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9780878407736: Beyond Machiavelli: Policy Analysis Comes of Age
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Policy analysis is a relatively young field, created in the 1960s as a way to introduce data and rationality into the decision-making process. In "Beyond Machiavelli", Beryl A. Radin compares policy analysis in the 1960s with its practice in the 1990s, analyzing the transformations the profession has undergone since its birth and offering a provocative conception of its practice today. All new professions go through a maturation process, but Radin points out that policy analysis is more susceptible to change because it is directly affected by shifting political values. The United States of the 1960s was characterized by a strong belief in progress, a trust in the public sector, and a reliance on experts. By the 1990s, Americans were less confident about the future, not as trustful of the government, and less willing to defer to so-called experts. Even so, the number and range of policy analysis jobs has grown markedly. Radin explores the significant changes that have taken place in the field, including attitudes toward politics, skills and methodologies required, views about information and data, and shifts in modes of decision making. She includes profiles of six very diverse policy analysis organizations to illustrate these changes. While some argue that the 1960s were the golden day of the profession when decision makers listened to experts, Radin argues that the earlier version of the field held to traditions of elitism and secrecy and that policy analysis in the 1990s, pluralistic and open, is a more democratic American profession.

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Review:

"The book is clear, logical, engaging, and straightforward.... If one had only a single book to read about the evolution of policy analysis, this would be a very wise pick. It will be a great boon to master of public administration and master of public policy students who want to get a quick and painless, but very strong grip on the field and its issues. Radin has done the field of policy analysis a great service." -- "Public Administration Review"

"Bold, interesting, and clearly written." -- "Journal of Policy Analysis & Management"

"A valuable contribution to the continuing discussion of what it means for scholars and their practitioner students to be engaged in public discourse." -- "Administrative Praxis & Theory"

"Constitutes an important contribution to the literature in the area and, while not overly technical or academic in its presentation, provides a well-written and carefully argued essay on a topic of much interest to both theorists and practitioners in the field." -- "Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis"

"Draws on a broad range of literature and exemplar cases to provide an insightful analysis of the field's evolution... rooted in pragmatism and experience, consciously focused on the im plications of important changes in the field for the practitioners who populate it as much as for those who study and teach it... provides a reflective tour that can both support debate about the field's intellectual direction and serve as a useful guide to those pursuing careers in it. -- American Political Science Review" -- "American Political Science Review"

"Of particular value to students and faculty in policy programs or those in political science programs who want to learn more about the field of policy analysis." -- "Journal of Politics"

Synopsis:
Comparing policy analysis in the 1960s, when it was created, with its practice in the 1990s, Beryl Radin analyzes the transformations the profession has undergone since its birth and offers a provocative conception of its practice. Radin explores the sinificant changes that have taken place in the field, including attitudes toward politics, skills and methodologies required, views about information and data, and shifts in modes of decision making. While some argue that the 1960s were the golden day of the profession when desicion makers listened to experts, Radin agrues that the earlier version of the field held to traditions of elitism and secrecy and that policy analysis in the 1990s, pluralistic and open, is a more democratic American profession.

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