What Is Policy Analysis?

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Much of politics revolves around the development and implementation of government policies, also known as "public policy." Unlike laws, which set the rules for how a country is governed, policies are the day to day decisions made by government officials on how to do their duty. Because policies affect a wide range of issues, from the well-being of a country's people to foreign relations, it is important for experts to analyze and offer advice on public policy.

1 What Policy Analysts Do

"Policy analysis" is the process of developing advice for policymakers, which is an important part of how governments make decisions. Public officials typically have many policy options and alternatives to choose from, so their final decisions are often based on expert analysis of those options. The process of policy analysis involves first identifying the goal of the policies, then assessing the implementation and results to determine whether they are effective. Policy recommendations are not an exact science, but by carefully analyzing whether past and present policies achieve their goals, experts can learn more about how to make them more effective in the future.

Evan Centanni specializes in world cultures and human geography. He grew up in Oregon, but has since lived in two other countries and traveled to many more. Centanni is editor of Political Geography Now at www.polgeonow.com. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies and linguistics from the University of Oregon.