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Public Policy: Definition, Example and Related Terms

What is Public Policy ?

Public policy is a set of rules that the government creates to guide actions and decisions in a particular area of society. Imagine you're playing a board game. Public policy is the rulebook that tells you how to play. Just like how there are different rules for different games, there are different policies for different areas like health, education, or business. In the business world, these policies can affect things like how companies are allowed to advertise their products, how much they need to pay their workers, or even how they protect the environment.


  • Scenario Description
    A toy company wants to advertise their products to children. Public policy, in this case, can set rules on how this can be done. For example, it might state that advertisements should not be misleading, should not encourage unhealthy behavior and should not exploit the inexperience or credulity of children. This is to ensure that the company acts in a way that is ethical and in the best interests of society.
    A company is deciding how much to pay its employees. Public policy can influence this decision through minimum wage laws. These laws set the lowest amount that a worker can be paid per hour. They are designed to protect workers from being paid too little for their work.
    A manufacturing company wants to dispose of its waste. Public policy can dictate how this is done. For instance, it may require the company to dispose of its waste in a way that does not harm the environment, or may encourage the company to recycle its waste. This is to ensure that the company’s actions do not harm the environment and public health.