Conceptualising Policy Design in the Policy Process 

Saba and CaliSaba Siddiki and Cali Curley

The study of policy design has been of long-standing interest to policy scholars. Considering the renewed attention to researching policy design in the last decade, it is an opportune time to forge new pathways for developing this critical line of scholarship. In their recent article in Policy & Politics, authors Saba Siddiki and Cali Curley seek to take stock of the developments in policy design research, especially as they coincide with other developments in the study of the policy process.

Recent surveys of policy design scholarship acknowledge two main pathways along which it has developed; one in which the process of policy designing is emphasised and one in which the output of this policy designing process — e.g., policy content — is emphasised. In their article, the authors analyse this field of research, and explore how scholars guided by different orientations to studying policy design are addressing and measuring common policy design concepts and themes.

Through this analysis and observation, the article seeks to provide a common platform for considering how insights stemming from different orientations of policy design research can be integrated and mapped within the broader public policy process. The integrative approach used will help scholars to ask and answer questions that have long plagued the field that move beyond ‘why did policymakers make this choice’ and ‘what is the content of this policy’ and towards questions such as ‘what determines levels of discretion granted to implementing agencies’. It also points the way towards the development of a framework that embeds and links different conceptualisations of policy design within the policy process as a productive future research agenda for advancing knowledge in the field.

Providing some much needed clarity to the policy design literature, this article article offers a roadmap for beginners studying policy design as well as food for thought for more experienced scholars.

You can read the original research in Policy & Politics

Saba Siddiki and Cali Curley. (2022) Conceptualising policy design in the policy process Policy and Politics DOI:

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Conceptualising policy design in the policy process

The views and opinions expressed on this blog site are solely those of the original blog post authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Policy & Politics, the Policy Press and/or any/all contributors to this site.


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