Crafting Policy: The Tools of Government – 25 April 2024


Governments have many and varied tools at their disposal. So how do policymakers make sense of all these possibilities and think about the best tools, or combination of tools, to use for any specific policy? How effective will they be? How acceptable? How feasible?

One approach is to understand that there are four overarching tools that government can use. These are: Nodality (governments’ power over information); Authority (power to make rules); Treasure (power over money, taxation and spending); and finally Organisation (power to establish groups to do things). Some approaches to policy can rely heavily on Authority and less on Treasure or organisation. Others tend towards Organisation and Treasure as their main tools. Recent developments like ‘nudge’, for example, show a shift in thinking about how combining Authority (using decision-shaping) and Information (persuasion) can produce lower-cost policy solutions.



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