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Research in Urban Policy: v. 6: Constraints, Choices and Public Policies
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Research in Urban Policy: v. 6: Constraints, Choices and Public Policies (Hardback)

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This series focuses on four interrelated processes: population and employment location; political leadership and policy outputs; bureaucratic processes; and citizen preferences. The four processes are joined by public decisions of local government. The focus of the series is thus interdisciplinary and policy-oriented. Adequate technical detail is included for specialists, but simple exposition is encouraged to maintain accessibility for more general readers. This volume evaluates the validity of four theories of public policy making. Two of these theories suggest that governmental decisions are the product of external constraints and are determined either by economic conditions or social needs. According to the other two theories, public policies are determined by political choices which reflect either the ideology of the ruling political party or the self-interests of politicians and bureaucrats. The book develops a framework for evaluating the validity of these theories and applies it to evidence drawn from analyses of local policy variation in the UK. Little of the evidence can be taken at face value because of theoretical and methodological flaws in the empirical studies.

Nevertheless, by subjecting the evidence to critical scrutiny it is possible to draw conclusions on both the empirical validity of the theories and their logical coherence. It is concluded that economic conditions are a more important constraint than service needs, and that the basis of a political choice is partly ideology rather than the narrow self-interest of policy makers. In addition, it is shown that methodological constraints and choices shape the apparent validity of theories, just as much as economic constraints and political choices influence the content of public policies.

History & PoliticsPolitics & governmentCentral governmentCentral government policiesPhilosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesSocial groupsUrban communitiesPhilosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesSociologySocial research & statisticsScience & MathematicsRegional & area planningUrban & municipal planning Publisher: Elsevier Science & Technology Publication Date: 01/08/1996 ISBN-13: 9781559388962  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
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