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Public Policy

Public Policy
A Concise Introduction

Second Edition

January 2022 | 384 pages | CQ Press
Public Policy: A Concise Introduction, Second Edition by Sara R. Rinfret, Denise Scheberle and Michelle C. Pautz, is a student-friendly textbook that connects responsible citizens to the world through a contemporary examination of the fundamentals of American public policy. The authors help both majors and non-majors foster their analytical skills early and then spend the rest of the semester discussing the policy issues, data, and events that matter most to them.

The Second Edition has been updated to include how we can collectively use public policy to raise individuals from the margins and address inequities that exist in our system. Recent policy questions include: "How do we shape our country's health care system?", "How do we address increases in costs of tuition?", and "Did the COVID-19 pandemic positively or negatively shape our public education system?"

CHAPTER 1 The Foundation
CHAPTER 2 The Policy Process and Policy Theories
CHAPTER 3 Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations
CHAPTER 4 Rulemaking and Regulations
CHAPTER 5 Economic Policy and Government Budgeting
CHAPTER 6 Crime and Public Policy
CHAPTER 7 Education Policy
CHAPTER 8 Civil Rights and Immigration Policy
CHAPTER 9 Social Welfare and Health Care Policy
CHAPTER 10 Environmental and Energy Policy


Instructor Resource Site

Online resources included with this text

The online resources for your text are available via the password-protected Instructor Resource Site, which offers access to all text-specific resources, including a test bank and editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides.
Student Resource Site
The open-access Student Study Site makes it easy for students to maximize their study time, anywhere, anytime. It offers flashcards that strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts, as well as learning objectives that reinforce the most important material.
For additional information, custom options, or to request a personalized walkthrough of these resources, please contact your sales representative

Not only is this a solid academic text, but it resonates mightily with my students because our enrollment is predominantly female. When seeing themselves through these authors, my students feel empowered. For this and other reasons, this book fills an important void in academic scholarship.

Hunter Bacot
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

The design and resources available will make it easier to teach policy process to majors and non-majors.

Dr Bianca Easterly
Political Science Dept, Lamar University
March 14, 2022
Key features
  • Public policies – like education, energy, the environment, social welfare, health care, civil rights, and immigration – are spotlighted throughout the text. The Rinfret text is the only book in the market this focused on tackling issues that affect the common good.
  •  The text condenses early chapters on theory and the policy-making process, allowing students to take up key policy challenges much earlier in the semester. 
  • Chapter-opening vignettes connect readers to broader concepts by considering current examples of public policy in action, such as "How do we shape our country's health care system?", "How do we address increases in costs of tuition?", and "Did the COVID-19 pandemic positively or negatively shape our public education system?"
  • Learning Objectives preview the key points students will learn in each chapter.
  • Telling Stories with Data boxes invite students to evaluate data in order to decipher their impact on a particular policy issue or dilemma.
  • Policy Choices sections challenge students to think about the policy alternatives available— beyond the simplistic for-or-against approach so often conveyed in the media and public dialogue—encouraging them to think about potential remedies to important policy questions and the consequences of those choices.
  • Everyday Citizen Connection features link theory to practice in an effort to illustrate how people are affected by public policy and show students how they can engage in policy issues that matter to them.


  • New examples include more nuanced information about guns on college and school campuses, the Black Lives Matter movement, juvenile incarceration, the Biden Administration's position supporting the Affordable Care Act, and more.
  • This edition includes a greater focus on how we can collectively recognize our own biases, what equality and equity mean in the policy process, and our role in shaping it.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has been woven throughout the text. Examples include discussion of mask mandates in the history of federalism section, how the pandemic has changed regulatory processes in the United States, and the impact of COVID on the public education system.


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