Home Administration & Policy Understanding Public Policy, 14th Edition, Thomas R. Dye

Understanding Public Policy, 14th Edition

Updated it its 14th edition, Understanding Public Policy focuses on the policy challenges confronting the Obama administration. This edition provides students with a close up look at the American healthcare system, current economic policies, issues of homeland security and defense policy among many other current event and issues shaping public policy today. The gold-standard for introductory public policy texts, Understanding Public Policy is designed to provide readers with concrete tools for both understanding and analyzing public policy.


“I would describe this textbook as a textbook that provides a lot of information in a succinct, easy to understand format. This textbook provides a sound link between theory and actual public policies thus providing a well-rounded text for an introduction to public policy course.” –Jessica Ice, Florida State University

“It has an excellent, well-balanced coverage of the key issues that challenge our government. I would add that I admire it has been kept current as civilization and governance evolve.”—Minzi Su , Tennessee State University

“The primary advantage of this book is the application of theories to different public policy areas. I find it an excellent opportunity to teach students about empirical approach in public policy: posing their own hypotheses and selecting theories that suit best their favorite public policy topics.” –Olga Smirnova, East Carolina University

The main strengths of the book include overall comprehension, cohesiveness, and use of theories. Each chapter managers to cover a wide array of related concepts, and is densely packed with information. Yet, this is done with articulate brevity. My favorite aspect of this textbook is the use of different theories which makes this textbook an excellent tool to teach students how to empirically test theories.” –Olga Smirnova, East Carolina University.

About the Author

Thomas R. Dye, Emeritus McKenzie Professor of Government at Florida State University, regularly taught large introductory classes in American politics. He received his B. A. and M. A. degrees from Pennsylvania State University and his Ph. D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of numerous books and articles on American government and public policy, including The Irony of Democracy; Politics in States and Communities; Understanding Public Policy; Who’s Running America?; American Politics in the Media Age; Power in Society; Politics, Economics, and the Public; and American Federalism: Competition Among Governments. His books have been translated into many languages, including Russian and Chinese, and published abroad. Dye has served as president of the Southern Political Science Association, president of the Policy Studies Organization, and secretary of the American Political Science Association. He has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Georgia, and served as a visiting scholar at Bar- Ilan University, Israel; the Brookings Institution in Washington, D. C.; and elsewhere. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, and Phi Kappa Phi and is listed in most major biographical directories.

I first studied public policy over 20 years ago and have purchased successive editions of Thomas Dye’s “Understanding Public Policy”. My current library has his fifth, eleventh and twelfth editions. I have had other editions – long discarded.

I was always impressed by both the comprehensivness and depth of his analysis of selected topics. Indeed I used at as a standard refernce book in formulating my views on a range of topics even though I am an Australian looking at an American academic text book. I regarded it as far superior to many local public policy books.

However, I recently obtained the fourteenth edition and found that it not only repeated a lot of old material about the policy models but that its actual treatment of topics lacked the depth of previous editions. It was simply an overview lacking much of the depth and opinion which has characterised his previous works. The chapter on the Environment was particularly disappointing and he seems to have backed off his legitimate critique of global warming and the “cost-benefit” analysis of particular courses of action. I am not suggesting that he should firmly adopt an opinion one way or the other but at least the earlier versions made one think about the topic and what students and the general reader should consider in any analysis of the subject matter, whereas the latter version is simply a summary of the topic which you could get from any number of other policy sources.

I thought this edition was not as good as its predecessors.

Product Details :

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Pearson; 14 edition (January 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0205238823
  • ISBN-13: 978-0205238828
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.3 x 0.6 inches

More Details about Understanding Public Policy, 14th Edition

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