Public policy and political development: the case of the SSRC

by Peter DeLeon

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A massive amount of literature has been written on political development but rarely from the standpoint of comparative public policy. This essay reviews the Social Science Research Council's (SSRC) 8-volume Political Development series from the perspective of a Lasswellian model of the policy process and asks: what are the policy applications of the series? The conclusion is that the Political Development series presents a very distorted picture of political processes in the new nations, and, as such, is a poor model upon which to base policy actions. From a research standpoint, the essay suggests that the SSRC's assumption that public policy advice would be a product of a model of political development was naive. Future work in comparative policy analysis should avoid making the same assumption.

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