The foundation of public policy is composed of national constitutional laws and regulations. Further substrates include both judicial interpretations and regulations which are generally authorized by legislation. Public policy is considered strong when it solves problems efficiently and effectively, serves justice, supports governmental institutions and policies, and encourages active citizenship.
Other scholars define public policy as a system of "courses of action, regulatory measures, laws, and funding priorities concerning a given topic promulgated by a governmental entity or its representatives." Public policy is commonly embodied in "constitutions, legislative acts, and judicial decisions."
In the United States, this concept refers not only to the result of policies, but more broadly to the decision-making and analysis of governmental decisions. As an academic discipline, public policy is studied by professors and students at public policy schools of major universities throughout the country. The U.S. professional association of public policy practitioners, researchers, scholars, and students is the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.
Public policy making can be characterized as a dynamic, complex, and interactive system through which public problems are identified and countered by creating new public policy or by reforming existing public policy.
Public problems can originate in endless ways and require different policy responses (such as regulations, subsidies, Import quota|quotas, and laws) on the local, national, or international level.
Public policy making is a continuous process that has many feedback loops. Verification and program evaluation are essential to the functioning of this system.
The public problems that influence public policy making can be of economic, social, or political nature.