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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $54.84
  • December 2011
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-91272-2
  • 416 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

Policy Paradox

The Art of Political Decision Making

Third Edition


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Deborah Stone (Author, Dartmouth College)


The most accessible policy text available.

Policy making is a political struggle over values and ideas. By exposing the paradoxes that underlie even seemingly straightforward policy decisions, Policy Paradox shows students that politics cannot be cleansed from the process in favor of “rationality.” Author Deborah Stone has fully revised and updated this popular text, which now includes many paradoxes that have arisen since September 11. Examples throughout the book have been updated, and the prose has been streamlined to make a great read even better.


A new chapter on security

How do societies protect their citizens from harm? This new chapter tackles the paradoxes that arise as societies confront all sorts of potential harms, from terrorism to natural disasters.

Engagingly written, fully updated, and streamlined

Deborah Stone has a flair for storytelling and a great sense of humor—and as a result, this book will engage students as few other textbooks can. In the new edition, Stone has streamlined the presentation, cutting 10–15 percent of the prose, and updated the examples to include more political stories that will be familiar to today’s students.

An alternative to rational choice analysis

Policy Paradox offers a needed alternative (or complement) to economics-based or rational choice books that treat policy making and policy analysis as distinct from one another—the former as a messy political process, the latter as a clinical, “rational” exercise.


    Part I: Politics

    Chapter 1: The Market and the Polis

    Part II: Goals

    Chapter 2: Equity
    Chapter 3: Efficiency
    Chapter 4: Welfare
    Chapter 5: Security
    Chapter 6: Liberty

    Part III: Problems

    Chapter 7: Symbols
    Chapter 8: Numbers
    Chapter 9: Causes
    Chapter 10: Interests
    Chapter 11: Decisions

    Part IV: Solutions

    Chapter 12: Incentives
    Chapter 13: Rules
    Chapter 14: Persuasion
    Chapter 15: Rights
    Chapter 16: Powers