Hello, welcome back, and nice to see you again. Politicians, but also the media, often speak about policy. Headlines like, European policy's failing, current policy is a mess, or there's a need for a new policy on clean air, raise questions about what public policy is and what it means. We can also ask what is the policy process? The focus of this model is to explain these concepts. European policy is like any public policy, it's a combination of goals formulated by policy makers and instruments to achieve these. An expression of a problem and what public officials may want to do about it. The policy process includes all actions over time that are related to a policy. Whether these actions address the official goal is not clear from the outsides. Officials may also follow organizational or personal goals. To explain how policy affects social outcomes, I've done a simple systems model. Let's have a look at this figure. The center box is the EU political system, based on inputs, for example, complaints or concerns of citizens, the EU produces outputs. These outputs can be licenses or restrictions on speed limits to reduce air pollution. Outputs, in their turn, affect the state of society, this is called an outcome. In a case of European air quality policy, an outcome is cleaner air in your neighborhood. Based on our drawing, we are able to define three important concepts you may already know. These concepts are often used in the policy literature. The first concept is goal achievement. It connects goals with outputs and outcomes. Goal achievement occurs when society has changed in the way indicated by the policy goals. In that case the policy is successful, for otherwise we have failure. We can also link goals to outputs when we want to assess the performance of governments. Efficiency is the second concept. It makes a connection between means and output. A more efficient policy uses fewer resources to achieve its goals, or is able to deliver more output with the same means. The last concept is effectiveness, linking means with outcomes. Effectiveness is the extent which policy is able to change the state of society. Only when a causal relationship exists between the means and outcomes can we speak an effective policy. Another concept that is often used in the literature is legitimacy, which is the popular acceptance and recognition by the public of authority. In this case, that of policymakers. To analyze how policy is made, which is reflected by the central box in our figure, various approaches have been proposed. The first one is the linear model. The linear model takes the policy process as a sequence of getting some issues on the political agenda, policy formulation, and policy implementation. It sees the policy process as a sequence of linked stages in which various actors play a role. This model is helpful as it is a conceptual tool to describe the policy process. A related model is the policy life cycle. The policy process here flows from preparation, to decision making, implementation, evaluation, and eventually policy feedback. Instead of sequence, the various stages become a cycle. The underlying idea is that by connecting these stages, policymakers can learn from past experience. However, this model contains a normative assumption, namely that policymakers care about past experience. Of course, it may help to improve policy but the assumption ignores the politics of policymaking. This makes the life cycle model less useful as an explanatory tool. To understand policymaking beyond these models, a broad range of other theories can be used, which offer different models. These include the following groups. The first group consists of structural explanations. The idea is that powerful socioeconomic forces drive the policy process. These forces, like aging of the population or the growth of the economy, are expected to determine outputs and outcomes. The second group are institutional explanations. The idea is that rules, as well as norms and common understandings, have an impact on decision-making. These explanations refer to properties at the group level. Within the policy literature, the idea of institutional explanations has been developed in various directions. Some can concentrate on the ideas and beliefs of policymakers. Policy is shared by groups of actors who share the same beliefs about policy and policy implementation. An example is the goodness of fit theory on European policy implementation. Others emphasize the cognitive limitation of actors and show how this affects the policy process. The third and last group are behavioral explanations. It includes for instance professionals' choice theory. That is, that the policy process is driven by behavior, particularly the strategic interactions between organizations, groups or individuals. Actors have preferences on what they want from a policy. This group focuses on explanations at the individual level. Individual behavior of decision makers may have unexpected consequences, at the level of policy. They may lead to non-decision making, ambiguous policy formulation, or failed policy implementation. An example of such an explanation can be found in the veto-player theory. For most of these explanations, the policy process is a sequence of different processes in which groups inside and outside government affect policy. Policy is shaped by preferences. Policy believes in frames or ideas. It's given form in a dynamic but a rather messy way. In this video, the policy concept and related notions and theories has been introduced. These concepts can be seen as one of the theoretical pillars this course stands on. The next video is about decision-making. Let's have a look at that.