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Unformatted text preview: Summary So far in the course we have learned about The study and practice of public policy The structure of our system of government and its influence on policy Official and unofficial actors in policy Power and interest groups, and how they work to set agendas Policy design and implementation Today: Putting It All Together Current models of the policy process The "textbook model" Systems models of the policy process The stages models of policy making Kingdon's "Streams Metaphor" of the policy process Sabatier's Advocacy Coalition Framework Baumgartner and Jones's "punctuated equilibrium" First: A systems model of Politics and Policy Derives from David Easton's work in A Systems Analysis of Political Life Key elements The environment Inputs Outputs Feedback The Environment in the Policy System The environment: "the features of the structural, social, political, and economic system in which public policy making takes place." Policy making is both influenced by and influences the policy environment The Structural Environment The structure of the branches of government The constitutional structure The role of the federal government The role of the state Limits on government Individual and civil rights and liberties The Structural Environment Traditional and Informal Structures Political Parties and the Two Party System Senate and House Rules and Norms Senatorial Courtesy Rules of debate Legal structures: laws that provide the "rules" Freedom of Information Act Administrative Procedures Act Legal decisions The Social Environment Demographics: Age, Race, Gender, Education Changes in all these Where people live and work How they get to work and home This information is gathered in the Census The Economic Environment The fundamental nature of the economy: The overall state of the economy Capitalist, relatively little government interference Gross Domestic Product Growth in the GDP The Political Environment Public attitudes and public opinion National mood Trust in government Important for establishing the legitimacy of government decisions Inputs and Outputs Inputs: The demands placed on the system to do something about a problem. Outputs: What government does--public policy Can you see signs of how overly simplified this seems to be? Inputs Electoral decisions Candidates Hard to tease policy preferences out of votes for a candidate Still important because elections determine the make up of the Intiative and Referenda Congress. Public communications with officials Public opinion "Direct democracy"--direct election on various issues Complaints and letters case work Interest Group Activity Inputs: Public Opinion Power derives from us therefore, our opinion matters. Public opinion gathered in polls Many people distrust polls Most polls are actually quite good Polls ask about issues as well as candidates Some issue polling influences partisan agendas: The Contract with America, for example. Communications to Elected Officials and Public Managers Individual letters, faxes, emails Often lost in the shuffle "Inspired" letters, emails are often ignored for what they are. The News Media Often shape the size of the agenda Often shape the composition of the agenda. Often quell ideas, such as OSHA's ergonomics standards But, the news media don't always determine the nature of policy debate. The media and officials need each other, and take care to cultivate their relationships with each other. Interest Group Activity Lobbying Protests Membership drives Outputs: Laws Statutes--Laws made by legislatures Case Law--Laws made by courts Regulations--Rules, sometimes with the force of law, made by executive branch officials. Symbolic versus substantive policy making. Oversight: Congressional supervision of Outputs: Oversight and Evaluation programs Evaluation: "The process of determining whether and to what extent a program is achieving its explicit or implicit goals." Most sound evaluation is based on science Scientific evaluation is often attacked or replaced with political rhetoric or nonscientific evaluation. The Challenge: Opening the Black Box Systems models help us to specify the important elements of the policy system But the systems model is overly simplified It treats the political system as sort of a "black box" The big question: can we think of the political system "systematically"? Probably, but not this simplistically. Modern Models of the Policy Process The Stages "Model" of the Policy Process
F e e d b a c k Agenda Setting Alternative Selection Evaluation Implementati on Enactme nt Features of the stages "model" A series of six ordered stages Policies move from one stage to another Implementation and evaluation leads to feedback Strength: The various stages isolate elements of Strengths and Weaknesses of the Stages "Model"
When does one stage end and the other begin? Do policies move through each step? Do policies move in order? Does feedback always happen? Does it feed back to the beginning, or somewhere else? the process for study and analysis Weaknesses Kingdon's Streams Metaphor An adaptation of the "garbage can" model The streams: The state of politics and public opinion (the politics stream) The potential solutions to a problem (policy stream) Attributes of problems and the attention to them (problem stream) Kingdon's Streams Metaphor
Streams are parallel and somewhat independent of each other Policy entrepreneurs try to join the streams in a "window of opportunity." Window of opportunity: the possibility of policy change. Strengths Strengths of the Streams Metaphor Not as mechanical as systems/stages models Shows how elements of the policy process happen separately and in parallel Particularly strong in showing how alternative policies are selected and how agendas are set Weaknesses of the Streams Metaphor Doesn't go much beyond agenda setting and alternative selection Doesn't really describe implementation (not a whole system model) Not clear about the role of some actors, such as the courts (although these actors certainly fit in the model). Kingdon's Streams Metaphor Problem Stream Window of Opportunity Policy Stream Policy Stream Time Sabatier's Advocacy Coalition Framework See the figure on page 227 Baumgartner and Jones: "Punctuated Equilibrium Borrowed from evolutionary biology Key features: Policy monopolies Policy image Tendencies toward stability, with sharp changes in policy (punctuations) Concluding Comments on the Theories These are some of the dominant theories These aren't the only theories Problems with the theories Still, having these theories is good because they Some aspects of the process are underemphasized Some methodological problems: how do we conceive of change, time, or windows of opportunity, for example? Questions of testing, hypothesis testing, falsifiablity help us understand how the world works. ...
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