the nuances and complexities of the relationship between public opinion and policy.

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Defense and Security

Whither Civil Defense and Homeland Security in the Study of Public Policy? A Look at Research on the Policy, the Public, and the Process

Joseph T. Ripberger

Though the policy science movement was born with the purpose of counseling the Department of Defense on a plethora of security matters, modern research within the field of public policy has tended to neglect issues of defense and security focusing instead on a wide variety of domestic problems. This nearly exclusive focus on domestic issues remained largely intact until September 11, 2001, when the threat of terrorism propelled defense and security back onto the disciplinary research agenda. Though exceptionally slow to adjust, policy scholars are gradually coming to terms with this new reality and are beginning to focus on security and defense in a way that informs policymakers and advances policy theory. This research note is meant to introduce interested readers to this trend by exploring broad themes and exemplar works within the field over the last few years.

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Education Policy

Accountability, Affordability, Access: A Review of the Recent Trends in Higher Education Policy Research

Thaddieus W. Conner and Thomas M. Rabovsky

The following research note surveys the most recent literature published in the past two years on higher education policy and politics in the United States. We identify three prominent themes in the literature including research on accountability, affordability, and issues concerning access and equity. We observe that there has been increased attention paid to theories of politics by those who study higher education, which has played a vital role in pushing the boundaries of education research to help begin answering many of the field’s most complex and multi-dimensional questions. This theoretical development has allowed education policy scholars to better understand why various policies are adopted, how they change over time, which groups benefit, and how institutions are affected by changes in the economic and political landscape.

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Governance

The Mosaic of Governance: Creating a Picture
with Definitions, Theories, and Debates

Robbie Waters Robichau

The popularity of governance can be seen across academic genres. In some ways, the tremendous amount of theorizing on the subject has created contentious areas of debate. However, the approach that I argue will move the discussion forward is a focus on areas of agreement, where studying governance as a form of statecraft is considered. In order to advance the governance conversation, this essay speculates on the intersections of future governance research areas and maintains that making governance studies meaningful involves more empirical testing and inductive explorations by scholars.

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