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Issues & Approaches to the Study of Public Policy

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Jessica Nguyen-Ventura

on 16 January 2014

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Transcript of Issues & Approaches to the Study of Public Policy

Policy attempts to resolve certain problems
Policy is created in the name of the "public"
Policy is made by governments
Policy implemented by governmental & private actors
Policy is what the government chooses to do or not to do
Issues & Approaches to the Study of Public Policy
Stone: its all about community!
Preface & Introduction
Early scholarship assumes that making policy should be rational
Politics is full of ambiguity & Paradox
Gertson: Public Policy-making in a Democratic Society, Ch 1
Birkland: Introduction to the Policy Process Ch 1
Anderson: Public Policy-making, Ch 1


Sabatier - Theories of the Policy Process Ch 1
Stone, Policy Paradox, Preface, Introduction & Ch 1
"Paradoxes are
nothing but trouble. They violate the most element principle of logic: something can't be two different things at once....a paradox is just such an impossible situation & political life is fulle of them" (pg.2)

1. Model of reasoning

2. Model of Society

3. Model of Policy Making
Three components of policy
A series of well Defined steps:
1. Identify objectives
2. Identify alternative courses of action
3. Predict the possible consequences
4. Evaluation
5. Select the alternative that maximizes
the attainment of objectives
Political is reasoning
An alternate model of political reasoning would consider:
changing ones objectives
pursuing contradictory objectives
winning by appearing to lose & turning loss into an appearance of victory
in the rational project the model of society is the market
Society is a collection of autonomous, rational decision makers who have no community life
Life consists of trading with others to maximize their individual well-being
Individuals maximize self-interest through rational interest
Model of reasoning
Alternative Political Community
Stone calls the political community a "Polis"

Necessary because is created in political community, rather than market

Market does not allow a way to explain decision that are not "rational"
Political Policy Making
Production model fails to recognize the
struggle over ideas
Shared meanings motivate people to action
Shared ideas are the center of all political conflict
Model of Policy making
In this rationality project, policy is created in a orderly sequence of stages ( assembly lines)
This is what the production line model looks like
there are issues with the agenda
problem are not well defined
committees are not studied
single best alternative is model
The Market & Polis: chapter 1

- What's public policy?
- Categories
- Policy Theories
- Why study public policy?
The Study of Public Policy
-Scientific Reasons

-Professional Reasons

-Political Reasons
Public Policy is an important variable to understand political process.
Public Policy Study is required to conduct policy analysis to choose the best policy.
Public Policy is studied to strengthen claims of policy advocates.
Demonstration or Assault?
- In Snyder v. Westboro, Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in favor of the church
- Chief Roberts wrote the majority opinion that the protest highlighted the
"political & moral conduct of the US & it's citizens, the fate of the nation, homosexuality in the military, and scandals involving clergy in the Catholic Church"
- Alito, the on dissenter said: "public issues could be "vigorously debated w/o allowing the brutalization of innocent victims

Q: Was the funeral demonstrations a contribution to democratic debate or vicious assaults?
"In this book, I draw on the scientific policy study approach [reason] to develop a basic understanding of the policymaking process."
- Central Thesis:
Scientific approach used by PS, EC, PA & other policy analysis misrepresent + diminishes politics.
A more appropriate form of political analysis based on "political reason" needed.
- Recognizes " the dark, self-interested side of political conflicts but also see's politics as a valuable creative process for social harmony" (pg 10)..
- Stone begins to construct her model & argues how this models the way societies should organize to act politically.
Assumptions of a Market
@ least 2 willing participants
Perfect info.
Cost & Benefits (- and + externalities)
Transitive utility ordering ( if A>B>C, then A>C)
Mutual gains from transactions
Net gains to a society from the sum of these transaction
Is this how politics really work???
Issues with the Market Model
Implications by the Andrson's definition
sum of individual benefits does not equal societal benefits
Information is rarely complete & rarely good information at all in politics (or in the markets)
Policy & Politics may not always be voluntary:
claims to coercion but depends on someone's point of view
According to EC, markets do not need communities but politics does.
Demands driven
Actual action
Positive & Negtive

The Polis (Political Community)
Categories of Public Policy
Regulatory/Self Regulatory
Collective Goods/Private Goods
Features of the Polis
Public Interest
it is the most important because people believe it
Common Problem
action w/ private benefit that entails SC, or SB that require individual sacrifices
People are not just utility maximizes but are subject to influences
Markets don't require cooperation unless there is an exchange of goods or services. In the Polis, people have to cooperate in the political systems of greater than 2 people
Market transactions assumed to be unique & one shot event
The polis involves friends, commitments, longer term relationships between people & groups
Policy Theories (Approaches)
Political System Theory
Group Theory
Elite Theory
Rational-Choice Theory
Anderson, J. E.
Work through loyalty and influence
Market: assumed to be perfect and open
Authority & interest grow with use
Market: resources shrink not finite
Summary of Stones Points
Political science was suppose to be practical
A practical science was grounded in EC
EC = Rationality (assumptions)
Hence, the Rationality Project
But we know people/societies do behave the way EC & rationalist argue.
What are the problems w/ Stones argument in the introduction & Ch. 1?
Politics & Public Policy
Definitions of Politics
1. " the art or science of government
2. "political activities characterized by artful & often dishonest practices.
3. "the process by which society determines who get what, when they get in, & how they get it"
Key Attributes of Public Policy
"Policy is a statement by government of what it intends to do such as a law, regulation, ruling, decision order, or a combination of these. The lack of such systems may also be an implicit statement of policy"
Four Approaches to Policy Studies
Public Policy Process
Comparative Public Policy
Public Policy Analysis
Public Policy Research
Disciplines That Study Public Policy
Political Science
Public Administration
Public Policy

Important Question...

How does public policymaking affect our daily live's?
Directing the flow of resources.
-Economic advantages
-Individual rights
-Shifts in political power
What is public policy?
No single agreed upon answer
"Decisions, commitments, and actions by those who hold or affect gov. positions"
Gerston says that Public Policy is:
Quick Review of Our Policy Process
Important Features!
Limited Gov't
-Public v. Private issues
-Seperation of Powers--- Compromise!
-Chartered Rights
All policy is Justiciable.
-Via Judicial Review
-Nationalism and Federalism
Rights bearing Individual


Citizenship as public work
What is the difference between Politics and Public Policy?
1) Coordination of a multitude of actors.
2) Lengthy implementation period often spanning decades
3) Managing overlapping jurisdictions and interrelated purviews.
4) Assessing collateral impacts and alternative solutions.
5) Integrating diverse and deeply held values – public relations.
Elements of Actors
Institutional Rational Choice (Ostrom)
Multiple Streams (Kingdon)
Punctuated Equilibrium (Baumgartner and Jones)
Advocacy Coalition (Sabatier and Jenkins)
Policy Diffusion (Berry and Berry)
Large N Comparative Studies
Policy Framworks
Policy Framework
Elements of Actors
MPP Cohort Bill
Senate Yosuke
1. People must cooperate.
2. Professors must not mistake Ivan for Jack. If they do, they have to hold a party. When they hold a party, they have to inform students what they will serve.
3. If a student stocks up more than five instant foods in his/her locker, he/she has to give one of them to the person who forgot the lunch.
Activities! Yay!
wolves v. Min Wage
• Distributive policy: A policy that provides services to specific targeted persons, groups or communities;

• Procedural policy: A policy that specifies how government will administer some matter (process);

• Redistributive policy: A policy that shifts resources among broad groups of

people, from the “haves” to the “have-nots” or vice versa;

Regulatory policy: A policy that imposes limitations or restraints on persons,

groups, and businesses, thus reducing their discretion to act;

• Self-regulatory policy: A policy where those being regulated have much influence

over the regulation;

• Substantive policy: A policy that directly distributes advantages and

disadvantages, or costs and benefits, to people;

• Symbolic policy: A policy that expresses desired outcomes and values, but has

little if any impact on society.
1. The current issue of raising the US federal minimum wage.
“The objective of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, commonly referred to as the Clean Water Act (CWA), is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation's waters by preventing point and nonpoint pollution sources, providing assistance to publicly owned treatment works for the improvement
of wastewater treatment, and maintaining the integrity of wetlands.” (http://www.epa.gov/ oecaagct/lcwa.html)
Executive Order 13547
To achieve an America whose stewardship ensures that the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes are healthy and resilient, safe and productive, and understood and treasured so as to promote the well-being, prosperity, and security of present and future generations" Whitehouse.gov
NY Stop and Frisk Policy – “Data Reveal That Just Three Percent Of Stops Led To Convictions, And Just 0.1 Percent Led To Convictions For A Violent Crime”. “My office's analysis of the city's stop and frisk practices has broad implications for law enforcement, both in New York City and across the state. It’s our hope that this report – the first
of its kind – will advance the discussion about how to fight crime without overburdening our institutions or violating equal justice under the law,” said Attorney General Schneiderman.
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