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This dissertation uses a case study of youth service proposals to examine how policy is formulated. For this study, youth service refers to federal programs that provide America's youth with opportunities to participate in domestic, non-military, full- or part-time community service activities. A theory is proposed that synthesizes two complementary approaches to the study of policy - process analysis (Kingdon 1984, 1994) and the analysis of policy content (Schneider and Ingram 1990, 1993) --and advocates analyzing policy over time. Four theoretical categories of data -- actors, ideas, opportunities, and strategies -- guide the study.

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