Lecture Notes: 8/23
● Okay, so what is Public Policy and Management? Well, it’s how we solve public issues. When a problem arises, governments create law/mandates/grants (policy) then state and local governments go about implementing these said laws/mandates (Management). So, at its basic structure, it’s a twofold process of setting goals and priorities then coordinating ways of fulfilling those goals
● Well, what exactly is government? Governments aren’t just one organizations. In the U.S. alone we have a federal government, 50 state governments,1000+ local governments as well as countless community governments (school boards, Businesses, Etc.) All in all, there are approximately 89000 governments in the U.S. with 4300 in California
● But Public Policy isn’t just the governments job. Society has to chip in too. Sure the government can supply money but more steps need to be taken to solve a problem. Take homelessness for example. Besides money, society and communities also have to examine social, psychological, cultural, and networking issues as well.
● So the government doesn’t work alone. It can rely on business and nonprofit organizations. For example, there are two basic types of cities. First is food-service cities: cities that can provide its own water, power, food, trash service, etc., to its residents. It’s self-sufficient (Los Angeles, Long Beach, Glendale). Then there’s contract cities: small-medium cities that don’t/can’t provide direct services. So what do they do? They manage contracts with other companies/entities/cities to thrive.
● To wrap things up, public policy focuses on getting people to work together. Governments need to utilize “self interest rightly understood”, the idea that humans are inherently self interested and mostly work to improve their own lives. Therefore, governments need to find a way to balance people helping themselves and helping the community.
Don't forget about the age old question of michael burg ucsd
● Independent Reading: Chapter 1 & 2 of ‘Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies Do and Why They Do It’ by James Wilson
Lecture Notes 8/25: Critical Tasks and Rules
● What is a critical task? Think of it like this. First you have a goal (it can be for an individual, organization, society, etc.) then the critical tasks are the exact method of completing this goal, which is unique to each circumstance. Example, A wealthy community police station and an urban police station want to create law and order but they approach the situation in different ways according to their environment and circumstances.
● When looking to tackle an issue or situation follow these three steps; Define the critical tasks-create a sense of mission for those involved-Have a certain degree of autonomy and independence for each person/branch/limit.
● From an economic standpoint, you have three factors of production: land, labor, and capital. But with public policy you need rules to actually implement these components. ● When establishing rules, take a look at these factors and the role they play with creating unique standards
○ Individual preferences and abilities
○ Patterns of interaction
○ Both informal and formal rules, environment (literal, technical, cultural.), Cultural or social contexts
○ Constraints, incentives, and opportunities
● Basic rule making principles
○ Don’t make rules that are highly unreasonable. Tailer rules according to the people you are trying to affect. We also discuss several other topics like hoi agathoi
Don't forget about the age old question of psl 250 msu
○ Make the rules precise with clear instructions. Avoid vagueness where people can be confused.
○ Create a sense of mission so that informal rules begin to develop informal rules ○ With #3 will come widespread expectations, find a way to make everyone identify with the rules.
○ Create enforcements that are consistent and reasonable so that everything stays stable without the need of punishment
Lecture Notes: 8/30
● Review of last night’s reading:Chapter 1 of American Public Policy: Promise and Performance by B. Guy Peters & “Million dollar murray: Why problems like homelessness are easier to solve than to manage “ The New Yorker
○ When you think about public policy, the actual delivery of achieving goals means you have to involve the business, social, and nonprofit sector.
○ There are three different levels to public policy.
■ Policy Choices: Setting goals. The government discusses what laws and regulations to create
■ Policy Outputs: This is basically like critical tasks. These are the exact and unique steps that need to be taken in order to complete a task
■ Policy Impacts. This is the effects the above levels how on the people's lives
○ Distinction of normal curve and the power law curve
■ Normal: how much money you spend on each individual by how much people receive the money. Bell curve. Some people receive more or less but the majority of the population receive a medium amountDon't forget about the age old question of mohammad islam uic
We also discuss several other topics like usao mass
We also discuss several other topics like 1) What determines the death of a star in the SS?
■ Power Law curve: Again, How much money you spend on each individual by how much people receive the money. The majority receive a low
amount of money while some receive a lot
Lecture Notes 9/1
● Review of last night’s reading: The Federalist Papers, Number 10 & 51 & Chapter 1 of American Public Policy: Promise and Performance by B. Guy Peters
○ This chapter focuses on the structure of the government. The original founders had an intense fear of tyranny and therefore fragmented the government so that power was not given to a single position.
■ Advantages: little errors
■ Disadvantage: lack of coherence and coordination=gridlock
○ The goal is to regulate and control the interests of people: Keep interest groups alive but don’t let them overwhelm other groups. Chose to regulate through a republic. Why is republic better?
■ Smaller group of experienced individuals make decisions for the majority. ■ Madison’s layer cake model of federalism= federal and state have separate and distinct tasks.
● Federal government= Currency and defensive
● State government= Everything else
■ Marble cake= the roles of the federal government and the state
government are all mixed. Not everything is clear cut and tidy.
■ Picket fence cake
● There is not only a separation between each layer but there is also
be a divide vertically.
● Ex: certain parts of fed, states, and local governments are
dedicated to agriculture.
○ Not only do we have layers but we also have three branches within the federal government. Executive, legislative, and judicial. But there are good and bad consequences to this
■ Difficult to initiate any policy
■ Change is easily prevented
■ Much easier to make a gradual change because of compromise
● Class lecture is a continuation of the structure of government with four main points ○ Federalism: Layers of government. Federalists were concerned with how to prevent the tyranny of the majority. Tried to find a happy combination of centralized and decentralized government. Formulated a compound government ○ Separation of Power: on each level there are different branches. Checks and balances. Ambition cancels ambitions. This causes gridlock.
○ Sub goverment: Iron Triangles (interest groups, corresponding administrative agency, congress committees). Policy network, Interest groups now play an active role in affecting the government.
○ Public and Private: both the private and public sector can play a role in affecting the government. Ex: Homelessness. Public sector has a much harder time implementing than private sectors
Lecture Notes 9/6
Review of last night’s readings:
Functional and Legislative Theories of Federalism: Shortened Points
● Functional Theory: Different areas of government are more easily/effectively administered by certain levels of federalism, thus each level should be in control of their most effective area.
● Developmental: Providing the social and physical facilitations needed for economic growth. Best run by state/local levels because smaller govs can tend to the unique needs of their community and collect info quickly and accurately. Certain aspects though, such as pollution and transportation require more communication between the smaller govs.
○ Block grants given by the national government can fund state/local
governments. The goal is level out extreme inequalities but at the same
time keep the incentive for local/state government to operate services
● Redistributive- Focuses on reallocating resources in society from the fortunate to the less fortunate. Best run at a national level because they have better control of migration. If local govs reallocate benefits, the poor will come to gain benefits while the rich will leave to avoid taxes and low quality of life. But with recent globalization, companies are more willing to move outside of the US to avoid regulation/taxes/standards/etc.
○ Categorical grants help with reallocation because detailed requirements can’t be broken, so local govs can’t use it for development purposes like a grant.
● Legislative Theory: legislators aim to fulfill their own political needs. At any level, they’ll try to gain benefits for their constituents and credit for their namesake, while pushing governmental burdens to other levels in federalism.
● Developmental: Legislators preferred choice, as it enables them to show the area they represent that they have brought back observable benefits. It is believed that this “pork barreling” will almost ensure reelection, regardless of the additional cost taxpayers often face as a result. Less concerned about
inequalities in finances, education, etc.
● Redistributive: Much harder for legislators to get behind because it’s likely to cause partisan conflict and support is based off of the wealth of the city/state. Blame avoidance is used by giving unfunded mandates: President/congressmen get the credit for creating equality while lower levels deal with collecting the cost.
In Class notes
● There are some restraints when it comes to the government participating in redistributive.
○ Local and states expect that they receive the same amount of benefits as the taxes they give, but that can’t be the case. Take for example California and Mississippi. California, being a rich state, doesn’t get a proportionate amount of benefits in return for their high taxes, because the benefits are given to
Mississippi, a poor state, to support them
○ National governments has to rely on the states and local levels, but states and local levels have their own agendas to attend to.
○ Larger cities, with a diverse variety of communities, income levels, poverty, and quality of life would be willing to take on redistributive funding but affluent cities or suburbs are more likely to deny this service
○ It’s hard for the national government to actually get the redistributive funding to those in need. Most of the time, funding is given by competitive grants, where each state or local level fight for money through proposals to the national
government. But the problem is, poorer states and communities, who actually need to money, dont have the resources and people to write and produce competitive proposals.
Notes for 9/8
Review from last night's reading.
○ Reform movement was produced by the progressive era and its goal was to eradicate political machines. Before, the machines gathered people by providing benefits yet they didn’t make the best governmental actions for the majority.
○ Three basic goals of the reform: elimination of corruption, greater efficiency, and more democracy.
○ Constant characteristics of in the municipal reform model: rational decision making and on increased efficiency in providing services
■ No political slant or emphasis of parties. More based on merit and
■ Large open no partisan elections, recall process, no defined term limits, referendum petitions.
■ Municipal reform tends not to be apt to listen to disadvantage groups ■ Most cities have nonpartisan ballots for city elections
■ More likely to use council-manager government
○ Opposite: Boynton political model. Large partisan elected council that aims to represent all interest groups
■ Political structures are likely to increase representation in minority
■ Mayor council government
○ Mayor council government variations. Both separate power of the executive and legislative branch
■ Weak mayor. More liked by smaller communities. Severely decentralized. A lot of power given to the council and control the municipal budget.
Easy to lessen the damages of corruption. Council in in charge of
overseeing the departments
■ Strong mayor. Centralized power to mayor including appointment
without the permission of council. Mayor administers the budgets and
oversees the departments
■ Council-Management form- This set up is also for smaller city councils. People are elected through an at-large ballot that is non partisan. Mayors play more of an administer/overseer role while the city manager
implements the public services that need to be taken care of.
○ Ballot types: Partisan vs. Nonpartisan
■ As of today, roughly 77% of cities in the united states use non partisan ballots for the elections, as a way to get rid of political influence.
● Even though recent studies have shown that the type of ballot
doesn’t actually affect the election of council members.
○ Electoral System: At-large elections vs district (ward) elections
■ 66% of cities use at large while 15% use ward elections
● At large benefits: Can bring up the concerns of the whole
community. There is a smaller chance for political machines to
buy their way into the seat because now they have more people
to appeal to. Overall, the elected individuals should be more
qualified and deserving of the role.
● Gives a better representation of the population because each
district can represent their people. More focused on precise
issues. Brings the city government more close to the people.
In Class Notes
● For the last two weeks we have focused on the national and state government, we are now going to look at local and regional government.
○ Four major types of local government: Counties, cities, school districts, special districts.
○ Lets look at california: Anywhere in the state belongs to a county. 58 counties. In almost every county there are four elected position: Sheriff, district attorney, assessors, board of supervisors (5 people)
■ Counties act like agents of the state and administer social services and health to its citizens
■ Then counties provide services like jails (county jails are run by counties while prisons are run by state), running elections, and animal control
■ 88 cities in los angeles county (incorporated) rural areas are called
unincorporated areas (services are provided by county)
● If you have a smaller city then most likely you are going to be a
contract city, where you contract services and utilities from the
● Larger cities are going to be full service cities, where they provide
services directly to their city, from police to water.
■ Now for local governments and cities you have two avenues:
● General law city- Whatever the general structure of law a city can
adopt from the state. Council(5), mayor, city manager. There a lot
of state guidelines. Easy to interpret the rules.
● Charter city- Decides not to use the general law. Los angeles, long
beach, and glendale have their own unique system
● Municipal Home Rule- each city has the right to have their own
■ Special districts: Specialize in a certain service rather than a certain area. These service cover a variety of different areas.
● The metropolitan water district serves roughly 16 million people
in southern california and is considered the biggest special district
● Other districts include cemeteries, metro, and irrigation
■ Special county service areas are unincorporated areas that are closer to the urban areas. Because they are so close to urban areas that are able to get services from these cities (like a contract city) but they are also able
to obtain higher quality and quantity of these services because of their
Notes for 9/13
● Notes from last night's reading
○ First reading, Paul Knox’s “shlock and Awe: The American Dream, Bought and Sold”, focused on the structure and dynamics of suburban communities. ■ The physical and social landscapes of communities are intended to shape and reflect our values, priorities, and show who we are as a society. The growth of suburbs came from a number of reasons.
● Stems off the birth of the american dream. This idea of individual
freedom and property rights and an overall progressive of the
quality of life. The american dream vision came with a car, house,
and independent community.
● After World War Two, families wanted a sense of security. With
the help of the baby boom, more and more people were looking
for create their own individual life. Meanwhile, developers and
planners were using production line mentality to create quickly
built, cookie cutter, neighborhoods. Federal government aided
this process through grants. Supreme court decisions meant
communities had the right to create their own environment.
■ The design of suburbs was also influenced by certain aspects
● American renaissance mentality was fueled by the works of
thoreau and emerson. The idea that we needed to connect back
to space and nature and epand individuality.
■ Overtime it was obvious that suburbs had some flaws. Creation of
commuting and traffic, people became heavily dependant on cars. The
environmental impacts were extremely negative. Pollution,
deforestation, water usage, traffic, etc. Today we have increased the scale without learning from the consequences. Individuals now have created this need for suburban bling and affordable luxury AKA vulagria. Size and social superiority. With suburbs comes moral minimalism: we have very little association or feel little to no obligation to our neighbors, let alone the people outside of our neighborhood. Large sense of exclusive privacy and homogeneity.
■ HOA can create their own forms of rules and regulations
○ The second reading, Oakerson’s “The Study of Metropolitan Governance”, looked at the structure of metropolitan governance.
■ The efficiency and method of governance is dependant on the size. For large governments, it’s possible to use coercive action, but that will lead to little success. Progress lies in stimulating civil engagement. This is first stressed by Tocqueville in his book American Society back in 1835. Defined self interest rightly understood.
■ Metropolitan areas use municipal governments to carry out governance. There are a few key points that municipal governments follow:
● Polycentrism: Local governments can run solely and efficiently yet still follow the rule of law of their larger unit. They are financially dependent.
● Representatives at these local levels are elected.
● There is a high level of civil participation because they have a stronger ability to create and bring down municipals.
○ Public entrepreneurship
● Municipals and special districts can form agreements and
contracts with each other. 3700 special districts.
● With municipals comes fragmentation and duplication.
● Of course, municipals also brings along controversies such as efficiency, equity, and civic engagement.
■ Paul peterson refers to local governments having the role of handling developmental aspects, called the economic imperative.
● This is primarily a US trait, because the national Government has less of a role in the the fiscal government.
● This gives local governments the power of interpretation. They are allowed to use the grants however they please for the broad term of developmental.
■ With decentralization comes some main concepts
● A rise of homeownership, interest in property value, and single
● Zoning control gives local governments the ability to build what
they want, how they want. With suburbanization comes isolation
and aspects like gated communities and Homeowners
associations. HOA acts like its own form of government by
creating rules and regulation constraining personal freedom
■ Civil society: The creation of human association based off of willing
consent of participation by the people.
● Class notes.
○ To get a better understanding of this situation, we’ll look at a specific question: what is the better approach to govern big metropolitan areas?
■ San Francisco Vs Los Angeles.
Notes for 9/15
● Review of Reading
○ Robert D. Putnam's “Bowling Alone”
■ A focal point of the reading is Social Capital
● The creation, organization, and maintenance of trust, norms, and
networking in a community for benefits that are mutual. As
people participate more in their local government, social capital
for everyone rises. The more social capital the happier citizens
are. Crime reduces, higher sense of trust among citizens and the
■ Since 60’s there has been a decline in gov participation. In all areas, from Church, unions, PTA’s, fraternal groups and so forth.
■ Counter Front: Perhaps new groups are forming? These new groups would be called tertiary groups, In addition we have also seen the rise of nonprofit organizations and support/hobby groups, where there is little commitment involved, and therefore a smaller sense of trust.
■ No surprise, there has been a sharp decrease in trust in the government. The comradery of the greatest generation was never passed down to the baby boomers or generation X.
■ Possible explanations
● Women entering the workforce, less people have the time to get
● With more mobility of home ownership comes the ability for
people to get everything they would want from their home. No
need to branch out.
● Family demographics, divorce rates, number of children
● Leisure activities like TV consumed people’s free time.
■ After 9/11 there has been an up spike of civil engagement. Technology has given adolescents to be involved civically
● Class notes
○ When looking at social capital, there are two genres:
■ Specific social relations
● This is what most people think social capital is, personal
connections of people in communities.
○ Each individual gets benefits based off of who they know.
Social exchange and debt.
● Focuses on bonding qualities: revolves around specific people and the exact people they know (exclusive, you help out who you
think belongs in your group)
■ General trust
● This is not only about who you know, but the general community
in its entirety. Generalized trust among one another. You would
be willing to trust a stranger in your neighborhood because you
know they are connected to you in some way.
● EX: trojan family sense of trust
● Focuses on bridging qualities: Connecting with individuals farther
than who you directly know (inclusive)
○ Civic associations helps individuals create a sense of need beyond their family. An arena for civic participation. Can fill the gap between market and
○ Bonding social capital can be used to be both a positive and negative aspect. We don’t want a mafia type organization that's inward looking and penalizes people for not following their criteria. Instead, we need a healthy combination between bonding and bridging. So the main theme or question is how do we develop
society that encourages the development of both.
○ Tocqueville argument is that with this new upcoming sense of individualism and equality, there is no way to bond people together. The consequence is that society is more susceptible to tyranny. To stop this, we need to use civic association to adjust the relationship between people and create a free society that is self governing.
● Need a blend of equality, liberty, and fraternity (Based on the
○ Cultural determinism: the part of world, country, or state you grow up in, can influence the way you view social capital
■ Italy study
● North- had the foundation for local self government and were
more open towards an overarching government because they had
established a greater sense of community and trust.
● South- inward looking, protect themselves from external
○ The policies government put into place can impact social capital
■ Social Security act: parents became less stringent on their children when it came to college and career planning. Freedom of expression and
■ Low income housing policy: with public housing, it concentrated poverty into one place and makes the residents unable to connect with others
and develop social opportunity.
Notes for 9/20
● Last Night’s Reading
○ Small Worlds
■ Mark Granovetter submitted The Strength of weak social ties essay in 1972 at harvard
■ Weak ties play a crucial role in our ability to communicate with the
outside world. To get new information we have to activate weak ties.
Finding jobs is more based on weak connections.
■ Counters Erdos and Renyi version of our universe, where a person’s
closest two friends are completely random.
■ Key points
● Synchronized clapping gives insight to self organization
● Fireflies and crickets watts
● Six degrees of separation watts
● Cluster coefficient is determined by how many people you are
close within a single group. The closer to one the coefficient is,
the stronger and closer the ties are.
● Erdos number concludes that co authorships and connections
aren’t random. Clustering is indeed present in social systems.
Discovered that clustering does not stop at the boundary of social
● C elegans neuron structure is very similar to social networking
● Internet, food webs
● Side effect: Small world is gone
● We can be very provincial in choosing our friends, since at least
some people will make far reaching connections. Few such links
will do the job
● The only thing missing from both models is that some nodes have more connections than others.
○ The Power of Context (Part Two)
● In the late 20th century, Rebecca Wells published a book called
“divine Secrets of Ya-Ya Sisterhood’. It wasn’t anything special yet
somehow became a bestseller. How? The connection and social
interaction of mothers and daughters. Power of networking.
● Created the term of the Power of Context- The groups people
include themselves and how they influence society and create an
epidemic of information. There is a generalization and
homogeneous formation of opinions by the groups.
○ Therefore in order to make change or impact society you
need to create communities around them and target their
● The rule of 150; A concept within cognitive processing. The mind
can only break things up into 6 or 7 categories before things start
to exceed our intellectual capacity. In the same sense we also
have a social channel capacity. 150 is the max number of
individuals that we can have a general intimate relationship with.
Anywhere beyond that, the relationship starts to break up.
● In Class Lecture
○ Social interaction pair nicely with social networking.
■ 6 degrees of separation originated by Harvard University
● Anyone in the world is reachable by 6 steps or less.
● Results, the world is quite connected
○ Now let’s put this into context. Even though there is such things as the 6 degrees of separation there are still a physical aspect to consider. Looking at Saul Steinbergs “View of the World from 9th Avenue”, your connections are based off of the limits of your space, farther worlds seem more vague and less concrete. You are bounded by your environment and your concentration is in your small world.
○ Urban planners have the job of defining what a person’s neighborhood is. ○ Metaphor of cavemen and solarians:
■ Cavemen: Only know and connect with a close knit of people and hardly reach out of that group.
■ Solarian: Know a lot of general things around the world, via technology for example, yet has no immediate connections
■ We want a balance of the two.
○ Connector plays the role of the ego and connects different groups. They are the most important part of a social society. Not everyone is a connector.
○ Weak ties act like bridges.
○ Specific study to show how weak ties can help you find jobs.
■ Strong ties: You get a job sooner, because you're close connections are more likely to be motivated, but the job you’ll get is nothing
extraordinary because it comes from a realm you are already familiar
■ Weak ties: takes longer because you are relying on far stretching weak connections, but higher pay is more possible because you are given more opportunities.
○ Another experiment involving the apparel industry in new city. They set up three hypothetical situations of how people could shop.
■ Only work and shop with close associates.
■ Those who go with whoever has the best price.
■ Third is a mixture of both
● Most successful. If you only work with close connections, you get
loyalty and sincerity but strangers offer the best prices
○ Physical proximity still matters! Businesses and neighborhood need to take into consideration where they are and how their location can affect their immediate connections.
○ All in all, have both strong and weak ties.
Notes for 9/22
● No readings due
● No class discussion
● Class time spent on tournament activity
Notes for 9/27
● Class Lecture: Looking at Collaboratives and Cross Sectoral
○ What is the meaning of collaborative government? Three major aspects: We are not just talking about using markets or contract outing of solving a problem, we must include collaboration across legally autonomous entites, collaboration across multiple sectors.
■ The collaboration from at least 2 organization from two different sectors (non profit, government agencies, business)
○ Potential applications: look into the readings for specific example
■ Structural choice politics; when you have different organization, each one has their own interest, mission and agenda. We therefore need to
compromise to form outcomes. Efficiency might not be the biggest
concern, more focused on equality. Compromises among various
missions. Everything is politics and care about their self interest
■ IAD Framework, how to manage natural resources. We need to enhance collaboration other differing groups who share a common resource. How you develop institutions and facilitate. Emphasis on collaborative
■ Transaction Cost Analysis. When designing specific arrangements. How can we make structure, how do we minimize transaction cost (How to
measure individual involvement). Analyze the situation to determine
whether there should be a strong leader or more of a caucus for of
○ Rationales and reasoning for collaborative government:
■ We need service integration.
● Autism, school, doctor, regional government, specialist,
recommendation to non profit preschools, (every step is funded
by state government)
■ Helps facilitate issues that stretch across jurisdictions and the realms of just sectors
■ Why we need different sectors: there’s more accountability mechanisms ● Government sector focuses on public accountability
● The business sector focuses on being efficient
● The nonprofit sector focuses of non profit motives
■ Is something created because necessity or out of mandates?
■ We need to look at all perspectives and take into account their ideas. Take time and gives up efficiency for equality (social construct)
■ When you bring in various groups, you don’t have social trust and
■ Different situations call for a different forms of management
■ The more groups, the greater the diffusion of responsibility
● Class Activity: Crash landing on the moon
Notes 9/29: No notes, first round of presentation!
Lecture Notes 10/4
● Review from last night’s reading:
○ So what exactly is the Prisoner's Dilemma? In it’s simplest form, it is when two people have to make a decision ignorant of the other person’s decision. This study shows whether or not a person will try to benefit the group or themselves. Here are some terms for the whole process and the four outcomes:
■ Reward: The outcome when both people decide to cooperate. Ideal
outcome of the group because it has the most pay out. Cooperating is the best for the group, while defecting is the best for the individual
■ Punishment: The is the outcome when both decide to defect and. No one wins
■ Temptation: This is the outcome when you defect and the other person cooperates. You get the highest individual outcome here
■ Sucker: This is the outcome when you choose to cooperate and the other decides to defect, you get the lowest outcome this way
■ Look at the jail time example below for an illustration
8 yrs \ 8yrs
Free \ 20 years
20 yrs \ free
6 yrs \ 6 yrs
■ The Free Rider Dilemma is whenever the punishment is not enforced and instead is held on an honor system.
○ Merrill Flood further states that the more unreasonable and self interested group will get the most benefits.
○ With all this in mind it's clear that social relations can play a role in the outcome because there can be negotiation and base decision off one another. Emotions and ethical duty can play a role.
○ Liberals tend to be cooperative while conservatives take a defect slant ○ Examples of more complicated prisoners dilemmas: deciding whether or not to pay to go on the metro, or choosing whether or not to make a donation to PBS
● Review from last night’s reading: The Power of Context by Malcolm Gladwell ○ The main take away from this reading is that our surroundings could be able to play a role in our decisions and actions.
○ In the case of the Goetz’s shooting, typical reasoning would suggest that his character and personality was the reasoning behind his violence, but the power of context theory would suggest that the environment he was in and the low quality of life around him triggered him to react.
○ When trying to tackle crime, typical reason would lean towards handling big problems like racism, social injustice, inequality, unemployment, etc, while the power of context theory would stress that small problems like quality of life and petty crimes could trigger these issues to ride (Broken Window Theory).
○ When looking at ourselves, normal reasoning would stress the importance of our personality and character for what we do, but the power of context theory would state that certain situations can bring to light other aspects of our personality. Therefore, surrounds play a part too. Fundamental Attribution error means that we tend to blame the actions of others on who they are and self serving bias means we tend to blame our actions on our personality.
● Class notes: Motivations
○ So as a stem from last week, how exactly do we get people to collaborate? The Prisoner's Dilemma game shows how motivations affect outcomes. The irony of the PD game is that their instinct is to defect but the greatest outcome is if they both cooperate
○ There are many real life examples that can be used: Metro, Nuclear Rivalry, Elections, donations, social loafing in a group or organization.
○ The problem with the PD game is that in real life there is communication and the ‘game’ is usually repeated or not a one shot type experiment.
○ If you do have repeated games then the best strategy to win the most benefits overall is called the Tit for Tat strategy. Always cooperate on the first round. If your opinion defects, you defect in the second round as a form of punishment. If they cooperate afterwards then you cooperate.
○ And, If the game is repeated, the goal is to get rid of the idea that the relationships or game is going to end, because the person will defect (Which is the best possible outcome for a one shot game)
○ Again, communication is key!
○ Just in general, you should try and avoid the one shot prisoner's dilemma game ○ In general, most people don’t want to be free riders or suckers either. Caused by the idea of fairness.
○ To stop people from defecting and seeking more personal benefit, institutions can set up safeguards
Class Notes: 10/6
● Review from last night’s reading: Petra Reyes Motivations and Decision Making ○ When it comes to policy making, there are two different strategies
■ Rational Comprehensive (Roots): Starting from an entirely new foundation each time and building only on experience gained through the process.
■ Successive Limited (Branch): Branching from the current situation in a step by step manner.
● This is the system that democracies use. This form of government
makes alteration to the policies they have through increments of
● Malcolm Gladwell’s The Power of Context: The purpose of this reading is to show just how powerful and impactful in the moment decision making can be. Spontaneity vs extensive information.
○ In a military training exercise, one team used as much data, intel, research, analysis, and approached the situation from all different aspects: Social, economical, political, etc, meanwhile the other team didn’t use any information to lift the enemy’s fog so to speak.
○ In the end the spontaneous group one. But It’s important to understand that benefits from being spontaneous only works when the those involved have great experience in their field and have repetitively practiced situations like this. It becomes innnate instinct not just random.
■ In command but out of control
○ Overthinking or overanalyzing can end up worsening the situation.
■ Verbal Shadowing, by jonathan W. Schooler. People who had to explain themselves and be logical through analysis, they end up being less
○ Two underlying lessons: having a balance of distinctive thoughts and deliberate thoughts. When it comes to making decisions, it’s smart to get rid of complicated relations and patterns.
○ The readings show that we need to find a way to analyze the situation without being overwhelmed by the amount of information.
○ Using the root perspective of rational comprehensive method is not a possible option, because it takes so much time and effort to start from the ground up ○ All policy makers and people make decision incrementally. Key factors: ■ The means and end are not always distinct. Most times its means trying goals. We don’t know what we want until we are presented with the
■ You only have a limited amount of time, energy, and money, so the best answer is to limit your analysis (college application process)
■ We need to be able to agree on the policy rather than the exact details and values that those policies entail (Funding money for low income
education by both parties)
○ What are the elements that form our decisions
■ Attention- our small span of attention only lets us focus on a few key things. Certain aspects trigger our attention more than others. EX: We all tend to feel more strongly if we lose something so Political strategy: talk
about what america has lost
■ Uncertainty- When we don’t have an adequate source of information, our instincts and internal drive kicks in.
■ Priming- The setup of the situation can influence our decision. Can create different behavior. EX: A class was shown a video and then asked to
retrieve notes from the secretary
○ When making decisions as an individual, to cooperate on the first more, punish those who defect and always be willing to forgive (Tic for tac form last week)
○ Heuristics and feedback loops- a professional will always know the shortcuts and right approach to a situation because of experience. Informed by some perspective that gives us the innate possibility to make assumptions. 9 dot box activity. To find a better solution, question the previous tactics used and the assumptions that were made. Sometimes, our straightforward intuitions are wrong. Adopt multiple levels of analysis.