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Public Policy_Week 13 American Politics

By Shannon, Jessica, and Maria

Maria Van Hoorn

on 22 February 2014

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Transcript of Public Policy_Week 13 American Politics

Definition and Foundational Scholars
Policy History in Policy Development
Perspective/American Political Development
V.Top Down or Bottom Up?
VI.New Approach: Policy Centered Approach


Driven by government or the masses
Policy influences participation; therefore public policy affects the basic mechanisms of democracy.

The function of government is to allocate societal goods
Is the quality of democratic government shaped by the kinds of policies it pursues?

In a democracy, the polity has the opportunity to voice their preferences. Should everyone have equal ability to take part in democracy? Or rather equal access?

"Policies shape the meaning of citizenship"
- Andrea Campbell, 2003

Policy design determines...
who gets benefits
how generous they are
how they are administered
a groups level of
interests, and
I.) Definition and Foundational Scholars

II.) Historical Perspective

III.) Policy Feedback & Agenda Setting

IV.) Policy Change

V.) Driven by the Masses or State?

VI.) A New Policy Centered Approach

Foundational Scholars
Theodore Lowi
James Q. Wilson
J. W. Kingdon
Joe Soss, Jacob S. Hacker, and Suzanne Mettler
client-oriented advice relevant to public decisions and informed by social values (Weimer & Vining, 1999, p. 27)
Narrow or Broad Definition
The study of the causes and consequences of public policy. As in chaos theory, where one innocent choice triggers an avalanche of repercussions, a definition of public policy analysis is fraught with consequences (Dye, 1987, p. 7–9).
Frank Baumgartner & Bryan Jones
A New "Policy Centered Approach"
captures the mix of stability and change characterize public policy making in the United States.

The dynamic element of public policy making is most apparent when images and venues are reconfigured.
"punctuated equilibrium theory"
“converging streams” framework
How issues come to acquire agenda status and how policy alternatives come to be developed.
introduction of non-incremental policy change, challenging existing literature purporting change was incremental.
supports non-incremental change
consideration of a particular issue or type of issue by public officials carries important political consequences.
“policy determines politics”…
Unlike Lowi, who focused on issues or issue areas, Wilson focused on policy proposals
Costs and benefits of a policy proposal are widely distributed (resulting in the emergence of majoritarian politics) or narrowly concentrated (resulting in competing interest groups).
Source: Gormely, 2007
Micro-level and macro-level analysis both important
Soss, Hacker and Mettler compile several examples of the policy-centered approach within specifics like health care, etc. This is important but also can produce bias.

In his wrap up chapter, Pierson points out how we need to look at the macro-politics of policy development.

Macro-politics involves the "dynamics of policymaking that operate over a range of issues simultaneously." (Ch. 13)

Eg. broad transformations in gov't are connected to the rise in inequality. (p258)
Scholars by issue-area
Mead: welfare policy
Soss: welfare policy
Wilson, James Key: criminal justice policy, broken windows theory.
Moyinhan: finance policy, fixed annual budget for Congress
Chubb, Moe, Peterson: education policy, advocated school vouchers
Campbell: social security
Agenda Setting
and Policy Feedback

Policy Change
Viewing social policy as a struggle from early efforts to the modern welfare state through the Social Security Act blinds us to important patterns that need to be explained.

The past did matter for the future of American policy making.

Later proponents were influenced by memories of Civil War pensions, and by the restricted achievements of campaigns for worker’s insurance during the Progressive Era.

The Analysis of US social policy making from the 1870s to the 1920s can prompt reworkings of approaches to explaining the origins of growth of national systems of social provisions.
Protecting Soldiers and Mothers
Skocpol, 1995
Skocpol's analytical frame for the patterns and tempos of US social provision
1.The establishment and transformation of state and party organizations through which politicians pursue policy initiatives

2.The effects of political institutions and procedures on the identities, goals, and capacities of social groups that become involved in the politics of social policy making

3.The “fit” between the goals and capacities of various politically active groups, and the historically changing points of access and leverage allowed by a nation’s political institutions.

4.The way in which previously established social policies affect subsequent policies.
Skocpol's Feedback Effects
Attention to issues isn’t incremental, as others would suggest.

The intermittent nature of high-level attention to a given problem builds into our system periodic punctuations to these temporary periods of equilibrium.

Must consider negative feedback and agenda-setting that lead to serious change. They show that both processes are at work simultaneously in American politics, and that they interact to produce long periods of relative stability or incrementalism interrupted by short bursts of dramatic change.
These bursts alter forever the prevailing arrangements in a policy system.
Baumgartner and Jones, 1993
Punctuated Equilibrium
Conventional Wisdom (Lowi, Wilson, etc): when the system veers away from balance, it corrects itself, tending toward an equilibrium between the demands of democratically organized interests and the policy outputs of gov’t.
Riker, 1980: Disequilibrium, or the potential that the status quo be upset is the characteristic feature of politics
Crisis and Leviathan
Seeks to explain the process by which the US developed its big government.

Big government has been nurtured by a succession of crises: depressions and wars that have occasioned both massive government spending and an increased regimentation of American life and thought.

Hypotheses that explain the growth of government:
Public Goods
The Welfare State
Political Redistribution
Crisis: under certain conditions, national emergencies (war, depressions) call forth extensions of governmental control over or outright replacement of the market economy.
As government power grows, it results in a higher baseline for future growth. Government achieves a form of autonomy, making it ever more difficult to decrease its size and scope, and to resist its further efforts to increase its reach, so long as the citizenry remain uninformed of its true effects.
Higgs, 1987
Stone, Typology of causal stories
Source: Stone

These Positive or negative effects feedback into the political system, producing spirals in which groups participatory and policy advantages or disadvantages accrue.

Citizens’ relationship with government and their experiences at the hand of government policy help to determine their participation levels and in turn policy outcomes.”

Reciprocal relationship between political participation and public policy.

“Mass participation influences policy outcomes – politically active are more likely to achieve their policy goals."
Andrea Campbell, 2003
The ability to be politically active is in part a legacy of existing public policy. Policy influences the amount and nature of groups’ political activity, often exacerbating rather than ameliorating existing participatory inequalities
Policy Feedback
Policy Matters
Positive or Negative Effects
Public policies can...
confer resources
motivate interest in government affairs by tying well-being to government action
define groups for mobilization
shape the content and meaning of democratic citizenship

All of which can impact participation.
A Broader Perspective
Policy Feedback
• Policy influences on mass public in two forms (Pierson). Takes two forms:

Material feedback effects and cognitive feedback. These cues may influence individual perceptions about what their interests are, who their allies are, and what political strategies are promising.

Political learning (cognitive effects) occurs based on policy design: Manner in which government policies treat clients instills lessons about groups’ privileges and rights as citizens. Policy design sends messages to clients about their worth. Policy experiences convey social meaning (self-image and out-group images).
Source: Campbell (2003), Mettler (?)
Historical institutionalist: Theda Skocpol, Paul Pierson, Sven Steinmo, Peter Hall, Lasswell (1951)
In summary, their work shows at a macro-level how existing policy structures constrain subsequent policy making
Her book examines senior citizens and their activity in relation to social security

-existing literature indicates that high-income individuals are more politically active.
-But low-income seniors are more likely than high-income seniors to participate in social security. In this instance, the positive relationship between income and participation is reversed.

-what explains this?

-positive and negative
effects of policy.
social security policy
legitimized seniors
participation and
in turn raised their
participation levels.
Campbell's Puzzle
In contrast, welfare recipients experience negative effects.

It is difficult and demeaning to obtain welfare, therefore participation is low.

Seniors are the Uber-citizens of the American polity, voting and making campaign contributes at higher rates than those of any other age group. Resulting in continued program growth, as programs for poor are cut.
Negative Effect
Policy Feedback
Policy Agenda
Three strands of thinking in policy agenda literature

1) Identity and characteristics of political actors – leaders, interest groups, professionals, bureaucrats – such as their attitudes, resources, and opportunities to account for the appearance of policy problems and their particular formation at a given time

2)Nature of the difficulties or harms –whether they are serious, mild, new or reoccurring, short-term or long-term health and economic effects

3)Deliberate use of language and symbols – way of getting an issue onto the political agenda, or alternatively, keeping it off.
in setting the policy agenda
1) challenges or protect existing social order

2) identify causal agents and assign responsibility to particular political actors so that someone will have to stop an activity, do it differently, compensate its victims, or face punishment

3) can legitimate or empower particular actors as fixers of the problem

4) create new political alliances among people who are shown to stand in the same victim relationship as the causal agent.

*If you target something that is within human control it often challenges hierarchies of wealth, privilege or status.
THe problem with policy agenda literature...
it misses the causal idea.

The causal idea is the core substance of the policy transformations and difficulties into political problems.

Constraints on agenda setting (kingdon & Cobb &Elder) are similar to those that causal arguments face (Stone)

political success of causal theories/stories, is due to two powerful social institutions for determining and legitimating the claims about harm: LAW & SCIENCE
Law: formal authority
Science: cause and effect relationships
Significant battles usually fall into both social institutions
Successful causal arguments
-Causal theories are more successful if they have:
Visibility, access to media, and prominent positions
widespread and deeply held cultural values (time-sensitive: ingrained, long-term) and...
if it captures or responds to the nation mood (time-sensitive: immediate)
source: stone, 1989
Constructivist: Stone (1989), Lindblom ??
apply this to present gun debate
Causal Ideas
How do social situations come to be seen as facts? What the process that leads to social situations being viewed as facts and problems? This leads to policy agenda setting.

Political actors manipulate the identification of conditions and define them as political problems through the use of causal stories. The story examines the problem and assigns responsibility to another actor or issue and proposes a solution.

Constructivist theoretical foundation: our understanding of real situations is always mediated by ideas; ideas that are created, changed and fought over.

Three Stages in promoting one's policy agenda.
identify problem
dynamics occur among various groups engaged (as challengers or defenders of existing policy)
group/actor promotes policy agenda
Source: Stone, 1989
-submerged states (organized groups defend their position and policies and that benefit them. There is a decreasing role for organizations that represent the general public.
The Price of Federalism
Early federalism, with its doctrine of dual sovereignty, may have initially helped to preserve liberty, but it did so at a terrible price: The Civil War.
BUT if federalism is no longer necessary or conducive to the preservation of liberty, what is its purpose?

Modern federalism means that each level of government has its own independently elected political leaders and its own separate taxing and spending capacity.

The national goverment's domestic resources are mostly redistributive, not economic. But states devote more resources toward economic development rather than redistribution.
BUT one large exception is AFDC.

They are both trying to do what they do best.
Theories of Federalism
1.Functional theory—
two main purposes of government:
Economic development—
Physical—Roads, mass transit, sanitation, public parks, basic utilities.
Social—institutions that protect people and property
reallocate societal resources from the “haves” to the “have-nots”

For federal gov’ts to function effectively, the division of responsibilities among levels of gov’t must respect the comparative advantage of each government.
Local governments are best equipped to design and administer development programs bc their decisions are disciplined by market forces as well as by political pressure.
The National government has the greatest capacity to engage in redistributive programs bc it can prevent the immigration of labor from foreign countries

2.Legislative theory—
the needs of legislators interfere with the effective functioning of a federal system. Political incentives that shape the decisions of policymakers induce them to make the wrong choices.
This theory assumes that a legislator’s primary motivation is his own reelection, so they seek to secure benefits for, and keep costs from, their constituencies.
The political benefits that accrue from procuring pork outweigh the costs of paying for them, which are spread diffusely among taxpayers across time and space.
Peterson, 1995
Peterson, 1995
Problem: very little literature examined civic and social consequences of policies
existing work by Skocpol examines the "structural polity" : how institutional arrangements, political processes, and historical precedents shape policy outcomes.

Mettler examines state-society relations. The relationship between policy design and institutional administration arrangement and it's impact on citizenship.

"Policies administered by the state shape character and experience of citizenship.."

-the New Deal reveals much about the role of institutions, public policy, and citizenship.
shaped policy in a gender-specific way
transformed federalism.

The nature of APD is at the heart of this book.
Mettler, 1998
Submerged state
Why reform is difficult
-submerged states: organized groups defend their position and policies that benefit them.

Dynamics that make reform difficult:
Lack of public awareness
Size and costliness of submerged state have grown (subsidized private actors to provide social benefits)
Increased partisan polarization

Features of submerged state: encourages and favors the rich (earned income tax credit)
(1) bestows benefit in upwardly distributive fashion and
(2) promotes consumption of higher priced goods (that one can or cannot afford)

*Decreasing role of organizations that represent the general public
"Snapshot" view: 2 approaches

1. Focus on policy enactments:
"the moments of policy choice" (p36)
2.Functionalist: analyst works
backward from existing policies
- why they take the form they do
Contemporary Social Scientist tendency
Mettler, 2011
Policies Impact Civic Engagement
Joe Soss (1999): found that program clients experiences with the agency they interacted with informed their perception of government operations, its effectiveness, and their participatory role in the political system.
The distinct rules and procedures marking program administration, social insurance beneficiaries gained a greater sense of external political efficacy, while public assistance recipients took away negative messages. Illustrating the influence of institutional policy on participation.

Campbell (2000): found social security program has positive effects on participation among beneficiaries from low to moderate income backgrounds.
Greater dependence on the program resources makes them more include to be involved.

Mettler (2002): found G.I. Bill produced increased levels of participation—by more fully incorporating citizens. In this case, those from less privileged backgrounds experienced greater enhancement of their civic capacity and predisposition for involvement.
Source: Mettler, 2002
Eric Patashnik: dust settling - sustainability

Huber and Stephens: "policy ratchet" effect
(stolen from Higgs)

Skocpol: "large-scale policy effects"

Hacker: long term policy effects

E. E. Schattschneider (1934): "new policies create new politics"

Dan Carpenter: cross-sectional approach to Principal-Agent theory not enough - need long-term historical process
Hacker: the actor-based functionalism approach is not sufficient
-forces a "fit"
-ignores important feedback processes
Pierson sum's up:
The Historical can not be separated from the contemporary. Key to see the "temporal dimensions of social processes"
Mettler, 2002
Established a theoretical framework that can be used to evaluate how public programs affect citizens’ participation in public life.
Built upon Soss' theory about policy design (the impact of rules and procedures on recipients)
Pierson, 2005
The Temporal necessity as seen in "The New Politics of the Welfare State"
Pierson, 1996
Welfare State Expansion significantly studied; Retrenchment - not so much.

Social policy unfolds over time - A historical perspective on the transformation of social policy politics by the growth of the welfare state should "stress that today's policymakers operate in an environment fundamentally shaped by policies inherited from the past, rather than suggesting that current politics will echo the conflicts of a previous era." (p.179)
Side note on retrenchment advocates: politicians won't advocate for it if it affects their re-electability

what the problem? Or rather who is the problem?
This is an example of a causal idea
promotion strategies
Two main approaches to policy development
Political analysis:
Policies seen as outcomes to be explained
Policy analysis:
policies seen as "causes of social and economic outcomes."
Agenda Setting
Soss, Hacker and Mettler say both are not sufficient. They "fail to ask how policies, once established, become part of the political process and transform it by their presence."
Analysts say policies are "starting point" or "ending point" but not the in between.
are the fulcrum connecting political changes to inequality
and insecurity.
*Policy-centered goes beyond policy feedback effects (policy's causal role in politics)
-also constructivist analyses that put policy at the center of symbolic political transactions
-put policy observations as basis for questioning political concepts (participation, power, justice, citizenship)

ie - both constructivist and institutionalist
Remaking America (2007), Soss, Hacker, Mettler

John Kingdon: *Main question: What sets the agenda of what is dealt with and what is not? "predecision public policy processes."
Early political theorists called agenda setting "gatekeeping"
shout out to Pope Francis the Jesuit sandwich maker
David Easton:
"system model"-input, through-put and output functioning within broader environment.
Harold Lasswell: "more policy-specific set of stages"

For Easton and Lasswell: "...each of the stages in the policy process involves distinct periods of time, political institutions, and policy actors." (vii)
Kingdon's agenda idea moves beyond the "stages heuristic".
Four steps to policy making:
1.Agenda setting
2. Specification of alternatives
3. Authoritative choice
4. Implementation
important to deal with both agenda(problem at hand) and alternatives (other possibilities for dealing with it).
Problem recognition is important:
They can fade.
What does it take?

Convincing on the need for change.
More on Policy Change Slides
Kingdon, 2003, 1st ed. 1984
Processes in Policy Development
(deal with change)
Problem recognition
formation & refining of policy proposals
All three can be impetus or constraint
All can act independently but do not always do so
coupling is the key to agenda and policy change
Policy window: opportunity for pushing ones proposal.
Garbage Can Model of Organizational Choice
Michael Cohen, James March and John-Olsen
"organized anarchies"
problems, solutions, participants and choice opportunities all mixed in the garbage can.

Lindblom's "fuzzing over"

eg. finding a problem for a solution
Kingdon borrows from this model
Participation can be top-down or bottom-up.
problems, policies, and politics in the garbage can
No one actor/player dominates, yet...

Congress is central to agenda setting (not necessarily implementation)
Interest groups most important outside of gov't participant and function more as blockers (p. 17-18)
Origins of initiatives:
a. ideas can come from anywhere
b. infinite regress

there is not an orderly and systematic approach (Lindblom's "The Science of Muddling Through
," 1959)

take what know and make incremental adjustments - gradual, small steps (Lindblom)

Kingdon says these are not enough.
Remember the garbage can
Features of public policy do the following:
"affect opportunities for effective political influence"
-"shape the distributions of political resources"
-"create (or retard) possibilities for coalition"
-"influence agendas and ideas for policy reform"-

Ultimately it affects the quality of democracy.
Soss, Hacker, Mettler
Example on problem recognition aspect:

Mead, Beyond Entitlement

The Problem of the welfare state is not "size" but "permissiveness"

The "social problem" is social separation
The solution is "integration"

Lasswell's attempt to link "theoretical and macroscopic concerns to agency-centered microanlysis."
Kenneth Finegold in discussing the "Doleful Dance of Politics and Policy" concludes that Lasswell's method should be used not only for policy study but to "advance a richer, more appealing political science."
Finegold, 1998
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