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Christoph Knill and Jale Tosun

This chapter examines the process related to policy-making as well as potential determinants of policy choices. It begins with a discussion of conceptual models of policy-making, namely the institutional, rational, incremental, group, elite, and process models. It then considers the policy cycle, which models the policy process as a series of political activities, consisting of agenda setting, policy formulation, policy sadoption, implementation, and evaluation. It also analyses the role of institutions, frames, and policy styles in policy-making and concludes with an assessment of the most crucial domestic and international factors shaping the design of policies, focusing in particular on theories of policy diffusion, policy transfer, and cross-national policy convergence, along with international sources that affect domestic policy-making.


This chapter explores the relations between the executive and legislative branches of government, along with their role in formulating government policy. It first describes the general framework of legislature–executive relations before discussing the civil service and its embedded autonomy. It then examines theories of bureaucratic policy-making, with particular emphasis on the problem of facilitating policy innovation, as well as the more recent proliferation of government agencies and the concepts of governance and good governance. It also considers the spread of the domain of policy-making beyond state officials or civil servants to issue networks and policy communities and concludes by analysing the emergence of a ‘network state’ and its implications for civil servants.