What Is Policy Making?

Policymaking is the process of identifying a problem, and using observations about a problem to design and implement a policy with intent to fix the problem. In the United States, the policymaking process typically takes place in the two houses of the legislative branch, where laws are made.

The first step in the policymaking process, the identification of a problem to address with policy, is often influenced by outside sources. These factors include private interest groups, community organizations and the mass media. When a problem in society gains enough traction in the public eye, as well as with elected officials, the problem is placed on the agenda for consideration in the political arena.

The process of crafting a policy to address a given problem involves the policy being shaped by input from all sides. Policies are discussed and amended extensively, until they resemble something that at least a majority of the electorate can agree upon. Often this is an unrealistic outcome, which is why many proposed policies never make it to a final vote.

After a policy is voted into action in the political arena, it is implemented into society. The conclusion of the policy making process is the enactment of the policy, and additionally, an analysis of how effective the policy is as a remedy to the original problem.