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Domestic policy are administrative decisions that are directly related to all issues and activity within a state's borders. It differs from foreign policy, which refers to the ways a government advances its interests in external politics. Domestic policy covers a wide range of areas, including business, education, energy, healthcare, law enforcement, money and taxes, natural resources, social welfare, and personal rights and freedoms.
The form of government of any particular state largely determines how its domestic policy is formed and implemented. Under authoritarian governments, a ruling group may pursue its domestic policy goals without the input or consent of the people being governed. But in parliamentary democratic societies, the will of citizens has a much greater influence.
In a democracy, the formal design of domestic policy is chiefly the responsibility of elected leaders, lawmaking bodies, and specialized government agencies. But a number of other factors also play a role in the process. Voters, for instance, determine which individuals and political parties have the power to determine policy. The mass media distribute, and opine, information about domestic issues and influence the beliefs and opinions of the people. Lobbyists, activist groups, and other organizations also work to influence policy through a variety of methods. Such methods may include monetary donations, promises of support, advertising campaigns, or demonstrations and protests.
The effectiveness of domestic policy depends on the government bureaucracy (system of agencies) that puts laws and programs into action. In some cases, bureaucracies act slowly or inefficiently, or fail to apply policies as they were originally intended. Domestic policy may also face challenges in the courts. In many countries, courts have the power of judicial review, which allows its judges to strike down any legislative or executive action that they find in violation of the polity's constitution.