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Implementing Public Policy

Implementing Public Policy
An Introduction to the Study of Operational Governance

Third Edition
  • Michael Hill - Emeritus Professor at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
  • Peter Hupe - Visiting Professor at the Catholic University of Leuven

May 2014 | 248 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Building on the success of the previous two editions, this book provides students with an exemplary overview of the theory and practice of public policy implementation and how it relates to contemporary public management. In doing so, this new edition makes use of more illustrative examples, delves further into researching implementation and explores issues about the relationship between policy formulation and implementation in greater depth.

Written for an international audience, this is essential reading for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students studying or conducting research in public policy, social policy, public management, public administration and governance.


Structure of the book

Some matters of definition


Positioning Implementation Studies

Concerns about implementation: Historical origins

The rule of law

The idea of democracy and its implications

Public Administration and Public Management

Institutional theory

Postmodernist theory



Implementation Theory: The Top-Down/Bottom-Up Debate
The discovery of the ‘missing link’

The classical top-down authors

The bottom-up challenge


Implementation Theory
The search for a synthesis

Where does implementation begin

Layers in policy processes

Networks: Broadening the horizontal dimension

Managing performance: Redefining the vertical dimension

Differentiating policy types

Including responses of affected actors


Implementation and Governance

The age of interventionism

The age of the market and corporate government

The age of neo-interventionism




Implementation Theory and the Study of Governance

The stages model of the policy process

Alternative analytical frameworks

The Multiple Governance Framework

Studying implementation as governance research



Researching Implementation

Defining studies of implementation

Explaining what needs explanation

Isolating implementation

Dealing with layers

Specifying inter-organizational relationships

Differentiating agency responses

Identifying stakes

Recognizing macro-parameters

Quantitative versus qualitative studies


Implementation in Context

Implementation in practice

The quest for appropriate action

Policy settings

Institutional environments

Operational governance in context



The Future of Implementation Studies

The objective of studying implementation

The study of governance in operation

Promising developments



This updated edition consolidates its position as the leading text on implementation, and is fast approaching the status of a ’modern classic’. With its comprehensive coverage of the field by two leading scholars, it will be valuable to both students and specialists.

Professor Martin Powell
University of Birmingham

The Third Edition of Implementing Public Policy enhances what has become the gold standard for navigating the literature about policy design, implementation, and governance.  This edition serves as a clarion call for rethinking how policies serve as instruments for governing.

Peter J. May
Donald R. Matthews Distinguished Professor of American Politics, University of Washington

In this new edition, Michael Hill and Peter Hupe provide an essential handbook to students, teachers, and practitioners of the art of implementation. The authors' thoughtful and theoretically-informed perspective brings clarity and insight to the study and practice of implementation.

Professor Evelyn Brodkin
University of Chicago

Hill's Implementing Public Policy is essential reading for all students in public policy. It gives a clear overview about the subject and balanced view on theories and empirical applications. It is well suited for any undergraduate course on policy making, implementation and evaluation.

Dr Stephan Koeppe
Social Science , University College Dublin
August 1, 2016

of relevance to final year and postgraduate students in the discipline of social policy

Mr Joseph Finnerty
Social Science , University College Cork (NUI)
April 29, 2016

As supplementary reading for PhD students

Professor Lisheng Dong
Graduate School, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
January 27, 2016

Good source for students

Professor Pedro Correia
Public Administration, Univ. of Lisbon
June 27, 2014

Excellent up-date to second edition in terms of recent literature and wider debates about governance.

Book is suitable for PG and UG students

Professor Bruce Stafford
School of Sociology and Social Policy, Nottingham University
June 17, 2014
Key features

New to the Third Edition of Implementing Public Policy:

  • More use of illustrative examples
  • More exploration of the issues about researching implementation (in chapter 7)
  • More exploration of the issues about the relationship between policy formulation and implementation
  • More use of illustrative examples
  • More exploration of the issues about researching implementation (in chapter 7)
  • More exploration of the issues about the relationship between policy formulation and implementation

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ISBN: 9781446266847

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