Different Types of Public Policy

Public Policy

With increasing instances of corruption and misgovernance, it is necessary to help the government improve its strategies. At times, it becomes essential to motivate domestic productions through law, rules and regulations or otherwise. All such activities require one to have a good deal of knowledge regarding public policies.

What is Public Policy?

Public policy is a purposive guide to the course of actions taken by the administrative executives of the state as per the law and other institutional customs and issues. This movement is made to use more evidence to guide policy decisions.

According to the proponents of the evidence-based policies, policy decisions should be guided solely by high-quality and accurate scientific evidence rather than basing arguments on traditional beliefs, intuition or political ideologies.

What does the Term 'Policy' Signify?

The term 'policy' may refer to certain official policies of the government. It further suggests the guidelines or legislation that governs the way laws should be imposed and implemented so as to bring about a suitable structure of the state fit to live in.

A policy might also include in its ambit the broad goals and ideas that are present in political pamphlets and manifestos. These act as a guide to the law that needs to be followed in the right way.

Moreover, a policy might also refer to an organisation's internal policies formulated on a particular topic. For instance, if a company has the equal opportunity policy, it shows that all the staff are to be treated equally, irrespective of factors like gender, social and economic status, job roles, etc.

Features of Public Policy

The public policy stands on the significant foundations of constitutional laws of the nation and regulations. The legislative wing of a country generally authorises other policies like judicial interpretations.

It is the policy that governments cater to for the purpose of improving their economic and social systems. It is put forward to benefit the electorate through specific ways. Public policy is most commonly embedded in legislative acts, constitutions and judicial decisions.

Some scholars have also defined public policy as the system involves the courses of actions, law, regulatory measures and funding necessities, concerning a governmental entity.

Public policy is strengthened when it efficiently solves the various issues and problems prevalent in the state. It is designed to support and serve governmental organisations and nations, and policies. It encourages and active citizenship to all to develop the integrity and liberty of the country.

Public policy also emphasises the decisions that boost the political system outputs, including transport strategies, the administration and management of an institution. It is mainly concerned about evaluating the decision-making power of public bureaucracies and governments.

Types of Public Policy

Public policies are the collective actions taken by the government, and it includes law, rules, regulations, case studies, judgements, government programmes. Public policy can be categorised into three main types.


These policies render goods and services to the members of an institution or an organisation, and also distribute their costs among these members.

Distributive policies are concerned with certain segments of the society and benefits large groups. It is associated with the public welfare, transfer of goods and services, public education, health services, public safety, highways, and the like. In other words, distributive policies encompass all public welfare and assistance programmes.


The regulatory policies and practices involved with public policy strive to regulate and control multiple economic sectors of the state or the concerned institution.

Regulatory policies are formulated to keep a check on the tendencies of the institution to divert from the established plans and schemes as declared by the government. These policies are concerned with the regulation of business, trade, safety measures, public utilities and others. Independent institutions or organisations do it on behalf of the government.

Regulatory policies compel specific types of behaviour and limit the discretion of agencies or individuals. The limitation of the highway speed limit is an excellent example of the regulatory policies implemented by the government. These policies define and reward good behaviour and punish and condemn the bad ones through fines or sanctions.


Policies are dynamic and ever-changing. There is nothing called static laws. So one needs to create a blueprint and implement them appropriately. However, one also needs to be prepared for some unexpected results.

Social policies are subject to changes in either the initial stages of implementation or at the legislative or decision-making stages. These are associated with the rearrangement of policies that is concerned with bringing about specific changes in the economic and social status of the state or the institution.


Substantive policies focus on those sectors of the society or economy which are affected by various public policies like educational policies, agricultural policies, urban policies, health policies, defence policies and many more. These policies are not generally related to the particular segments of the society.


Under the capitalisation policies, the Union government provides financial subsidies to the local and the state governments.


Constituent policies deal with laws and create executive power entities. They also deal with fiscal policies under certain circumstances.

The Public Policy Process

Public policy involves an interactive and dynamic process and is never a one-time event. In most of the cases, public policy deals with the rules and directives associated. It comprises a sub-policy that include the exact details about the policy, together with the concerned implementation techniques.

Considering the procedures followed in India, for examples to pass a particular bill, lengthy and complicated steps are involved. The bill that has to be made into law has to go through two houses, namely Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. After going through a series of authoritative leaders or executives, the President asserts and approves the bill, and it becomes a law.

There are five main steps involved in the public policy process include the following:

- Identification of the Problem

- Formulation of Policy

- Adaption of Policy

- Implementation of Policy

- Evaluation of Policy

In a nutshell, formulating, implementing and following public policies helps to regulate and rectify the operations of governance. Every institution needs to have its own set of rules and regulationsPublic Policy, and laws to hold everything in place.


1016 Words


Feb 06, 2020


3 Pages

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