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Unboxing the vague notion of policy goals: Comparison of Croatian public policies


This study aims at empirically improving public policy theory by unfolding the concept of policy goals and con- tributing to their classifications. The research focuses on the thematic dimension of policy goals and investigates 11 Croatian governmental strategies using qualitative content analysis. The research identifies original policy goal types and classifies them into sector-, process-, evaluation-, in- strument-, and value-oriented goals. Article concludes with a more comprehensive definition of policy goals, as gov- ernmental statements about desired futures in relation to specific sectoral purposes, values, and principles in demo- cratic political systems, policymaking process improve- ments, necessary instrumental innovations, and evaluation standards that should be fulfilled. The application of this definition and developed goals’ classification reveals that elements of policy-process theories, evaluation research, policy design theory and instrument analysis, democracy theory, and sector-specific research need to be synthesized to better understand the concept of policy goals and to ad- vance their research.


policy design, policy goals