Based on assigned readings and material covered in class this week,
at the very least students should be
Explain the Process Model.
Describe the major processes (i.e., “stages”) that comprise the process model of public
policymaking (in order):
problem identification, agenda setting, formulating policy, policy legitimization, policy
implementation, policy evaluation
The power to decide what will be a policy issue is crucial to the
policymaking process. Deciding what will be the problem is even more important than deciding what
will be the solution.
Explain why? Do policy issues just happen?
-Deciding on what the problem is even more important than deciding the solution because there are
millions of problems, it is important to determine what the most important needs of society are so you
can address that problem (this can be very political)
-policy issues do not just happen; must create issue, dramatize it, call attention to it, and pressure gov to
do something about it
-actors: mass media, interest groups, policy-planning organizations, political candidates, public opinion
Understand the distinction between agenda setting from
the bottom up
setting from the
issue arises from society and comes to the attention of those who can make change
elites tell society what the important issues are
What does the “democratic-pluralist” model assume?
-assumes that in an open society, any problem can be identified by individuals or groups,
political candidates or leaders, political parties, mass media, or protest groups
What is the relationship between public opinion and agenda setting?
-philosopher Burke believed that representatives should serve the interest of the people but not
necessarily conform to their will when creating policy;
others have based the success of an institution on whether it facilitates popular control
-essentially, can go either way (arguably)
What about media effects?
-mass media often confuses their own opinions with the public opinion, this can help mold the
public to conform to media’s beliefs
How does popular/public opinion correlate with public policy?
-because media help mold the public opinion, it is impossible to tell whether mass opinion
shaped policy or if policy shaped mass opinion
From a public policy perspective, what are the shortcomings associated with the media and
public opinion polls.