What Is a Policy Framework? An Attempt at Conceptualization
The term “policy framework” is frequently used. Surprisingly, however, there are no definitions for it; nor have there been any systematic attempts to conceptualize or clarify what a policy framework is. The fact that in spite of its ubiquitous use the term is not defined might signify that its meaning is considered self-evident. In reality, however, as we will show in this article, this is not the case – far from it. Even if it were, the place of the term “policy framework” in the public policy vocabulary and as a concept in the cognitive universe of public policy is too important to dispense with the task of defining it explicitly. The present article outlines a rationale for the conceptualization of the term and an approach towards achieving it. The main justification for attempting a definition of the concept is the need for cognitive hygiene. Methodologically, this research is inspired by the thinking of Sartori (1970) and scholarship surrounding his ideas on concept formation. Indeed, the paper does not aim to ‘reinvent the wheel’ in public policy, but strives to extract the meaning of “policy framework” from already existing definitions, implicit if not explicit, and, in this way, to systematize pre-existing scholarship by providing empirical references to current policy frameworks across thematic fields.
policy framework; conceptualization; policy studies
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