What does it mean to do public policy ethics today? How should philosophers engage with ethical issues in policy-making when policy decisions are circumscribed by political and pragmatic concerns? How do ethical issues in public policy differ between areas such as foreign policy, criminal justice, or environmental policy?

The Routledge Handbook of Ethics and Public Policy addresses all these questions and more, and is the first handbook of its kind. It is comprised of 41 chapters written by leading international contributors, and is organised into four clear sections covering the following key topics:

  • Methodology: philosophical approaches to public policy, ethical expertise, knowledge, and public policy
  • Democracy and public policy: identity, integration and inclusion: voting, linguistic policy, discrimination, youth policy, religious toleration, and the family
  • Public goods: defence and foreign policy, development and climate change, surveillance and internal security, ethics of welfare, healthcare and fair trade, sovereignty and territorial boundaries, and the ethics of nudging
  • Public policy challenges: criminal justice, policing, taxation, poverty, disability, reparation, and ethics of death policies.

The Routledge Handbook of Ethics and Public Policy is essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy, politics, and social policy. It will be equally useful to those in related disciplines, such as economics and law, or professional fields, such as business administration or policy-making in general.

chapter |9 pages


part I|78 pages

Ethics for public policy

chapter 1|12 pages

Method in philosophy and public policy

Applied philosophy versus engaged philosophy

chapter 3|14 pages

Application or construction?

Two types of public policy ethics

chapter 4|11 pages

Public policy and normative methods

chapter 5|14 pages

Models, mechanisms, metrics

The entanglement of methods of policy inquiry with democratic possibilities

part II|138 pages

Public policy and the basics of government

chapter 7|11 pages

Security and police ethics

chapter 8|13 pages

More than privacy

Thinking ethically about public area surveillance

chapter 10|14 pages

Territoriality and personality

Concepts and normative considerations

chapter 12|10 pages

The ethics of education policies

chapter 13|12 pages

The ethics of tax policy

chapter 15|11 pages

Ethics and foreign policy

chapter 16|12 pages

Justice and trade policy

part III|166 pages

Public policy, inclusion, and solidarity

chapter 22|12 pages

Race, racism, and social policy

chapter 29|13 pages

Public engagement in health policy

Mapping aims and approaches

chapter 30|12 pages

The ethics of death policies

part IV|147 pages

Public policy, diversity, and sustainability

chapter 31|12 pages

The Ethics of family reunification

chapter 32|15 pages

Are civic integration tests justifiable?

A three-step test

chapter 35|13 pages

Freedom and destiny

How new technologies are influencing the ethics and policy of abortion

chapter 38|14 pages

Development and climate ethics

chapter 39|12 pages

The ethics of waste policy

chapter 41|14 pages

Ethics, neuroscience, and public policy

A case study of raising neuroscientists’ awareness of the problem of dual use