Living the Policy Process

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Policymaking in large bureaucracies is hardly a simple process. Even the most respected policymakers have to contend with obstacles that seemingly have little to do with the issue at hand--office politics, work structure, and shifting political environments. Yet learning to manage such complex environments is necessary for good policymaking. In Living the Policy Process, Philip Heymann outlines the complex thought processes of policymakers as they struggle to influence both foreign and domestic policy decisions from within the United States government bureaucracy.

Focusing on three critical situations to illuminate the politics of policy choice-the successful attempt to sell missiles to the Mujahideen in Afghanistan in the 1980s; the Iran-Contra scandal; and the FDA's attempt to regulate smoking as well as the efforts to do the same by an outside lobbyist-Heymann dissects the intuitive yet rigorous framework that highly skilled policymakers follow to influence government outcomes. Throughout, he offers detailed accounts of the policy process at work in the Reagan, first Bush, and Clinton administrations, from the cabinet level down to the middle tiers of the federal bureaucracy.

Heymann deftly describes the shifting real-world conditions that government officials face as they struggle to shape the policy agenda. Ultimately, Living the Policy Process offers a clear, incisive look at the complex considerations involved from all perspectives, with concrete examples, and enriches the understanding of the overall policy process for students, scholars, and practitioners.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Anyone wanting to understand how public policies are made and how 'policy entrepreneurs' and special interests affect that process should read this superb book."--Robert B. Reich, Professor of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley

"The cases throughout the book present excellent examples of how the players interact and how resources influence the policy process... Recommended."--Choice

"Living the Policy Process is an indispensable guide for anyone hoping to be effective in serving in elective, appointive, or career office in the public service. Its wide-ranging cases, analyzed by a brilliant scholar with deep experience in government, provides readers with a richer-than-ever grasp of the complex realities of real-world policymaking."--Joel L. Fleishman, Professor of Law and Public Policy, Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy, Duke University

"Heymann has made a major contribution to the policy and management literature with this new book. Using detailed, vivid case studies of domestic, military, and foreign policy making, the book fills a large gap in the understanding of how policy actually gets made."--Theodore R. Marmor, Professor Emeritus of Public Policy and Management & Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Yale University

"The casses throughout the book present excellent examples of how the players interact and how resources influence the policy process."--CHOICE

"From the inside out, what informed citizens need to know about policymaking--from someone who has done it and taught it well."--Graham Allison, Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, and Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195335385
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/2/2008
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip B. Heymann is the James Barr Ames Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. Throughout his long career in government, he has served in various capacities at the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of State. He is the author of numerous books, including The Politics of Public Managementand Terrorism, Freedom, and Security.

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Table of Contents

Preface: The Logic of Governmental Policy Choice
1. Introduction
Part I: Missiles for the Mujahideen
2. The Stinger Missile Case
3. Concerns and the Set of Beliefs that Connect Actions to Them
4. The Action Resumes in the Battle over the Stinger Missile
5. An Individual's Understanding of the Situation
6. Agendas and Windows of Opportunity
7. Influencing Others
Part II: Retaliation, Ransom, Revenues, Respect, and Rebellion
8. Respect and Loyalty
9. A Structure Held Together By Respect
Part III: Nicotine for Teens
10. Similarities and Differences
11. Recognizing and Creating a Dramatic Change in Setting for Policy Choice
12. Rival Coalitions of Influential Private Parties, and Congress as the Decision Maker
13. The Politics of Coalition Formation to Influence Legislation
14. The Dependence of Policy Outcomes on Processes of Choice
15. Weighing Intangibles, Questioning Assumptions
16. Effects of Process on Results
List of Suggested Readings

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