Does Policy Learning Meet the Standards of an Analytical Framework of the Policy Process?

Abstract: Reference to policy learning is commonplace in the public policy literature but the question of whether it qualifies as an analytical framework applicable to the policy process has yet to be systematically addressed. We therefore appraise learning as analytical framework in relation to four standards: assumptions and micro-foundations, conceptual apparatus, observable implications, normative applications. We find that policy learning meets the four standards, although its theoretical leverage varies across them. Since we are not aware of theories of the policy process that meet all of these standards all the time, we conclude that policy learning fares reasonably well and it’s worth investing intellectual resources in this field.


License CC BY
Type Journal Articles
C-ID POLS 150 - Intro
Pedagogical Note Not Yet