How do we incorporate analytical thinking into public policy decisions? Stuart Shapiro confronts this issue in Analysis and Public Policy by looking at various types of analysis, and discussing how they are used in regulatory policy-making in the US. By looking at the successes and failures of incorporating cost-benefit analysis, risk assessment, and environmental impact assessment, he draws broader lessons on its use, focusing on the interactions between analysis and political factors, legal structures and bureaucratic organizations as possible areas for reform.
Utilizing empirical and qualitative research, Shapiro analyzes four different forms of analysis: cost-benefit analysis, risk assessment, environmental impact assessment, and impact analysis. After interviewing nearly fifty individuals who have served in high levels of government, and who have made countless regulatory policy decisions in their careers, Shapiro argues that advocates must become less ambitious and should craft requirements for simpler and clearer analysis. Such analysis, particularly if informed by public participation, can do a great deal to improve government decisions.
As this book details the relationship between analysis and institutional factors such as politics, bureaucracy, and law, it is appropriate for a variety of readers, such as scholars of policy, students, scholars of regulation, and congressional and state legislative staff looking to create new analytical requirements.