Unformatted text preview: American Public Policy
Pol Sci 129/PP&D 100/Soc Sci 189/PubHlth 139
Winter Quarter, 2016
University of California, Irvine Instructor: Graeme Boushey Class Time: MWF 12-‐12:50 Office: SSPB 5203 Location: SSH 100 Office Hours: W 1:15-‐2:15 & by appt E-‐mail: [email protected] Web: “We know there are known knowns: there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns: that is to say we know there are things we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don't know we don't know." —Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Defense Department briefing, 2/12/ 2002 “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.…Things that we had postponed for too long, that were long-‐term, are now immediate and must be dealt with. This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not do before.” —W.H. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Wall Street Journal Interview 11/19/2008. Course Overview This course focuses on how public policy is developed and implemented in the United States. Lectures will cover theoretical models of the policy process as well as significant problems facing contemporary American decision-‐makers. The course draws from research in political science, public administration, psychology, economics, and public health to conceptualize how actors and institutions engage in public policy-‐making. The course begins by examining the micro foundations of political decision-‐making, exploring how theories of preference formation and choice shape our understanding of individual and collective behavior. We then consider how actors and organizations process policy relevant information. Specifically we consider theories of problem definition, agenda setting, the specification of policy alternatives, the formation and design of public policies, and the implementation of policy solutions. We also consider the considerable challenges that academic researchers and policy analysts face in shaping public opinion and shifting policy preferences. We discuss the persistence of political misperceptions, the causes of policy failure, and the limits of neutral policy analysis in an adversarial political environment. We consider a number of recent policy problems to add context to our theoretical study of the American policy process. Throughout the course we will discuss national health care reform, crime deterrence, income inequality, the impact and implications of the budget deficit, political polarization, substance abuse and 1 prevention, and higher education reform. We will evaluate the major policy indicators analysts use to track the severity policy problems, as well as the common policy instruments and interventions favored by distinct policy communities. Students will be encouraged to bring examples from their own interests in public policy to broaden our understanding the policy process. Required Books and Readings The book required for the course is available for purchase online or at the UCI bookstore. It has been placed on reserve at the university library. • Birkland, Thomas. 2016. An Introduction to the Policy Process, 4th ed. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe. Additional course materials such as copies of book chapters will be available for downloading through the course website. Journal articles can be downloaded through the UCI Libraries. Course Requirements Course grading is based on (1) a preliminary policy analysis proposal, (2) a short Policy Agendas analysis or a Policy Indicator brief, (3) two midterms, (4) a full policy analysis paper, and (5) section participation. Course grades are weighted as follows: • Preliminary policy analysis proposal: 5% (Due January 22). • Policy Agendas Paper or Policy Indicator Brief: 5% (Due February 8th) • Midterms: 25% each. (Scheduled February 1st and March 14th) • Research Brief: 30% (Due March 2nd) • Section Participation: 10% (Ongoing) Preliminary Policy Analysis Proposal. (5% of Course Grade. Due January 22). The policy analysis proposal is a short statement of the research topic you would like to pursue for your final paper. In this short proposal you should identify a compelling policy problem and/or propose a unique policy solution that you believe government should consider. This proposal should 1) clearly define the policy challenge, and 2) briefly explain how policy change could address least one dimension of this public problem. You will also have the opportunity to respond to a question prompt related to health care, criminal justice, disaster preparedness, education, or another policy area. The written policy innovation brief should be no longer than a 1-‐2 page double-‐
spaced page summary of your proposed research topic (complete with bibliography and supporting analysis). 2 Policy Agendas Brief (5% of Course Grade. Due February 8th) This assignment asks you to prepare a short (1-‐2 page double spaced) paper explaining changes in the allocation of macropolitical attention in recent US history. The Policy Agendas Project ( ) allows researchers to track the allocation of political attention to a broad range of political issues from 1943 through today. The data analysis tool at the Policy Agendas Project allows users to explore changes in public opinion, media salience, executive orders, and congressional hearings (House, Senate and combined). This assignment requires that you prepare a written research brief containing (1) a chart generated from the policy agendas project illustrating variation in allocation of political attention to a specific issue (2) a detailed explanation of what information is provided in the graph, (3) an explanation for why macropolitical attention did or did not change in your specific issue area, and (4) whether significant policy change occurred in the area over time. The Policy Agendas brief is due at the start of class February 8th. The written policy brief should be your own work, connecting the data in the Policy Agendas project to your own policy analysis paper topic. Late papers will be penalized a half grade penalty for every day they are late. Policy Indicator Brief (5% of Course Grade. Due February 8th) This course requires that we think critically complex policy problems like poverty, income inequality, growth, community health, substance abuse, environmental quality, and freedom. To help us understand the use and limitations of policy indicators, you will be asked to prepare a short a research brief evaluating common measures of social problems in an area of interest. This assignment requires that you prepare a written research brief (1-‐2 page double spaced) summarizing (1) common measures used to track problem severity in your area of interest, (2) common critiques and controversies regarding the use and reliability of these measures, (3) whether political or policy preferences lead groups to prefer one indicator over another, (4) how historical changes in these measures have shaped problem definition, policy attention and policy development, and (5) which new or existing policies may effectively remedy the problem. The policy indicator brief is due at the start of class February 8th. The written policy brief should be your own work, connecting the policy indicator to your own policy analysis paper topic. Late papers will be penalized a half grade penalty for every day they are late. Midterms: (25% Each. Scheduled February 1st and March 14th ). There are two in-‐class midterms. These will contain a mixture of identifications and short essay questions. The exams will cover material from readings, lectures and multimedia. 3 Policy Analysis Research Paper (Due March 2nd) Your culminating assignment requires you to prepare a policy analysis paper on your substantive area(s) of interest. You will be expected to draw upon academic research and methodology to evaluate a current policy problem and/or propose an alternate policy solution. The assignment will be developed in a series of steps that include: (1) the policy analysis proposal, (2) the policy agendas or policy indicator brief, and (3) the research brief itself (March 2nd). The research paper constitutes 30% of your course grade. Late papers will be assessed a half grade penalty for every day late. More detailed guidelines for the topic and research papers will be provided early in the quarter. Participation and Discussion Activities (Ongoing. 10% of Course Grade): Performance in discussion section makes up 10% of your total grade in American Public Policy. Making a consistent contribution to class discussions, conscientiously completing individual and group assignments, and completing all readings are essential for a good participation grade. Simply attending sections will not be sufficient. For class discussions and lecture, please note that the quality of the participation is as important as the quantity. A few thoughtful well-‐reasoned comments are far preferable to many ill conceived off topic comments in class. I expect that students obey rules of mutual respect. It wouldn’t be a class in public policy if people didn’t occasionally disagree. I expect that disagreements stay civil and focused on the issues at hand. Statement Regarding Academic Honesty: A statement regarding UC Irvine’s policies related to academic honesty is located at: Students with disabilities who need accommodations are encouraged to contact the instructor. The UCI Disability Services Center is available to accommodate students. You can learn more about programs and support by visiting the UCI Disability Services Center website at , by phone: 949-‐824-‐7494 and by TDD:949-‐824-‐6272. Please come to office hours with any questions or concerns you have, or simply to make an introduction. If you cannot meet during the scheduled times, send me an email and we will set-‐up an appointment. 4 Course Topics and Readings. I may make changes to the schedule and to the readings. Please stay informed. And check the course website. Unless otherwise noted readings/audio files and videos can be located on the course website. Other readings can be downloaded from the UCI library. There are a number of optional readings, indicated with an italicized (Optional) in front of the reading. These are listed on the course website only. Please note that most sessions involve a mix of academic and popular media readings. Many of these are short, though I would encourage you to follow links embedded in the articles. January 4: Course Introduction January 6: The Art and Science of Policy Analysis: Can Policy Problems Be Studied Scientifically? Birkland Chapter 1 Wildavsky, Aaron. 1979. “The Art of Policy Analysis.” In Speaking Truth to Power: The Art and Craft of Policy Analysis. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company. Pages1-‐19. The Curious Case of Head Start in Oklahoma. Listen to act four of the linked This American Life Podcast (21 Minutes) January 8: Evidence and Anecdote in Public Policy: Health Care Crisis: Cambell, Andrea. 2012. “Down the Insurance Rabbit Hole.” NY Times OP-‐ED The Impact of the American Carceral State: Goffman, Alice. 2014. “This Fugitive Life.” NY Times OP-‐Ed. . Science on Trial: When Facts and Stories are at Odds: Angell, Marcia. 1996. “Evaluating the Health Risks of Breast Implants: The Interplay of Medical Science, The Law, and Public Opinion.“ The New England Journal of Medicine 334(23):1513-‐1518. January 11: Individual Models of Behavior in Policy. An Overview. Smith, Kevin and Christopher Larimer. 2013. The Public Policy Theory Primer 2nd Ed.. Boulder: Westview Press. Chapter 3 January 13: Targeting Individual Behavior through Policy: Deterrence, Incentives and The Risk Compensation Hypothesis. 5 January 15: January 18: January 20: January 22: January 25: January 27: Friedman, David. 1995. “Rational Criminals and Profit –Maximizing Policy: The Economic Analysis of Law and Law Enforcement.” In Mariano Tommasi and Kathryn Ierulli (eds). The New Economics of Human Behavior. Cambridge University Press. 43-‐58. Kelling, George and James Wilson. 1982. Broken Windows. The Atlantic. Pathologies of Decision-‐Making Models. Health Reform Nyhan, Brendan 2010.“Why the `Death Panel' Myth Wouldn't Die: Misinformation in the Health Care Reform Debate.” The Forum 8(1). Income Inequality Fitz, Nicholas. 2015. “Economic Inequality: It’s Far Worse Than You Think.” Scientific American. Krueger, Alan. 2003. “Economic Scene; Connecting the dots from tax cuts for the wealthy to loss of benefits.” The New York Times. Riley, Jason. 2015. “The False Income Inequality Narrative.” The Wall Street Journal. No Class. MLK Day. Collective Action Dilemmas. Olson, Mancur. 1965. The Logic of Collective Action. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, Chapters 1 and 2. Collective Action Dilemmas and Policy Problems. Ostrom, Elanor. 2008. “The Challenge of Common Pool Resources.” Environment. PRELIMINARY POLICY ANALYSIS PROPOSALS DUE Collective Action in Health Reform. The Logic of the PPACA Brill, Steven. 2013. “Bitter Pill. Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us.” Time Conover, Chris. 2013. “5 Myths in Steven Brill's Opus on Health Costs-‐-‐Part 1 and 2.” Forbes Collective Action in Health Reform. An Analysis of the PPACA 6 January 29: February 1: February 3: February 5: February 8: February 10: Stone, Deborah. 2011. “Behind the Jargon. Moral Hazard. “Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law 36(5): 886-‐896 Frank, Robert. 2013. “For Obamacare to Work, Everybody Must be In.” The New York Times. Goodman, John C. 2015. “Are the Obamacre Exchanges Heading Towards a Death Spiral?” Forbes. The Future of Health Reform and Midterm Review No Assigned Readings. MIDTERM EXAM. Bring a Blue Book and Pen. Training your Imagination. The Basics of Policy Analysis No Assigned Readings Agenda Setting. Birkland Chapter 6. Shulz, Kathryn. 2015. The Really Big One. The New Yorker. Agenda Setting: Policy Indicators and Government Attention Birkland Chapter 2 Zhang, Sarah. 2015. “Why America Still Doesn’t Have Any Good Data on Guns.” Wired. Asher, Jeff. 2015. “Murder Rates Don’t Tell Us Everything About Gun Violence.” FiveThirtyEightPolitics. POLICY AGENDAS OR POLICY INDICATOR BRIEF DUE Problem Definition, Causal Stories and Policy Images Stone, Deborah A. 1989 "Causal Stories and the Formation of Policy Agendas," Political Science Quarterly. 104:281-‐300. Metzel, Jonathan and Kenneth Macleish. 2015. “Mental Illness, Mass Shootings, and the Politics of American Firearms.” American Journal of Public Health 05(2): 240–249. 7 February 12: Understanding Policy Change. Baumgartner, Frank and Bryan Jones. 2009. Agendas and Instability in American Politics. University of Chicago Press. Chapters 4 and 5. Oremus, Will. 2015. “How Many Shootings Will It Take for America to Control Its Guns?” Slate. NRA Brief. 2015. “Australia: There Will Be Blood.” February 15: No Class: President’s Day February 17: Policy Analysis and Decision-‐Making. Birkland Chapters 8 and 9 February 19: Policy Design and the Social Construction of Target Populations. Schneider, Ann and Helen Ingram. 1993. “The Social Construction of Target Populations.” American Political Science Review Drum. Kegin. 2013. “America’s Real Criminal element: Lead.” The Mother Jones. February 22: Participants in the policy Process: Official Actors Birkland Chapter 4. February 24: Actors in the policy Process: Unofficial Actors. Birkland Chapter 5. February 26: A Policy Whose time Has Come: The Story of The Three Strikes Law in California. California Legislative Analysts Office. 2005. A Primer: Three Strikes -‐ The Impact After More Than a Decade. February 29: Innovation and Policy Diffusion. Shipan, Charles and Craig Volden. 2012. “Policy Diffusion: Seven Lessons for Scholars and Practitioners.” Public Administration Review. 8 March 2: March 4: March 7: March 9: March 11: March 14: Steinmetz, Katy. 2015. “These Five States Could Legalize Marijuana in 2016.” Time Implementation Birkland Chapter 10 Stillman, Sarah. 2012. “The Throwaways.” The New Yorker. POLICY ANALYSIS RESEARCH PAPER DUE. Implementation McDonnell, Lorainne and Richard Elmore. 1987. “Getting the Job Done: Alternative Policy Instruments.” Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 9(2):133-‐142. Wong, Alia and Terrance Ross. 2015. “When Teachers Cheat.” The Atlantic Kamenetz, Anya. 2014. “When Teachers, Not Students, Do The Cheating.” NPR Policy Feasibility Birkland Chapter 10. Policy Failure, Learning, Evaluation May, Peter. 1993. “Policy Learning and Failure.” Journal of Public Policy 12:331-‐354. Johnson, Carrie. 2014. “20 Years Later, Parts Of Major Crime Bill Viewed As Terrible Mistake.” NPR. Course Wrap Up and Final Exam Review FINAL EXAM. 1:30-‐3:30pm. Bring Blue Book and a Pen. 9 ...
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- Winter '13
- Public Policy