Assignment 4 Policy Outcomes JosephBrown.docx
Assignment 4 Policy Outcomes JosephBrown.docx PRG211
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Running Head: POLICY OUTCOMES 1 Policy Outcomes Joseph Brown PAD520 Dr. Freeman June 1 , 2013 According to Dunn 2012, public variables include level of educational opportunity, degree of public safety, and air quality. One difficulty with public policy analysis is that frequently we do not have precise definitions of these public variables. It’s best that to think about two kinds of definitions of variables: constitutive and operational. Constitutive definitions give meaning to variables by using other synonymous words. For example, educational opportunity may be constitutively defined as “the freedom of chose learning environments consistent with one’s abilities.” Such definitions, although essential, provide us with no concrete rules or guidelines for actually monitoring changes in educational opportunity. In fact, it is impossible to measure educational opportunity directly, because constitutive or dictionary definitions provide only general links with real world of policy making, POLITICAL OUTCOMES 2 Public administration can experience policy actions and outcomes indirectly, by using operational definitions of variables. An operational definition gives meaning to a variable by specifying the operation required to observe and measure it. For example, we can go much beyond our constitutive definition of educational opportunity by specifying that educational opportunity is “the number of children from families with less than $6,000 annual income who attend colleges and universities, as documented by census data.” In this case, our definition is operational because specifies the operation required to observe and measure educational opportunity. 1. Constitutively, program expenditure can be defined as the total project costs. Basically, this implies the amount of resources and money that has been spent to fund an entire program, from the onset of it inception to the evaluation and testing phase. Operationally, program expenditure includes all valuables spent on financing a given project, including the manpower, intellect, physical, and financial resources. The summation of the program expenditure brings to light all cheques and balances, and provides the worth of a program based on a costbenefit analysis. Thus, a program could be labeled as costly, or reasonable. On the other hand, equality in educational opportunity may constitutively mean equity in access to educational programs (Colleman, 1966). Operationally, the phrase has a wide range of segments, but more specifically can be subsumed to mean the provision of equal access to informative and educational programs devoid of favor, discrimination, prejudice, or any sort of alienation based on political power and financial wherewithal. Lastly, energy consumption is defined constitutively as measurable utilization of power and ability. In another essence, the term can be operationally defined as the amount of electric, POLITICAL OUTCOMES 3 solar, heat, mechanical, chemical, kinetic, and human energy that is used in accomplishing a given task. The amount of energy used must be measurable, and quantifiable in terms of fiscal value. I refute that the greater the cost of an alternative, the less likely it is that the alternative will be pursued. In the current economic system, businessmen always prefer to venture in paths that are more risky and more costly, since the most common notion is that greatest profits are derived from the most risky ventures. Thus, it is not valid to conclude that a costly and risky alternative would not be preferred in most instances. In addition, consumers tend to link the quality of a good to its price. Actually, in the current market, price of a product is a determinant of its perceived quality. Some marketers and manufacturers use this fact as an opportunity to exploit consumers and make the highest possible profit margins. Consumers will tend to go for goods with higher prices, especially when they are of prestigious nature, than the cheap ones based on this analogy. Moreover, the popular adage: cheap is expensive, is a major driver for preference of costly alternatives. People have been made to believe that going for a cheaper alternative is only cheap in the shortrun, but very costly in the longrun. Lastly, when there is an expected shortage of goods, or choices in the near future, people may tend to be subject to costly alternatives, since the costs are expected to continue rising. Thus, it is unlikely that with rising costs of an alternative, it would not be pursued by individuals. 2. Work alienation has been identified by many states as a major concern in their economies. Many individuals view work as simple means to their ends, since they are satisfied with life processes and have a sense of connection to their way of life (Mottaz, 1981). This condition is also spurred with continued lack of job specialization and subsequent loss of control over one’s roles. Most governments have recognized to focus on the need to reduce effects of POLITICAL OUTCOMES 4 work alienation, since it has proven to be increasingly detrimental to the growth of the economy. Thus, specialization is one aspect that is being actively promoted, so as to award more power over what they do at the workplace (Mottaz, 1981). On the other hand, school dropouts are a major threat to the future growth of a state’s economy. Some of the reasons for the increasing number of school dropouts are poverty, drug abuse, lack of equal access to educational programs, and inadequate policy structures to address the problem (National Center for education Statistics, 2013). In response, governments have instituted moves such as free education, especially at the lower levels of study, with some taking care of the secondary level as well. This initiative has been applauded for its marked effect in increasing the number of registered candidates in various schools. In addition, the government has moved to introduce punitive measures to deal with school dropouts under the age of 18 (National Center for education Statistics, 2013). Other clustered initiatives such as fight against drug abuse, poverty etc. have also registered impressive results in reducing the number of school dropouts. Lastly, poverty levels in many states are alarming, with a huge disparity existing between the rich and the poor. The disregard of the socialist economy and the subsequent adoption of the capitalist economy have led to a number of economic challenges to both developed and developing countries. However, most governments are embracing the millennium development goals to spearhead developmental projects that are geared towards reduction of poverty levels. 3. The imposition of the maximum speed limit of 55 mph does not actually increase the cost of exceeding the speed limit; it lowers it. Though the use of harsh penalties to ensure observance of the speed limit has been considered as costly, motorists have become accustomed to the rate, and have actually realized the benefits of sticking to it (Friedman, Hedeker, & Ritcher, 2009). Nonetheless, it is observable that the speed limit has been able to reduce the POLITICAL OUTCOMES 5 number of deaths from 4.3 to 3.6, which is a remarkable improvement. It is; however, wrong to conclude that exceeding the limit is the root cause of the high rates of deaths. Additionally, other costs of reducing the speed limit to 55 mph must not be assumed, such as increased fuel costs, prolonged travel hours, and increased waiting time in the road. Statistically, it is confirmed that many people have been able to develop complications due to anxiety caused by staying for too long on the road (Friedman, Hedeker, & Ritcher, 2009). This argument posits that the practically identifiable deaths might have gone down, but not the indirect effects of low speed limits. From the above argument, it is plausible to infer that the 55 mph speed limit has not been perfectly effective in saving lives. Firstly, it should be understood that it is not only highspeed driving that causes road carnages. The reduction of accidents must involve a holistic approach that subsumes all variables involved. Secondly, the speed limit has caused more indirect injuries than the few lives it has been able to save, as has been adequately mentioned above. Thirdly, it is obvious that slower driving causes more fuel consumption than is necessary. In fact, many states have suffered oil crises as a result of such policies, and now are on the verge of substantially increasing their speed limits. Lastly, the imposition of the 55mph speed limit has caused motorists to spend more time on the road, thereby increasing accidents associated to boredom and loss of concentration and focus, since it is obvious that it lengthens one’s travel hours (Friedman, Hedeker, & Ritcher, 2009). POLITICAL OUTCOMES 6 References Colleman, J. (1966). Equality of educational opportunity. Washington, US department of health, education, and welfare. Print. Dunn, W. N. (2011). Public Policy Analysis. (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education. Friedman S.L., Hedeker, D. & Ritcher, E.D. (2009). Longterm effects of repealing the national maximum speed limit in the United States. Am J Public health, 99(9), 16261631. Mottaz, C. J., (1981). Some Determinants of work alienation. The sociological quarterly, 22(4), 515529. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/4106241? uid=2&uid=4&sid=21102067610163. National Center for education Statistics, (2013). Background on High School dropouts. Retrieved from http://www.dosomething.org/actnow/tipsandtools/backgroundhighschool dropouts.
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