Policy Analysis as Puzzle Solving

Christopher Winship

in The Oxford Handbook of Public Policy

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780199548453
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Political Science

Policy Analysis as Puzzle Solving

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This article attempts to describe another form of rationality that complements standard instrumental rationality. The article proposes an approach to policy analysis that would help in dealing with multiple and conflicting ends. It presents an analysis of the phenomena of puzzle solving, instead of developing an elaborate theory. The main focus of this analysis is the example of an individual or a group attempting to solve a jigsaw puzzle. An analysis of the specifics of putting together a jigsaw puzzle may help in understanding the problems that are involved in the form of policy analysis.

Keywords: standard instrumental rationality; policy analysis; puzzle solving; jigsaw puzzle; form of rationality

Article.  7032 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Public Policy ; Comparative Politics

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