Public policy is concerned with the outcomes of the political process: if the core purpose of government is to manage and address the needs of society, then the approaches that it adopts and the actions it takes (or avoids) collectively constitute its policies. Policies are the product of the political interactions we have reviewed throughout the preceding chapters: policy is shaped by ideology, institutions, political culture, participation by citizens, and the infl uence of the media, political parties, and interest groups. This chapter looks in more detail at how policy is formed and implemented, the actors involved in the process, and the infl uences on that process. In order to provide more focus, it uses the cases of education, health care, and environmental policy to illustrate the possibilities and limitations of policy.
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