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Chapter

Cover Comparative Politics

20. Policy-Making  

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.

Chapter

Cover Policy-Making in the European Union

3. The EU Policy Process in Comparative Perspective  

Alasdair R. Young and Christilla Roederer-Rynning

This chapter examines the European Union’s policy-making process with a comparative perspective. It outlines the stages of the policy-making process (agenda-setting, policy formation, decision-making, implementation, and policy feedback) and considers the prevailing approaches to analysing each of these stages. It also shows how these approaches apply to studying policy-making in the EU. Themes addressed in this chapter include policy-making and the policy cycle, the players in the policy process, executive politics, legislative politics, and judicial politics. The chapter argues that theories rooted in comparative politics and international relations can help elucidate the different phases of the EU’s policy process. It concludes by explaining why policy-making varies across issue areas within the EU.

Chapter

Cover Politics in the European Union

18. Policy Making and Policies in the European Union  

This chapter examines policies and the patterns of policy making in the European Union (EU). First it surveys the range of EU policy responsibilities, and identifies ways in which policy dynamics differ between them, the most striking difference in policy making relating to the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and its defence affiliate, the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). It then explores the different stages in the EU policy cycle: the passage of policy issues from agenda-setting stage through policy formulation and decision making to the implementation stage and feedback loops. In a final section, it identifies some important policy areas that are worth being aware of but where space precludes chapter-length treatment.

Chapter

Cover The European Union

5. Policy-making in the EU  

Daniel Kenealy

This chapter examines how EU policies are made. Most EU legislation is now adopted via a process in which the Council and the European Parliament have equal powers. The basic policy-making rules laid down in the treaties have been supplemented over the years by formal agreements and informal understandings between the main actors in the decision-making institutions. The chapter considers how policy is made formally, explaining the underlying principles, principal actors, and key stages of the policy process. It goes on to consider what happens in practice, exploring the EU’s institutional hierarchies and policy networks. It also evaluates the transparency and efficiency of the EU policy-making process.

Chapter

Cover European Union Politics

17. Trade and Development Policies  

Michael Smith

This chapter focuses on the external economic relations of the European Union—the longest-established area of collective European international policy-making and action—and specifically on trade and development policy. The chapter begins by examining institutions and policy-making for trade, in which the Commission plays a central role in initiating and conducting policy, and looks especially at the Common Commercial Policy (CCP). It goes on to examine development policy—an area of mixed competence, in which policy responsibility is shared between the EU institutions and national governments. The chapter then proceeds to explore the substance and impact of EU trade and development policies, and to assess the linkages between the two areas. The conclusions draw attention to a number of tensions and contradictions in EU trade and development policy, including those arising from the departure of the United Kingdom.

Chapter

Cover Politics in the European Union

13. The European Commission  

This chapter examines the European Commission’s functions and structure, along with its role in policy making. The Commission initiates legislation, may act as a mediator, manages some policy areas, is guardian of the Treaties, is a key actor in international relations, and the ‘conscience of the European Union’. The chapter proceeds by discussing the debate on the extent to which the Commission is an autonomous political actor or simply an agent of the member states. Finally, it analyses the increasing challenges faced by the Commission in securing effective implementation of EU policies and its response to concerns over its financial management of EU programmes.

Chapter

Cover Foreign Policy

7. Foreign policy decision making  

Rational, psychological, and neurological models

Janice Gross Stein

This chapter examines the use of rational, psychological, and neurological models in foreign policy decision making. It begins with a discussion of two commonsensical models of rationality in decision making. In the first model, rational decision making refers to the process that people should use to choose. The second, more demanding, models of rational choice expect far more from decision makers. Borrowing heavily from micro-economics, they expect decision makers to generate subjective probability estimates of the consequences of the options that they consider, to update these estimates as they consider new evidence, and to maximize their subjective expected utility. The chapter proceeds by exploring psychological models and the so-called cognitive revolution, the relevance of cognitive psychology to foreign policy analysis, and the ways that the study of the neuroscience of emotion and cognition can be extended to the analysis of foreign policy and to decision making.

Chapter

Cover Politics in the European Union

17. Organized Interests  

This chapter focuses on the so-called organized interests, whose interaction with the formal European Union (EU) institutions is a central component of the EU’s decision-making process. The term ‘interest group’ refers to a range of organizations outside of the formal institutions that seek to influence decision making. They provide a link between state actors and the rest of society, also known as ‘civil society’. The chapter first considers the general growth of interest group activity at the European level before discussing the types of group that try to influence EU policy making and the forms of representation open to interests. It then explores the strategies and tactics that interest groups use to try to influence the different institutions. Finally, it analyses the issue of regulating interest group access to the EU institutions.

Chapter

Cover The European Union

10. Current and Future Challenges  

Amelia Amelia, Daniel Kenealy, and Richard Corbett

As it moves into the third decade of the 21st century, the EU faces a number of new and unprecedented challenges–as well as some perennial ones. The chapter opens with a discussion of the challenges posed by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU (Brexit). It goes on to consider how the COVID-19 pandemic has catalysed a series of pre-existing internal and external policy challenges, as well as creating new ones. These in turn have raised questions about various aspects of the EU’s governance, from the size and scope of its budget to the quality of democracy across its member states; from the role of the Commission to decision-making rules in the Council. How well the EU responds to these many challenges will shape the future of the Union.

Chapter

Cover The European Union

8. The EU as a Global Actor  

Niklas Helwig

The EU’s ambitions to be a global power are a surprising by-product of European integration. Students of European foreign policy mostly focus on EU trade, aid, and the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). But the national foreign policy activities of its member states cannot be neglected. On most economic issues, the EU is able to speak with a single voice. It has more difficulty showing solidarity on aid policy but is powerful when it does. The Union’s external policy aspirations now extend to traditional foreign and security policy. But distinct national policies persist, and the EU suffers from fragmented leadership. The chapter begins by considering the development of EU foreign policy and then considers how a national system of foreign policies exists alongside EU policies in the area of trade and international development. It then examines the EU’s CFSP and Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).

Chapter

Cover British Politics

7. Interest Groups, Advocacy, and Policy-Making  

This chapter describes interest, pressure, or advocacy groups, which organize separately from political parties, seeking to influence public opinion and public policy. It discusses the nature of these groups and what they do, before reviewing the debate on the power of interest groups, in particular whether business has a privileged position. Studies of interest groups show the importance of these groups to the delivery of public policy, which reveals a two-way relationship between groups and the state. There is a complex pattern of governance that makes policy-making complicated and difficult terrain for governments or regional and local agencies. In today's turbulent politics, there is room for new advocacy groups to upset the equilibrium. The very unpredictability of the interest group world and the appearance of actors skilled in the use of social media may provide opportunities to influence the political agenda and to engage in more disruptive politics.

Chapter

Cover European Union Politics

16. Policy-making in the European Union  

Edward Best

This chapter provides an overview of how policy is made in the European Union (EU), focusing on the main procedures involved and the varying roles of the EU institutions. It begins by describing the range of powers that have been given to the EU by the member states in different policy areas, and the multiple modes of governance that are involved. The concept of the policy cycle is used as a framework to explain the stages in EU law-making. The ordinary legislative procedure is presented in some detail, and a case study illustrates the whole cycle from problem definition to implementation. The roles of the institutions in other kinds of policy process are then presented. Policy coordination is explained, with particular attention to economic governance and the European Semester. Finally, the chapter looks at external relations and the common foreign and security policy.

Chapter

Cover Global Political Economy

4. The Domestic Sources of Foreign Economic Policies  

Michael J. Hiscox

This chapter examines the domestic sources of foreign economic policies. Different people in every society typically have different views about what their government should do when it comes to setting the policies that regulate international trade, immigration, investment, and exchange rates. These competing demands must be reconciled in some way by the political institutions that govern policy making. To really understand the domestic origins of foreign economic policies, we need to perform two critical tasks: identify or map the policy preferences of different groups in the domestic economy; and specify how political institutions determine the way these preferences are aggregated or converted into actual government decisions. The first task requires some economic analysis, while the second requires some political analysis. These two analytical steps put together like this, combining both economic and political analysis in tandem, are generally referred to as the political economy approach to the study of policy outcomes. The chapter then considers the impact of domestic politics on bargaining over economic issues between governments at the international level.

Chapter

Cover Exploring Parliament

32. Conclusion: The Future of Parliamentary Politics  

David Judge, Cristina Leston-Bandeira, and Louise Thompson

This concluding chapter reflects on the future of parliamentary politics by identifying key puzzles implicit in previous discussions which raise fundamental questions about what Parliament is and why it exists. The goal is to determine the ‘predictable unknowns’ as starting points for exploring the future. Three principal puzzles that need ‘hard thinking’ in order to understand legislatures are considered: representation, collective decision-making, and their role in the political system. The chapter also examines the difficulties in reconciling ideas about popular sovereignty and direct public participation with notions of parliamentary sovereignty and indirect public participation in decision-making; the implications of the legislative task of disentangling UK law from EU law in the wake of Brexit for Parliament's recent strengthened scrutiny capacity; and how Parliament has integrated the core principles of representation, consent, and authorization into the legitimation of state policy-making processes and their outputs.

Chapter

Cover The Institutions of the European Union

3. The European Council:  

the Union’s supreme decision-maker

Luuk van Middelaar and Uwe Puetter

This chapter discusses the central role of the European Council in European Union (EU) politics and policymaking. Even though it was not listed among the EU’s core institutions until the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Council regularly intervenes in EU decision-making to make other institutional actors follow its guidance. Initially, it was meant to be predominantly an informal institution for direct exchanges between the heads of state or government of the member states. Yet it assumed responsibility for landmark decisions which paved the way for key steps in integration, such as EU enlargements and the euro. The European Council has arguably saved the Union from break-up by acting as its ultimate crisis manager and, at times, has skirted the boundaries of EU law by finding institutional compromises and fixes. The institution plays a guiding role, especially in relation to the Commission and the Council of the European Union, which was formerly known as the Council of Ministers. The European Council devises strategic guidelines for policy development, shapes processes of institutional reform, and breaks impasses when agreement cannot otherwise be found. Since the Treaty of Maastricht, European Council intervention has become a routine in new EU policy areas, such as euro area economic governance and foreign policy. The Treaty of Lisbon assigns the European Council its own full-time president and places the institution right after the European Parliament (EP) in the list of EU institutions. Even though it has shaped European integration since 1975, the European Council did not find much recognition in traditional theories of European integration. This has changed more recently, with renewed debate about intergovernmentalism in EU politics.

Book

Cover US Foreign Policy

Edited by Michael Cox and Doug Stokes

U.S. Foreign Policy provides a comprehensive overview of the United States’s role in international politics. Chapters focus in turn on the historical background, institutions, regional relations, and contemporary issues that are key to the superpower’s foreign policy making. The second edition includes two new chapters on Barack Obama’s use of smart power and a debate on the nature of U.S. hegemony. All chapters have been updated with important developments including the effects of the global financial crisis, the on-going conflict in Afghanistan, and political uprisings in the Middle East.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to Politics

13. Executives, Bureaucracies, Policy Studies, and Governance  

Peter Ferdinand

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.

Chapter

Cover US Foreign Policy

9. Domestic influences on foreign policy making  

Valentina Aronica and Inderjeet Parmar

This chapter examines domestic factors that influence American foreign policy, focusing on the variety of ways in which pressure groups and elites determine and shape what the United States does in the international arena. It first considers how US foreign policy has evolved over time before discussing the US Constitution in terms of foreign policy making and implementation. It then explores institutional influences on foreign policy making, including Congress and the executive branch, as well as the role of ‘orthodox’ and ‘unorthodox’ actors involved in the making of foreign policy and how power is distributed among them. It also analyzes the Trump administration’s foreign policy, taking into account the ‘Trump Doctrine’ and the US strikes on Syria.

Chapter

Cover Politics

14. Executives, Bureaucracies, Policy Studies, and Governance  

This chapter examines how executives, bureaucracies, and policy studies influence governance. It first provides an overview of the relations between the legislature and the executive, with emphasis on the competing claims of presidentialism versus parliamentarianism, before discussing the civil service and its traditional role in building up the effective power of the state. Using examples from economic policy-making, it argues that embedded autonomy is an appropriate way of characterizing the civil service's relationship with the rest of society. The chapter goes on to consider theories of bureaucratic policy-making, focusing in particular on policy innovation, public administration, and New Public Management, the more recent proliferation of agencies in government, and the concept of good governance. Issue networks, the notion of iron triangles, and policy communities are also explored. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the ‘network state’ and its implications for civil servants.

Book

Cover Policy-Making in the European Union

Edited by Helen Wallace, Mark A. Pollack, Christilla Roederer-Rynning, and Alasdair R. Young

Policy-Making in the European Union explores the link between the modes and mechanisms of EU policy-making and its implementation at the national level. From defining the processes, institutions and modes through which policy-making operates, the text moves on to situate individual policies within these modes, detail their content, and analyse how they are implemented, navigating policy in all its complexities. The first part of the text examines processes, institutions, and the theoretical and analytical underpinnings of policy-making, while the second part considers a wide range of policy areas, from economics to the environment, and security to the single market. Throughout the text, theoretical approaches sit side by side with the reality of key events in the EU, including enlargement, the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon, and the financial crisis and resulting Eurozone crisis, focusing on what determines how policies are made and implemented. This includes major developments such as the establishment of the European Stability Mechanism, the reform of the common agricultural policy, and new initiatives to promote EU energy security. In the final part, the chapters consider trends in EU policy-making and the challenges facing the EU.