For Better or for Worse: Policymaking
Policies are the broad outlines within which governments view and often act on a situation. They are implemented with specific laws, programs, regulations, and other actions. A policy can be as much what a government does not do as what it does. Some policies may simply be statements of principle that leaders have no intention of following. Deciding not to decide is a decision too. When a government refuses to do or say anything it is following a policy. As Hugh Heclo put it, a policy is “a course of action or inaction rather than a specific decision or action.”1 But, mostly, policies are concrete actions that a government takes toward a problem.
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