Public policy is important because policy choices and decisions made by those in power affect nearly every aspect of daily life, including education, healthcare and national security. Public policy decisions are made daily and cover all levels of government. Some public policy decisions are made at the level of local government, while others are made by county officials and policymakers at the national and international levels.
The policies set in place by officials at all level of government establish rules, regulations and procedures that guide the actions of citizens within their jurisdiction. Public policy decisions are primarily made to improve the health, safety and well-being of citizens, and may set standards for educational institutions, transportation operations and housing facilities. Some public policy is concerned with short-term issues, such as coordinating relief efforts following natural disasters or to alleviate economic concerns produced by a sudden downturn in the market.
Public policies are set in place primarily by elected officials, who are voted into office for a set period of time by citizens. Public policy affects short-term issues as well as complex and intractable issues that occur in multiple locations and are carried out across generations. Public policy sets some societal norms for behavior, and also strives to improve the quality of life for people.