The Department of Government
The Department of Government

Public Policy

City Hall, New York City. Photo by Katie Rodriguez on Unsplash.

PUBLIC POLICY is the study and analysis of the patterns of actions or inactions taken by governments, including national governments, state and local governments, and various government entities (such as regulatory agencies). It is the study of the process of making and enforcing the laws and regulations that a system uses to govern itself. The field includes the study of policy processes, including decision-making, agenda-setting, and implementation. It also includes the study of policy evaluation, the examination of the impacts and the relative costs and benefits of policy initiatives taken by government. The analytical tools of policy studies can be applied to any entity, U.S. or foreign, responsible for making binding decisions on a collection of individuals. 

The Department of Government is the home of the Policy Agendas Project, a large-scale project to assess quantitatively public policy change in the United States since the Second World War, and is connected to the Comparative Policy Agendas Project, a collaboration of scholars in Europe and North America pursuing similar aims. It is also home to the Irma Rangel Public Policy Institute, a research unit focused on Texas policy with a particular interest in issues relevant to the state’s growing Latino/Hispanic population.


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  • Department of Government

    The University of Texas at Austin
    158 W 21st ST STOP A1800
    Batts Hall 2.116
    Austin, TX 78712-1704