chapter  1
17 Pages

Politics and Morality Policies: A Theory

Three approaches to the study of public policy flourish in political science-case studies, quantitative state politics studies, and quantitative historical studies. Although each occasionally cites works from the others, each field has developed in isolation to claim a separate niche as the study of public policy. Of the three, the case study approach is the most common (see Anderson, 1990; Skocpol and Finegold, 1982; Derthick and Quirk, 1985). Case studies use a variety of theoretical approaches, and some eschew theory simply to tell a substantive story. Within the case study approach, substance is king. To learn the detail of defense policy, agricultural policy, or environmental policy, reading the case studies is a necessity. Other approaches often shortchange substance in quest of other goals. The stress of substance does not mean case study approaches are devoid of theory; many, including the growing theory of the state literature (Skowronek, 1982), the more recent socioeconomic literature (Etzioni, 1988), and the policylearning literature (Sabatier, 1988), are driven by complex policy theories.