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Chapter 3 In class notes.

by: Joseph Lucas

Chapter 3 In class notes. POLI 374 001

Joseph Lucas

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About this Document

These notes go over the U.S. public policy making process.
Public Policy
Class Notes
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Joseph Lucas on Friday January 1, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POLI 374 001 at University of South Carolina taught by Miller in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 46 views. For similar materials see Public Policy in Political Science at University of South Carolina.


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Date Created: 01/01/16
Chapter 3 Supplemented and In class notes, January 20 , 2016 In Class Notes: th Chapter 3 Supplemented and In class notes, January 20 , 2016 I. Understanding Public Policymaking A. Complexity of U.S. Policymaking 1. Government Structure a) Institutions, Bicameral Parties, Bureaucracy, access points for interest groups, rules that govern the process 2. Government actors 3. Informal actors a) Media (help frame policy issue) b) Lobbyists (advocating for specific policy decisions) c) The Public, etc. B. Complicated by Design 1. Once it is put in place, it is very difficult to change it. II. Theories of Politics A. Five Models of Policymaking 1. Elite Theory: The values and preferences of the general public are less influential in shaping policy than the elite. a) Experts or elites dominate policy development (1) Issue networks b) Public opinion: less influential (1) Issue on which the general public does not have enough information c) Often more evident in debates over highly technical issues or issues in which a strong, homogenous interest group exists. th Chapter 3 Supplemented and In class notes, January 20 , 2016 *Iron Triangle th Chapter 3 Supplemented and In class notes, January 20 , 2016 III. Group Theory A. Public policy is a the product of a continuous struggle among organized interests B. Public policy organized by interest groups 1. Counterbalance each other 2. Leads to incremental policy changes C. Balance? 1. Immigration, Pro-Gun control, Anti-Gun control, Education, IV. Institutional Theory A. Structure and process of institutions dominate policymaking B. Institutional theory focuses on: 1. Institutions—the way governments are arranged 2. Procedures and rules 3. Their legal powers; their power over decisions C. These structures and rules can empower or obstruct political interests. V. Rational Choice Theory A. Tries to explain policymaking in terms of the actions of self-interested policy actors 1. Elected officials, voters, etc. B. Individuals make rational choices to promote self- interest C. Useful to understand/predict how actors will respond to policy incentives 1. Politician: reelection incentive th Chapter 3 Supplemented and In class notes, January 20 , 2016 2. Public: behavior incentives (e.g., larger tax on cigarettes) VI. Political Systems Theory A. Considers pressures on the process of environment (demands) B. Stresses the way in which the political systems (e.g., government institutions and actors) responds to demands that arise from its environment (e.g., public opinion, interest group pressure, economy) C. Examines how the policy process flows 1. Inputs-> policy outputs-> policy outcomes-> feedback D. Government responds to the demands from interest groups and public (inputs) by making policy (outputs) VII. Policy Process Model A. Problem Definition & Agenda Setting-> Policy Formulation-> Policy Legitimation-> Policy Implementation-> Policy Evaluation & Change-> Problem definition… 1. Problem Definition a) By defining the problem, political actors can set the stage for government interaction (or not) (1) Interest groups, media, and politicians, help to from, or “spin” problems (2) Policy Analysis: Help to supply objective information about the nature of a problem, its consequences, and potential solutions. b) Involves creating a casual story (1) Climate Change (a) Human cause, no human cause (2) Violent Crime Chapter 3 Supplemented and In class notes, January 20 , 2016 (a) More guns-> less violence (b) More guns-> more violence (3) Wolves in Yellowstone (a) Is protecting the wolves the problem or is not protecting the wolves the problem? (b) Should the government intervene to protect wolves or rancher 2. Agenda Setting a) “on the Agenda” active discussion about problem and potential solutions (1) Systematic agenda (public attention) (2) Institutional agenda (government debate) 3. Events can lead to an issue to be put “on the agenda” a) Disasters, new research, etc. b) Agendas can be affected by election cycles c) Lawmakers as “policy entrepreneurs” (1) Gravitate toward high salience, low complexity issues


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