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Eight Fold Path to Policy Enlightenment

I recently rediscovered A Practical Guide for Policy Analysis by Eugene Bardach.  The book was found among the many other books that had become displaced by Charlotte (4 year old that moves like an F5 tornado).

Thumbing through the book, I was reminded of the practical and structured way Bardach gives us to look at policy. The Eight-fold Path to policy enlightenment:

  1. Define the problem

  2. Assemble the evidence

  3. Construct the alternatives

  4. Select the criteria

  5. Project outcomes

  6. Confront the trade-offs

  7. Decide

  8. Tell the story

The Eight-fold Path can be applied to a variety of policy. In the appendix Bardach offers suggestions on application such as taxes, regulation, subsidies and grants, service provision, agency budget, private rights, structuring activity, and financing and contracting.

Personally speaking, I am currently working in affordable housing and low-income housing. We receive state and federal funding (multi-layered).

In my case,  Bardach’s framework is useful for:

  • Considering policy implementation changes for efficiencies-automation

  • Removal of application barriers from implementation and client perspectives

  • Effectiveness of enhanced housing-providing access to social services or other needed programs.

  • Constructing an argument for a service coordinator or family self-sufficiency program in all income based rental housing

The takeaway:

  • The Path offers a simple to follow system for policy analysis

  • Flexible can be combined used with a variety of qualitative or quantitative methods

  • Appeal to practitioners in a variety of areas (public, private, and non-profit)

I find Bardach’s Eight-fold Path understanding policy and policy implementation useful and practical. I am thinking it might require a more careful reading.

 

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