Learn more about Policy
A policy is a plan of action to guide decisions and actions. The term may apply to government, private sector organizations and groups, and individuals. The policy process includes the identification of different alternatives, such as programs or spending priorities, and choosing among them on the basis of the impact they will have. Policies in short can be understood as political, management, financial, and administrative mechanisms arranged to reach explicit goals.
In politology the policy cycle is the "life" of how a policy is created and ended. It includes the following stages:
- Agenda setting
- Policy formation
- Policy implementation
- Policy evaluation (continue or terminate)
 Policy typology
Policy affects the ‘real’ world. Government, business, professional and voluntary organisations all have policies, which affect groups of people and individuals.
Different types of policies include:
 Distributive policies
Distributive policies extend goods and services to all citizens, and the costs of the policies are shared by all. Examples include: government spending for public education, highways, and public safety.
 Regulatory policies
Regulatory policies limit discretion of individual business owners and corporations. Businesses who disregard these policies may be fined, or may be threatened with sanctions.
 Constituent policies
Constituent policies create executive power entities, or deal with laws.
 Miscellaneous policies
Policies are dynamic; they are not just static lists of goals or laws. Policy blueprints have to be implemented, often with unexpected results. Social policies are what happens ‘on the ground’ when they are implemented, as well as what happens at the decision making or legislative stage.
Different forms of policies include:
- Official government policy (legislation, guidelines that govern how laws should be put into operation)
- Broad ideas and goals in political manifestos and pamphlets
- A company or organization’s policy on something eg. The equal opportunity policy of a company shows that the company aims to treat all its staff equally.
There is often a gulf between the concepts and goals that inspire policy and ‘real’ policy, the ugly result of compromise. Implementing policies may have unexpected results.
Think tanks are non-governmental organizations that attempt to develop and influence policy.
Types of policy include:
- causal (resp. non-causal)
- deterministic (resp. stochastic, randomized and sometimes non-deterministic)
- memoryless (e.g. non-stationary)
- opportunistic (resp. non-opportunistic)
- stationary (resp. non-stationary)
These qualifiers can be combined, so for example you could have a stationary-memoryless-index policy.
In enterprise architecture for systems design, policy appliances are technical control and logging mechanisms to enforce or reconcile policy (systems use) rules and to ensure accountability in information systems.
 Specific cases
In artificial intelligence planning and reinforcement learning, a policy prescribes a non-empty deliberation (sequence of actions) given a non-empty sequence of states.
- Blakemore, Ken (1998) Social Policy: an Introduction
- Müller, Pierre, Surel Yves, (1998) L'analyse des politiques publiques. Paris.
- Theodore J. Lowi (1964), American Business, Public Policy, Case-Studies, and Political Theory, World Politics 16: 687-713.
- Theodore J. Lowi (1968), Four Systems of Policy, Politics, and Choice, Public Administration Review 33: 298-310.
- Theodore J. Lowi (1985), The State in Politics, in Roger Noll (a cura di), Regulatory Policy and the social Sciences, Berkeley, UCP, pp. 67-110
- Robert Spitzer, Promoting Policy Theory: Revising the Arenas of Power, Policy Studies Journal 15 (June 1987): 675-689.
- Aynsley Kellow, Promoting Elegance in Policy Theory: Simplifying Lowi’s Arenas of Power, Policy Studies Journal 16 (Summer 1988): 713-724.
- Douglas D. Heckathorn; Steven M. Maser (1990), The Contractual Architecture of Public Policy: A Critical Reconstruction of Lowi's Typology, The Journal of Politics, Vol. 52, No. 4. , pp. 1101-1123.
- Smith K. B. (2002), Typologies, Taxonomies, and the Benefits of Policy Classification , Policy Studies Journal, vol. 30, pp. 379-395-
- George D. Greenberg et al, Developing Public Policy Theory: Perspectives from Empirical Research, American Political Science Review 71 (December 1977): 1532-1543.
- Thomas R. Dye (1976) Policy Analysis University of Alabama Press.da:Policy