The fully revised and updated new edition of this textbook continues to provide the most accessible overview of the main approaches in the study of public policy. It seeks to review the most common and widely used frameworks in the study of policy analysis:

  • institutions
  • groups and networks
  • society and the economy
  • individual interests
  • ideas.

The book explains each one, offers constructive criticisms and explores their claims in the light of a variety of American, British and European examples.

Arguing that no one framework offers a comprehensive explanation of public policy; John suggests a synthesis based on different aspects of the approaches, introducing concepts/approaches of advocacy coalitions, punctuated equilibrium and evolution as more effective ways to understand public policy.

Combining both a clear summary of debates in public policy and a new and original approach to the subject, this book remains essential reading for students of public policy and policy analysis.

chapter 1|16 pages

The study of public policy

chapter 2|12 pages


chapter 3|28 pages


chapter 4|23 pages

Groups and networks

chapter 5|20 pages

Exogenous determinants

chapter 6|22 pages

Rational actors

chapter 7|32 pages


chapter 8|24 pages

A synthesis

chapter 9|6 pages