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American Public Policy

by: Russel Torp

American Public Policy POLS 2302

Russel Torp
GPA 3.62


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This 13 page Class Notes was uploaded by Russel Torp on Thursday October 22, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to POLS 2302 at Texas Tech University taught by Staff in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 73 views. For similar materials see /class/226523/pols-2302-texas-tech-university in Political Science at Texas Tech University.

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Date Created: 10/22/15
Government institutions and political processes through which public policy choices are made 39 federalism sharing authority between nation states and local government Politics the exercise of power in society processes through which policies are formulated also related to the electoral process Political Analysis Examination of components of public policy policy process or both Policy a purposive course of action that an individual or group consistently follows in dealing with a problem a standing decision characterized by behavioral consistency and repetitiveness on the part of both those who make it and abide by it an instrument through which societies regulate themselves and attempt to channel human behavior in acceptable directions policy outputs the formal actions that governments take to pursue their goals 39 policy outcomes the effects such actions actually have on society Elements of Public Policy Goals stated ends to be achieved 2 Plans or proposal the means for achieving goals 3 Programs the authorized means for pursuing goals 4 Decisions or choices specific actions that are taken to set goals develop plans and implement programs Contexts of Public Policy Social context societal changes ex Population changes social security Economic context state ofthe economy ex Welfare policy surplus vs deficit Political context politicalideological issues who is in power 0 party labels are poor indicators of beliefs Governing context politicalideological issues separation of powers Cultural context values beliefs ex Read state vs blue state Reasons for Government Involvement Political 0 notable shift in public opinion national or local or rise of a social movement pressing for action Moral orethical reasons 0 government is seen as the right thing to do even without public pressure 0 people join groups to lobby political policy makers Economics and market failures argue that government intrusion into marketplace distorts the efficiency with which a competitive market economy can allocate society39s resources market failure when private market is not efficient Externalities decisions and actions ofthose involved in the market exchange that affect other parties either negatively or positively I negative when two parties interact in a market and as a result a third party is harmed and does not get compensation I positive the same as negative but the third party gains something from the twoparty interaction and does not have to pay for it 0 monopolies or oligopoly Information failure to have perfect competition willing buyers and sellers must have all ofthe information needed to enter into a transaction or exchange failure if not available inability to provide public or collective goods 0 O O O o No lothonsim1ptimr loinr Consumption Exclusion ls Feasible Pure Private T011 Goods Goods Exclusion ls g Nof Feasible Commom P001 Pure Public Goods Resources toll goods can bejointly consumed and exclusion is feasible common pool resources goods that cannot be jointly consumed and for which exclusion is not feasible 0 pure public goods can bejointly consumed and exclusion is not feasible Why study public policy Improve citizens39 ability to participate and make choices 0 increase knowledge of substance and process improve citizens39 ability to influence policy decisions J more informal arguments and analyses Role of Policy Analysis assessing problems developing alternatives evaluating implemented programs Ways of Analyzing Policies 0 effectiveness whether a current policy or program or one that is being considered is likely to work 0 efficiency economic feasibility what a policy or policy proposal costs in relation to its expected bene ts to socie y 0 Equity freedom the consideration ofwhat constitutes a fair or equitable policy choice 0 Political feasibility how government officials and other policy actors appraise the acceptability of a proposal 0 policymakers must consider the preferences and potential reactions of the public interest groups and other government officials when developing policies may be others as well such as extent of public participation or exibility of policy each criteria may not carry equal weight in each decision Growth of government earlier 0 first Congress 13 states 69 representatives 26 senators o the bureaucracy 3 departments war treasury and foreign affairs current 0 15 departments 435 representatives 100 senators o numerous bureous and agencies 0 27 million federal employees Reasons for growth 0 growth of nation and population 0 increased complexity of society 0 protection of social welfare 0 role of US In the world 0 market failure 0 citizen demands ex Health care police protection Effects of government growth 0 everyday life 0 entire occupational sector 0 likelihood of conflicting public policies and greater difficulty in addressing society39s problems 0 taking more time and effort in policymaking Policy capacity the government39s ability to identify assess and respond to public problems Complexity and fragmentation 0 advantages more people reduces error more policy makers encourages innovation diffusion of power 0 disadvantages lack of policy productivity stalemate or gridlock conflicts between state and federal government39s lack of coordinating and coherence incremental policymaking small steps of takes slowl Federalism a system of government in which power is divided between national state Both can enact laws and public policies 0 constitutional allocation of powers between federal and state government 0 intergovernmental relations more accurately describes overlapping authority and interdependence among levels of government 0 Evolution early history disputes national bank interstate commerce slavery and Civil War 18m 19m century dual federalism distinct roles little integration limited federal government activities 20m century cooperative federalism collaboration on policymaking between the national and state governments increased Great Depression 1930 collaboration increased large scale federal programs began in 60s and 70s block grants transfers of federal dollars to the states where the states have substantial discretion in how to spend the money to meet the needs of their citizens categorical grants also involved transfer of federal dollars to the states but in this case the funding must be used for specific purposes unfunded mandates federal requirements placed upon the state governments without funds for implementation 0 Centralization vs Decentralization state and local government depend on federal financing conditions attached to grants increasing state and local government autonomy federal mandates complication of relationship 0 State variation of policy capacity support states are better equipped to decide citizens needs Separation of Powers 0 founders were concerned with possibility of tyranny British Monarchy 0 adds complexity and difficulty to government 0 adds to the challenge of building a consensus for policy action especially in legislative and executive branch 0 Policymakers Legislature lawmaking bicameral twohouse Congress House and Senate senators can filibuster talk for an extended period of time in hope of delaying modifying or defeating a proposal Executive law enforcing presidentvice president white house staff and executive office of the presidential15 cabinetlevel departments subsidiary agencies within departments independent executive and regulatory agencies Judicial law interpreting Organizations 0 supreme court circuit courts of appeals federal district courts special courts Roles 0 last word on policy reactive rather than proactive ruling and opinion rather than initiating policy How federal court shapes policy gatekeeper can choose to listen setting standards for review interpretation final say discretion is choosing a judicial remedy More constrained than Congress and Executive branch subcommittees are responsible for a bulk of policy making 0 lawmaking procedure introduction to committees public hearings committees accept modify or reject committee reports to the full chamber bill passing both chambers president signs or vetoes override with 23 vote 0 o o o o o o o o o Informal Actors Policy Public opinion what the public thinks about a particular issue or set of issues at any point in time 0 attentive public less than 10 can be distinguished from the general public usually expressed as the aggregate or sum of the individual attitudes and opinions of the adult population Ways to participate attending meetings writing or speaking to government officials joining interest grou s backing referendums and initiatives placed on state or local ballots most citizens pay relatively little attention to government politics and public policy can be fleeting and change quickly can be influenced by current events Interest Groups 0 most groups are involved in direct lobbying of policymakers important in politics governance and policymaking Lobbying most visible group activity Policy Subsystems 0 subgovernments or issue networks informal setting in which policies are made used to be called iron triangles because of supposed power and autonomy of three parts congressionalsubcommittees an executive agenc an outside economic interest group such as cotton farmers or oil companies usually operate underthe radar of most citizens decisions about many policies tends to be highly specialized Stalemate and Capacity capacity needs to be improved responding to more and more issues stalemate occurs because of government complexity o o I I I o o o o O o o o Models of Public Policy Elite Theory Assumption values and preferences of the general public are less influential than those of governing elites Actors economic elites and cultural elites as well as elected officials Emphasis are on 0 values and preferences of governing elites 0 role of leaders and leadership in policy development 0 different ones dominate different areas Group Theory sees public policy as the product of a continuous struggle among organized interest groups Actors interest groups lobbying or appealing to the public through issue advocacy campaigns more resources greater influence Advocacy coalition framework ACF 0 focuses on the interactions of competing advocacy coalitions 0 each coalition tries to manipulate the government process to achieve goal Critics 0 tends to exaggerate the role and influence of organized interest groups in policymaking 0 underestimates the leadership of public officials and the considerable discretion they have in making policy choices Institutional Theor Actors institutions as both the organization and the rules Characteristics 0 the rules matter arrangement of legal powers and rules for decisions degree of access availability of information sharing of authority structure and rules make a difference 0 complex in institutional analysis but it matters Rational Choice Theory Individuals as rational actors that maximize selfinterest public policy as actions of selfinterested individuals policy actors ex Electoral incentives 0 considervalues perception information uncertainties 0 useful for designing public policies ex Reduce fuel consumption Critics 0 narrow assumptions ability of individuals to behave rationally when they may lack pertinent information orwhen decision makers have different and unequal information information asymmetry too little emphasis to the willingness of individuals to engage in collective action pursuits such as joining public interest groups or community organizations Political Systems Theory Actors institutions and activities of government Characteristics 0 more comprehensive and more general biological model of politics changes with the environment interrelationships of institutions and policy actors and the role of th larger environment useful terms input comes from demands and support demands the claims individuals and groups seeking to further their interests and values support the acceptance by individuals and groups ofthe actions of government as well as the actions39 legitimacy policy outputs decisions law and policies policy outcomes real changes o 000 o feedback can alter the environment and create new demands or support Policy Process Model Problem definition Agenda setting Policy change Policy formulation Policy evaluation P Policy 019 implementation legitimatlon Problem definition dif cult to de ne problems 0 matter of representation many different views 0 strategic deliberately and conscious design framed or spinned making comparisons gas prices in US vs Europe who39s involved Agenda Setting issues or subjects that get enough attention to be a part of policy debate no formal or of cial list 39 systemic agenda public is aware of and may be discussing 39 government or institutional agenda issues policymakers are addressing at a time Stream ongenda setting 0 Problem stream bits of information focusing event brings up a new event or crisis magnitude effects attention failure or inability of private sector issues with spillover impacts 0 Policy Stream the possible alternative policies proposals from various sources floating around political actors groups or networks fittest ides survive and get attention 0 Political Stream political climate or public mood political process change administration public opinion etc Visible participants president and staff congressional leadership media interest groups issue characteristics level of salience how important conflict high salience high little chance of passing Policy Formation development of proposed courses of action to help resolve a public problem importance of policy analysis technical political actors provide bias who 0 bureaucracy legislativestaff interest groups 0 Policy Legitimation Policy Policy giving legal force to decisions authorizing orjustifying policy action everybody understands and accepts it getting support verify it doesn39t contradict another law does not violate constitution 2 major issues substance of polic process of adopting the policy without legitimacy Fails to become useful no support from public opposition from interest groups challenges in court 0 inefficient implementation Implementation where actual government intervention is seen executive branch passes regulations Activities that put programs into effect 0 organization interpretation application supply of money critical politics and compromise Congress the president Evaluation and Change often disregarded in process inertia in government unanticipated consequences effective for money spent Difficult to identify goals and ifthey were achieved types of impacts 0 direct vs indirect short vs Ion term politics still involved ex 2002 farm bill hopefully information will get back into the policy making system 0 o 0000 o o o o 0 Instruments of Policy Lowi P Regulation legal requirements sanctions government management 0 direct services or direct management of resources what should be handled by private sector Taxing and Spending 0 social security sin tax market mechanisms 0 marketable permits on sulfur dioxide emissions education and information olicy Typology distributive policy 0 individual grants and programs redistributive polic 0 one gains from another39s loss 0 o o o regulatory policy 0 government restriction of choice Policy Analysis Why do policy analysis Need for thoughtful impartial assessment avoid shooting from the hip think seriously about problems and solutions Nature of Policy Analysis examining all components of policymaking process assessment of policy alternatives Characteristics 0 involves collecting and interpreting information 0 alternatives and comparisons 0 not intended to make policy decisions inform public of process and encourage debate 0 part empirical science part political normative judgment 0 values and views are political Steps in Policy Analysis efine and analyze the problem 0 who is effected and how seriously 0 May include looking for the causes 0 ex International Development assistance Constructalternatives 0 might be most important step 0 want to encourage creativity Develop evaluative criteria 0 effectiveness efficiency equit 0 assesses potential of different criteria 0 will vary depending on the problem Assess the alternatives 0 which likely to produce desired outcome Draw conclusions 0 some may advertise a single policy action but others may not competing 0 which policy option is the most desirable given the circumstances and the evaluative cirteria Think Tanks and Analysis many policy studies conducted large number of think tanks represent a broad range of ideologies and ideals help policymakers and citizens 0 understand complex problems 0 show a rationality in addressing problems 0 appreciate value of their independent research Types of Analysis Scientific 0 search for truth and build theory about policy actions and effects 0 Limitation may be too theoretical for most decision makers 0 Examples Academic social scientists and natural scientists National Academy of Sciences Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Professional 0 analyze alternatives to solve problems 0 goal is for practical value 0 Limitations research and analysis may be to narrow due to time and resource constraints may neglect fundamental causes of public problems 0 Examples Brookings Institution Urban Institute American Enterprise Institute Government Accountability Office Political 0 advocate and support preferred policies 0 often ideological or partisan may lack analytical depth 0 aim to influence policy debate 0 Limitations often idealogical or partisan and may not be credible may lack analytical depth 0 Examples Sierra Club AFLCIO Chamber of Commerce NRA Heritage foundation CATO lnstitue What kind of analysis is needed Root causes vs pragmatic adjustments 0 should focus be on underlying issues or on addressing the issue at hand proximate causes comprehensive vs shortterm policy relevance 0 comprehensive is more thorough better method but takes longer 0 less rigor may be more timely to address problems but may have quality concerns consensual vs contentious 0 norms and mainstream values vs neew values and new way of thinking on paradigmchallenging rational analysis vs democratic politics 0 rational tends to focus on efficiency 0 citizen involvement 0 Sometimes conflict between them ethical issues 0 how studies are conducted 0 bias or funding source of analyst Problem Analysis must start with a description of the problem sometimes obvious problem sometimes not Nature of Problem definitions allow people to communicate with one another 0 operational measures specific way to define and measure a policy problem such as a rate of poverty or unemployment Often useful when quantitative measures of problems are needed 0 often have different ways to measure problems Politics of problem 0 based on perspectives What will change in the future 0 Projections and forecasting Think About Causes must ask why the problem came about answers may help determine how to resolve problem often problems have multiple causes and there is conflict on which to address poor school performance Set Goals or objectives Determine what can be done Find Information Constr Internet search tools government sites popular newspapers and magazines online sources 0 LexisNexis American Statistical Abstract indexing and abstracting services important to interpret the information carefully ucting Alternatives course of action what can government do Regulate subsidize ration tax and spend contract out use market incentives privatize charge fees educate create public trusts 0 conduct research Need to consider policy design Policy tools 0 how to get individuals to do something they would not ordinarily do or modify behavior 0 Types Authority tools assume people behave because someone in authority asks them to do so Inducements and sanctions people are rational actors who seek to maximize their self interests Capacity building tools provide training education information and technical assistance they they aim to inform or enlighten and thus empower peop e Hortatory tools governments invoke images and values through speeches proclamations and other communication to exhort people to behave in a certain way Learning tools policy agents and target populations are encouraged to participate and learn 0 o o o o o o o o 0 Thinking Creatively and Generating Ideas action 0 begin with status quo as baseline 0 keeping current policies may be an option Quick surveys talking with people within policy network to see what ideas they have Literature examination of material to see what has been proposed Real World situations 0 examine what has worked in similar situations 0 state governments provide opportunities Parallel situationsanalogies 0 look at other policy areas to see if ideas can be adapted Brainstorming Comparison to ideal 0 envisioning idea to generate ideas Assessing Policy Alternatives Evaluative Criteria specific dimensiosn fo policy objectives used to evaluate alternatives justificationsrationales clear standards often addressed in measurable terms 0 objective is preferred vs norm multiple criterea used 0 some more relevant than others 0 different policymakers may value some criteria more than others Effectiveness technical feasibility economic effeciency political feasibility Effectiveness reaching goals and objectives ask if desired results achieved issues limits multiple goals estimated success Costs benefits and efficienc application measuring all can be hard how to calculate certain items illegal immigration distribution of costs and benefits varies subsidy and aid Equity fairness orjustice in the distribution of policy39s costs benefits and risks process equity vs endresult equity quality of opportunity vs outcome 39 Process equity equal opportunity less government intervention Ethics often ignored not rational or could be based on biases not concrete many issues demanded such considerations freedom liberty Political Feasibility the extent to which elected officials accept and support a policy proposal difficult to determine depends on perceptions of the issues and changing economic and political conditions Social Acceptability the extent to which the public will accept and support a policy proposal Administrative feasibility the likelihood that department or agency can implement the policy well involves projection of available resources and agency behavior that can be difficult to estimate Technical feasibility the availability and reliability of technology needed for policy implementation often difficult to anticipate technological change that would alter feasibility Methods of Policy Analysis Economic Approaches 0 Costbenefit analysis examines whether benefits obtained by the action are greater than the costs imposed long and short term benefitscosts measure tangible benefitscosts adjust for changes over time estimate intangible Advantages reduces variables to dollar figures for easy comparison can see what you are getting from money Limitations sometimes difficult to determine monetary amounts for certain items ex Human life 39 what discount rate to use value of future benefits in todays39 terms 0 Costeffectiveness analysis examines alternatives based on which one will provide benefits at lease cost does not attempt ot put monetary value on benefits issue should government always select the cheapest method 0 risk assessment Identifies estimates and evaluates magnitude of risk from various situations may use this tool to determine which of a variety of problems to address or to evaluate which alternatives will lesson the riskto population risk based on probability of exposure and the consequences of being exposed limitation people often misjudge risk Decision Making and Impact 0 decision analysis often depicted as a decision tree way to structure possible decisions when you have uncertainty typically displayed as a decision tree help decision makers think of consequences of actions 0 forecasting limited by available data validity of basic assumptions used in projections how far out projection goes 0 impact assessment analyses conducted to predict consequences of adopting a proposal examples environmental NEPA job assessments inflationary impact assessment Political and Institutional Approaches 0 Political feasibility analysis extent to which elected officials and other policy actors support change not formula based need to ID actors who have significan roles legislatures bureaucratic officials interest groups 0 ethical analysis sometimes problematic does it threaten objectivity of analysis lssues often raised in this area but often not with same level of careful analysis necessary to fully understand consequences of an action I example stem cell research 0 implementation analysis and program evaluation implementation analysis attempts to design a policy that can be implemented well or examines how well it went after implementation program evaluation focuses on policy results or outcomes were goals and objectives achieved


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