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Public Policy 374 - week 1 notes

by: Natalee Stanton

Public Policy 374 - week 1 notes POLI 374 001

Natalee Stanton
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These notes cover the PowerPoint lecture and professors personal notes.
Public Policy
Class Notes
political science




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Natalee Stanton on Tuesday August 23, 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 13 views. For similar materials see Public Policy in Political Science at University of South Carolina.


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Date Created: 08/23/16
What is Public Policy?  8/22/16 What is a Policy?   A purposive course of action (or inaction) that an  individual or group consistently follows in dealing  with a problem/situation. o It can be in the public or private sector   A course of government action or inaction in  What is a public policy?  response to public problems o Includes the formally approved laws that  enact policy as well as the regulations and  practices of agencies that implement  programs  What gov’t does at all levels ­ Public problem: problem that the public widely  perceives as unacceptable and require gov’t  intervention. o Problems not being entirely solved by the  market or individuals themselves o Does it need a new course of action? Why do we have public policies? I. To promote various societal goals  a. Protecting lives b. Encourage economic growth  c. Prevent property damage  II. To promote some view of the common good III. Some views of common good are perceived as  shifting together IV. Sometimes the gov’t diverges from the public’s  view of the common good (or what the gov’t should be doing to promote the common good.) V. In a democracy, we elect representatives to  represent our interests Why does the gov’t get involved?  I. Agenda setting II. Political reasons: a. Policy action by the gov’t can have varying  political feasibility b. Different policy actions at different times  will help politicians with reelection  III. Moral or ethical reasons: a. Human right, child poverty IV. Economic reasons: a. When price markets are not efficient  ( market failure) b. When the marketplace does not take care of  Market failures: 4 types  a problem   1 .     Monopolies 2. Externalities: decisions or actions of those  involved in a transaction that affect other parties a. Negative externality: third party harmed  by a transaction  i. Pollution  ii. Home foreclosures b. Positive externality: third party benefits  from the transition  i. Education    3 .     Information failure a. Incomplete information for consumer to  make good decisions on their own b. Less of a problem for certain items  i. Clothes c. Bigger problem  i. Medicine  ii. Food   4 .     Protection of public or collective goods a. Cannot exclude someone from getting  the good and we can all jointly consume  the good simultaneously i. National security ii. Public parks b. Governments protect the collective  Why study public policy?  resources  ­ Improves our ability to make educated policy  decisions o Make informed arguments and analyses  ­ Improves citizens ability to participate and make  choices Basic concepts in policymaking o Increase knowledge of policy issues and  process ­ Government  o Institutions and political processes through  which public policy choices are made  ­ Politics o Determining who gets what, when and how  ­ Lasswell o Influence of a variety of players o Electoral politics are at the heart of  policymaking  ­ Policy analysis Contexts of public policy: o The use of reason and evidence to choose  the best policy option among a number of  alternatives  I. Social context a. Societal changes i. Population changes  II. Economic context  a. State of the economy  i. Growing economy  III. Political context a. Political/ideological issues i. Who is in power?  IV. Governing context a. Structure of government  i. Separation of powers Some policy tools: V. Cultural context a. Values, beliefs – what people view as  problems: their preferences for how to solve them   Offer services directly  Grants/ contracts   Regulate o The government regulates our behavior   Tax incentives or breaks  o Encourage behavior  o Sin taxes – discourage the use of   Cigs  Educate 


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