Public Policy: Continuity and Change by Carter A. Wilson
500 pages, $63.95 list
eBook availability
Public Policy
Continuity and Change
Third Edition
Public policy issues directly and indirectly affect many everyday aspects of the lives of all Americans. Yet, most of us don’t fully understand how policy evolves. Why do public policies exist? What different types of policies are there and how controversial have they become over time? How can we better understand the continuity and change in public policies? Expanding upon the first and second editions, the author uses theoretical and historical approaches to answer these questions and highlight changes that have occurred with public policies over the past decade. He explains the complex relationship of political and social theories that explain the modifications and restructuring of public policies that exist today.

Through his engaging writing style, Wilson examines a variety of controversial issues and legal cases to deconstruct each aspect of public policy. His explanations provide detailed information in clear, comfortable language that encourages the reader to better understand and appreciate policies and theories. A list of referenced websites after each chapter allows for exploration outside of the text for up-to-date information on the ever-changing world of public policy.
“Carter Wilson has written a superb introduction to American public policy. It is unique in its sound theoretical base and coverage of the historical development of major public policies in the United States. Of the many books I have used in the introductory policy course over the years, Carter’s is the book that has generated the most favorable comments from students—and by an overwhelming margin.” —Bryan D. Jones, University of Texas at Austin
Table of Contents
Explaining Continuity and Change in Public Policy / Using Policy Theory to Explain Policy Change / Policy Types / Organization of the Text


1. The Meaning of Public Policy
Why Government and Public Policies Are Essential / Definition of Public Policy / Different Public Policy Typologies / Government, Public Policy, and the Market / Ideology and Public Policy / Explaining Ambivalence toward Government and Public Policies

2. Policy Theory
State-Centered and Decision Theory / Elitist and Pluralist Theory / Cyclical Theories / Eclectic Theories

3. Policy History
Punctuated Equilibrium and Cyclical Changes / The Progressive Era: 1900–1920 / The 1920s: Conservative Contraction / The 1930s: The Great Depression and the New Deal / The 1950s: Conservative Contraction / The 1960s and 1970s: Liberal Policy Expansion / The Late 1970s and 1980s: A Renewed Conservative Contraction / The 1990s: Bush and Clinton / George W. Bush: War on Terrorism / The Obama Administration / The Trump Administration

4. National Institutions of Policy Making
The US Constitution / Constitutional Changes / The Organization of the Federal Government and the Process of National Policy Making / Patterns of Policy Making


5. Social Welfare Policy
The Preindustrial and Industrial Policy Regimes / Welfare Institutions of the Industrial Era / Social Policy and Dominant Ideas / The Progressive Movement / The New Deal Regime / The Social Welfare Policy Regime / Social Programs since the 1980s

6. Health Care Policy
The "Solo Doctor" Policy Regime / The Medicare/Medicaid Policy Regime / Insurance and Health Maintenance Organizations / Health Care Crisis: Pre-Affordable Care Act / Health Care Policy Initiatives of the Late Twentieth Century / The Passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act / Affordable Care Act Features / The Debate / ACA Implementation and Challenges

7. Civil Rights Policy
The Struggle of Minorities against Prejudice and Injustice / Civil Rights since the 1960s / Women and Civil Rights / Civil Rights and Disabling Conditions / Civil Rights and Sexual Orientation


8. Environmental Protection Policy
The Industrial Policy Regime / Conservation Policy Regime / Environmental Policy Regime Change / Disasters, Crises, and the Future of Environmental/Energy Policies

9. Labor Policy
The Classical Labor Policy Regime, 1789–1910 / The Progressive Labor Policy Regime, 1910–1938 / The New Deal Labor Policy Regime, 1938–1970 / From the New Deal to the Protective Labor Policy Regime / The Decline of Labor Unions

10. Competitive Regulatory Policy
Markets and the Development of Government Regulation / Railroad Regulations and the Interstate Commerce Commission / Regulatory Policy and the Communications Industry / Antitrust and Antimonopoly Policy


11. Fertility Control Policy
A Brief History of Fertility Control / Policy Change and Regime Change / The Supreme Court and Policy Change / Violence and the Abortion Issue / The Impact of Abortion Policy / Fertility Control in World Perspective

12. Criminal Justice Policy
The Colonial Criminal Justice Regime, 1610–1790 / The Preindustrial Criminal Justice Regime, 1791–1870 / The Industrial Criminal Justice Regime, 1870–1960 / The Rights Criminal Justice Regime, 1960–1994 / The Incarceration Criminal Justice Regime, 1994–Present


13. Education Policy
The Preindustrial Educational Policy Regime, 1700–1900 / The Industrial Educational Policy Regime, 1900–1970 / The Rights Educational Policy Regime, 1970–2000 / The Choice Educational Policy Regime, 2000 to the Present

14. Economic Policy
Classical Economic Period, 1789–1932 / Economic Policy Regimes of the Classical Period / The Keynesian Economic Policy Regime, 1932–1980 / The Post-Keynesian Economic Policy Regime, 1980–Present

15. Continuity and Change in Public Policy
Policy Types / Theories of Policy Change / The Future of Public Policies