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Introduction to Environmental Policy

Session 3

A Framework for Analyzing Public Policies:

A Practical Guide



EVR 2861 


This session will ask you to consider an analytical framework provided by Florience Morestin (2012) of the National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy (NCCHP) in Quebec, Canada. The framework for policy analysis utiilized by this organization focuses upon asking two basic questions in the face of each policy dilemna: (1) Did the policy work? (2) If so "how" did we make it work. The structure of Morestin's policy framework is graphically presented below.

As illustrated in the summary table above, there are six dimensions of public policy that are addressed in the NCCHP framework with a number of specific criteria that must be considered with each policy consideration. From these a series of questions are generated for each policy dimension as illustrated with the example questions below:

These questions applied across the six dimensions of the policy framework produce an overall model for answering the basic questions of "Does the policy work?" and "What makes it work? That model is illustrated below:

Thereafter the policy process demands the collection of data to determine the relationships between the various policy dimensions. Consequently policymakers collect the following types of data:

Among the data that is collected particular attention is given to reviewing current and past policies.

Once policies have been reviewed and the pertinent data has been considered they are synthesized to create an understanding of how policy effects are produced.

Here is an example of how this process might look in a policy analysis focusing upon the effectiveness of food labeling:

When approaching question 5, utilize this process framework model that is presented by Morestin (2012).


Cohen, Steven; Small, Courtney and Silva, Madeline (2012) "Keystone Pipeline XL Study," Columbia University Case Study.

Morestin, Florence (2012) A Framework for Analyzing Public Policies: Practical Guide. Quebec, CA: National Collaborating Center for Public Policy.

Walker, Genevieve (2014) United States Department of State Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone XL Project. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of State.

Video: Canada's Tar Sands; Keystone Pipeline Issues;


  1. What are the environmental issues associated with Canada's Tar Sands?
  2. This week's reading addresses four questions. Enumerate and breifly discuss each question.
  3. In carrying out an analysis of public policies describe the various "scenarios" the authors suggests must be addressed at the outset.
  4. What do critics say about the Keystone Pipline and who are these critics?
  5. The framework used for this week's class focuses upon a public health issue perspective but the model equally pertains to environmental health and environmental policy issues also. Briefly in a narrative form (not using the graphic provided in the case study) describe the "Dimensions for analyzing public policies" as it pertains to the Rosemont Copper Mine Controversy.
  6. Thereafter to the best of your ability apply this approach to the Cohen et al. (20012) environmental case study involving the U.S. Department of State's Keystone Pipeline analysis. Based upon the Morestin reading explain how the following flow-diagram functions.