Understanding Public Policy Policy Analysis by Thomas Dye Presented by Anil Chandrika 21st Aug 2012 NIDA
Policy: In Search of Definition David Easton ‘s Definition“The authoritative allocation of values for the whole society”. Which means only the government can “ authoritatively” act on the “ whole” society, and everything the government chooses to do or not do results on the “ allocation of values”.
Policy: In Search of Definition Harold Lasswell and Abraham Kaplan Definition“a projected program of goals, values and practices”. Which means that there need to be a clear direction with clear objective with both moral and economical atributes with clear action plan”.
Policy: In Search of Definition Carl Friedrick’s Definition“It is essential for policy concept that there be goal, objective or purpose”. Which was very similar to the earlier definition- but the real challenge to insist that government actions must have a “goal” in order to qualify as “policy” which once can never be sure.
Policy: In Search of Definition Charles O.Jones’s Definition“The Distinction among various proposal (specfied means for achieving goals); programs (authorized means for achieving goals); decisions (specfied actions taken to implement programs); and effects ( the measurable impact of the programme)”. The problem here is to assume that decisions, programs, goals and effects are linked….in many case they are not.
Policy: In Search of Definition Heinz Eulau and Kenneth Prewitt’s Defines“Policy is defined as a ‘standing decision’ characterized by behavioral consistency and repetitiveness on the part of both those who make it and those who abide by it”. can the Government activities be characterized by “consistency and repetitiveness”?.
Policy: In Search of DefinitionStuart S. Negal’s Definition“Public Policy can be defined as determining which of various alternative public or governmental policy will most achieve a given set of goals in light of the relations between the policies and the goals.
Stuart S. Negal’s Definition (cont’d) “That definition brings out four key elements of policy evaluation which are: Goals, including normative constraints and relative weights for the goals. Policies, programs, projects, decisions, options, means, or other alternatives that are available for achieving the goals. Relations between the policies and the goals, including relations that are established by intuition, authority, statistics, observation, deduction, guesses, or other means Draw a conclusion as to which policy or combination of policies is best to adopt in light of the goals, policies, and relations.
Policy: In Search of Definition Aron Wildovsky’s Definition“ Policyis a process as well as a product. It is used to refer to a process of decision-making and also the product of that process.” (1979)
Policy: In Search of Definition Frank Fischer’s Definition “Public policy is a discursive construct rather than a self- defining phenomenon.” (Fischer, 2003) ” “We define policy as a political agreement on a course of action (or inaction) designed to resolve or mitigate problems on the political agenda. This agreement…is an intellectual constructs rather than a self-defining phenomenon. Discursively constructed, there can be no inherently unique decision, institutions, or actors constituting public policy that are to be identified, uncovered, and explained. Public policy, as such, is an analytical category with a substantive content cannot be simply researched; more fundamentally, it has to be interpreted.”
Policy: In Search of DefinitionStephen J. Ball’s Definition“Policy is clearly a matter of the ‘authoritative allocation of values’; policies are the operational statements of values, ‘statements of prescriptive intent’ (Kogan 1975). But values do not float free of their social context. We need to ask whose values are validated in policy, and whose are not. Thus, ‘The authoritative allocation of values draws our attention to the centrality of power and control in the concept of policy’ (Prunty 1985). Policies project images of an ideal society (education policies project definitions of what counts as education).”
Policy: In Search of DefinitionThomas Dye’s Definition:“Public Policy is concerned with what governments do, why they do it, and what difference it makes. It is about political (/ social) science(s) and the ability of this discipline to describe, analyze, and explain public policy”.“ Public policy is whatever government choose to do or not to do.”
Introduction – What is Public Policy?Many scholars have given different definitions to public policy. Public policy is ‘anything a government chooses to do or not to do’ (Thomas Dye). This definition means that the primary agent of public policy is a government – initiatives sanctioned by government –eg. Healthcare or education policy impacts the decisions of medical and education staff Private business decisions, decisions by charitable organizations, interest groups and other social groups or individuals are not in themselves public policies.
Introduction – What is Public Policy?• Governments enjoy a special role in public policy-making due to their unique ability to make authoritative decisions on behalf of citizens, which are backed up by legislation, laws, rules and regulations as well as sanctions for offenders in the event of non- compliance.• Thomas Dye’s definition also highlights the fact that public policy- making involves a fundamental choice on the part of governments to do something or to do nothing about a problem, and that decision is made by elected representatives or government officials.• Closely related to this point, Dye’s definition also highlights the fact that a public policy is a conscious choice of a government. That is government actions and decisions often yield unintended consequences. For example, an effort to control the sale of a product deemed to be harmful for public consumption may increase smuggling and shoot up its price – people operate illegally on the black market.
Introduction – What is Public Policy?• Dye’s three points are central to understanding public policy as an applied problem-solving process, and his definition brings the idea of conscious, deliberate government decisions to the fore in its analysis.• Governments often make policies based on a series of decisions that cumulatively contribute to an outcome. Eg: health policy involves building health facilities, certifying personnel and treatment, and financing healthcare provision among many other related actions.• These various interrelated decisions are often made by different individuals and agencies within government such as the Cabinet, Ministries of Finance, Health and even social welfare and by various departments and agencies within the ministries
Why study Public Policy?There are three main reasona. Scientific Understanding: To understand the causes and consequences of policy decisions, which will improve our knowledge of society. It can act as both dependent and independent variable Example: as a dependent variable on can ask what socioeconomic condition and political systems characteristics operated to shape certain policies? Alternatively it can be viewed as independendent variable as what impact public policy has on the society and its political systemb. Problem Solving: To study the cause and consequences of the policy which can be used to seek solutions and practical problems “factual knowledge is prerequisite to prescribing for the ills of society”c. Policy Recommendations: It can be for political purposes Example: to ensure that the nation adopts the “right” policies to achieve the “right” goals.
What can we learn about Public Policy?a. Description: we can learn what the Government is doing(and not doing) in welfare, defence, education, Health, environment, taxation etc Example: What is the medicare or Medicaid program promise for the poor? What agreements have US and Russia reached on Nuclear weapons? How much money was paid on taxes? What is the environment protection plans? etcb. Causes: we can inquire about the causes, or determinants, of public policy. Why do government do what they do? We can inquire about the effects of political institutions, processes and behaviours Example: What are the effects of recession on government spending? What is the effect of an inceasingly older populations on the social security and medicare progrmme?c. Consequences: we can inquire into the impacts, like what diffrence, if any,does public policy make in people’s lives? Example: Does capital punishment deter crime? Are welfare programs a disincentive to work?
Policy Analysis and Policy Advocacy• Policy analysis encouranges scholars and students to attack critical policy issues with tools of systematic inquiry • -A primary concern with explanations rather than prescriptions • -A regorous search for the causes and consequences of public policies • - An effort to develop and test general propositions about the causes and concequences of public policy and to accumulate reliable research findings on general relevance.• Policy advocacy requires the skills of rehetoric, persuasion, organization and activism.
Studying Public Policy, Its Causes and ConsequencesSociety Political systems Public Policies Institutions, Processes, Behaviours Social and Economic Public Policies ConditionsIncluding: Including: Including:Wealth and Income Insititutions Civil rightsInflations, recessions, Federalism Educational policiesUnemployments Seprations of powers Welface PoliciesEducational achievements Parties Health Crae PoliciesEnvironmental Quality Interest Groups Criminal justiceReligious and Ethnic Voting Behaviours Taxationsmake-up Bureaucracy Spending and deficitsRacial Compositive Power Structure Defense PoliciesHealth and longevity Congress, President, regulationsInequalities, Coutrsdiscriminations
Policy Analysis in action: AchievingEducational opportunitiesPolicy analysis:The coleman Report:- It specifically studied the impact of schools onthe aspiration and achievement levels of the pupils. This was the firstevry comprehensive analysis of American Public school system andcollected a smaple size of 600,000 children, 60,000 teachers and4,000 schools.Key findings of the study was that the students learning orachievements has got nothing to do with the number of students in aclass, or amount of money spend on each pupil, library, laboratories,teachers salaries, quality of education or curriculum etcBut the key factors affectings the students learning was 1) familybackground and 2) the family background of the classmates
Policy Analysis in action: AchievingEducational opportunitiesPolicy Implications:If the coleman reports was correct, it is pointlesssimply to pour more money into the existingsystem of public education – Raising per pupilexpenditure, increasing teachers salaries,lowering the number of pupil per classrooms,providing better libraries, laboratories,educational frills etc as these polices werefound to have no significant impact on thelearning
Why Study Public Policy• Dye and others’ definitions provide the general outline of what public policy is. Their underlying reliance on appreciating the contribution of actors, structures, and ideas to making policy also suggests some methodological obligations when studying public policy.• Sometimes a government may announce the reason why it made certain decisions, and these reasons may even be true. But it is also common for a government not to give any reason for its policy preferences, or for the publicly stated reason not to be the actual reason a decision was taken.• In such situations, it is left to analysts to determine why a particular alternative was chosen and, very often, why some other seemingly more attractive option was not.
Why study Public Policy• How analysts explain specific public policy outcomes is influenced by the frameworks they employ and the aspects of policy-making these frameworks emphasize or downplay. These models and techniques orient analysts towards one of two broad approaches:• 1) there are those who believe that reasonably objective analysis of policy goals and outcomes is possible and that these subjects can be explored with standard social science methodologies for collecting data and analyzing them.• In this positivist view, students of public policy must be skilled in evaluating policy outcomes and understanding. For example, why a policy was not implemented as intended and failed, or why it may have succeeded despite poor implementation.
Why study Public Policy• Other analysts embrace a more subjective interpretive or post- positivist’ techniques to help them distinguish and critique government aims, intentions and actions. For example, they examine how decision-makers assume that human behaviour influence their decisions to use certain policy implementation techniques.• The positivist and post-positivist approaches serve to underscore how orientations towards policy-making as a social phenomenon can affect analytical techniques and outcomes.• This difference in methods and approaches to policy-making underlies the distinction drawn between policy analysis and policy studies.
Policy Analysis and Political Conflict• Policy issues are decided not by analysts but by political actors.• Policy analysis sometimes produce unexpected and even embarrassing findings, that public policies do not always work as intended, and that different political interests will interpret their findings of policy research differently – accepting, rejecting, or using these findings as they fit their own purpose.
Policy Analysis and the quest for solutions• The question is can Policy analysis ever provide “ solutions”?• This could be because• A) Limits in Government Power• B) Disagreements over the problems