Teaching Public Policy: Linking Policy and Politics

Lawrence M. Mead

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Policy makers constantly struggle to reconcile policy and politics—to square what they want to do on the merits with what consent requires. Academic research and teaching on public policy, however, have typically separated policy argument from political analysis. Some authors recommend solutions to public problems, whereas others examine the politics of actual policies. I propose a combined conception of policy research and teaching that joins policy analysis and political analysis. This approach links elements of economics and political science to approximate the actual process of statecraft. I also describe how I built courses on public policy for undergraduates and graduate students using this conception and the implications for pedagogy. Unfortunately, academic trends are against such breadth. Research on policy is becoming more specialized and methodological, remote from actual government. Involvement in policy making, however, may draw some scholars toward research and teaching that combines policy and political perspectives.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)389-403
    Number of pages15
    JournalJournal of Public Affairs Education
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Sep 1 2013


    • economics
    • policy analysis
    • political analysis
    • political science

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Education
    • Public Administration


    Dive into the research topics of 'Teaching Public Policy: Linking Policy and Politics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this