WEEK 2 PAP3350
What is “public policy”?
WHAT DISTINGUISHES “PUBLIC POLICY” FROM OTHER POLICIES?
Public Policy Defined
Thomas Dye (1972)
“Anything a government chooses to do or not do.”
• Government as primary agent
• Is government alone?
• Involves fundamental choices
• Are choices unlimited?
• Conscious decisions
• But is all behaviour intentional?
WE CAN BREAK THE DEVELOPMENT OF PUBLIC POLICY INTO A SERIES OF STEPS
Exploring Public Policy
What things matter and why?
Approaches to the Study of Public Policy
Interests, Ideas, and Institutions
Agendas, Problems, Decisions, Actions, Evaluations
Policy Components and Policy Effects
Instruments and Outcomes
Did you know?
A bachelor’s degree is:
Designed to acquaint students with the basic conceptual approaches and methodologies
of the principle discipline
Designed to provide graduates with knowledge and skills that enable them to develop
the capacity for independent intellectual work
WEEK 2 Sept 10
• “What governments do or do not do”
• Rules to guide decisions and achieve certain actions
• Courses of action, regulatory measures, laws, and spending priorities that surround a particular
phenomenon or set of issues
THE POLICY CYCLE
• Breaking down the development of public policy into specific stages
• Policy Formulation
• Policy Implementation
• Policy Evaluation The Policy Context
• Socio-Demographic Characteristics
• Existing Legacies
• Domestic Policy Actors
• International System
• FORM OF GOVERNMENT:
• CONFIGURATION OF GOVERNMENT:
• Constitutional Monarchy or Republic
• Capitalism and Market Orientation
• Control of production concentrated in the hands of a small section of the population
• Labour more widely distributed across the population
• Ownership of production in private hands
• Firms need to make profits
• Firms need stable and secure environments in which to operate
“Of, pertaining to or characterized by a combination of sociological and demographic characteristics”
• Characteristics of the broader population
• Level of education
• Household wealth
• Family status
• Characteristics of the target population
• Policies are not made in a vacuum
• History of the polity in question
• LIKE WHAT?
• Pre-existing laws, policies, or practices that may be pertinent for a new initiative
• EXAMPLE: Rob Ford, immigration laws and gun crime in Toronto
• “I don’t know, and that’s what I’m going to sit down with the prime minister and
find out, how our immigration laws work. Obviously I have an idea, but whatever I can do to get ‘em out of the city I’m going t. Regardless of if they
have family or friends, I don’t want these people, if they’re convicted of a gun
crime, to have anything to do with the city of Toronto.”
• Elected Politicians
• Executive and Legislators
• The Public
• Surprisingly marginal
• Crafting and Implementing
• Political Parties
• Gatekeepers and Indirect Influence
• Interest Groups
• Information and Mobilization
• Think Tanks
• Information and Expertise
• Individuals as Advisors
• Members of International Organizations
• IMF versus the UN
• International Agreements
• NAFTA versus treaty on child soldiers
• International Regimes
• Moral codes?
WEEK 3 Sept 17, 2012
LAST WEEK RECAP
• Deconstructed the “policy context”
• Setting within which policy is made
• Context involves important features that can shape:
• The problems that emerge
• Dynamics in the policy cycle
• Products (or outputs) of the policy cycle
• Results (or outcomes) of policies themselves
o 6 features of the policy context: political, economics, socio demographic, existing legacies,
domestic actors, international systems.
o Output: of a policy cycle: a piece of legislation. Ontario government putting kids first act
o Outcome: how that piece of legislation is affecting ppl. The result.
EXPLAINING WHAT POLICIES ARE -
• Markets are most efficient – BUT – not always
• Governments act to correct market failures
• Public Goods
• Tragedy of the Commons
• Natural Monopolies • Externalities
• Imperfect Information
• Destructive Competition
-What policies are and why they exist. Why government act is certain ways. Give rational for
government actions. Identify what kind of probs that commonly occurs.
-Markets are pretty good places. They are very good at managing cost , benefits, supply, demands.
Privat actors can do a lot of things. Just cuz they are good dosnt mean markets are perfect. Flaws keep
coming up over again. Flaws that government are suppose to step in and fix it.
-Public good: good that is used by the public. And not a single individual is responsible for paying for it.
Ex: road or traffic light. Everyone has equal access to it and easy access to it. The good is still good to
others after its being used by someone.
A private actors cant inverts and go and make money off of a traffic light because no one pays for traffic
light fees. Government needs to invest in it to make sure they are available for the public.
-Tragedy of commons: Commun piece of land, that u cant prevent from ppl using but it needs to be
mananged. But ppl are rly bad are regulating their bad behaviour. Ex: fisheries in the oceans, ppl would
come fish, theres no more fish so they closed it now no one can fish there.
Theres needs to be enforcements. You need to monitor it, you need regulations, and a enforcement.
-Natural Monopolies: ex telecommunications, BELL. The entery cost of businesses is so high. To creat a
market, it is very expansive. Ex: making the railway was very expensive. BELL was the first movers, they
brought disproportional benefits, no competition so they can increase the money n costs. Regulations to
make sure its canadian own companies, fear of usa dominates economicly. Canada is a big country that’s
why telecomunication is so expensive and air travel are so expensive.
Require regulations, setting standards,
-Externalities: known as productions cost not being worn by producers. Producers not paying for the
issues they may create. Botteled water: water companies are paying for the future issues, theyr just
taking water now. This is negative externality, also fisheries.
A positive externality is the fact the all the educated in ottawa affects all of Canada in a good way. Being
vaccinated is a positive externality, being able to go to school and learn, prevents diseases from
-Imperfect Information: when consumers lack a certain info that is necessary to make a decision.
Companies always keep things from consumers and not tell them. Ex: drug companies keeping side
effects away from patients, not telling them. Nutritional info on unpackaged food, like how much
calories are in a mcdonalds milkshake.
-Destructive Competition: situations with overly aggressive competitions. Very cheap to enter in the
industry. Then you have companies that have poor quality services, affecting social welfare. Ex: moving
companies, shawarma shops nigga, restaus,
Methodological Approaches to Studying Public Policy
• Objective analysis of policy goals and outcomes
• Collect data and measure effects
• Post-positive (Subjective interpretive)
• Assumptions of decision-makers considered
• Critique government aims, intentions, and actions
o Positivism:Generate knowleged. So we can create law like states o Post-positive:Reality existes, it is only imperfectly aprehendable we can never understand it
perfecly. The reason is the our human interlligence if floudds?? Reality is influeanced by our
own biais. Challenges the idea that we can creat law like states that are generalizable.
o Ways that construct the way ppl do research.
Approach: Public Choice
• Unit of Analysis - Individual
• Actors act “rationally” – maximize utility for minimum effort
• Self-interest toward fixed and rank ordered preferences
• Policy process one of competitive “rent-seeking” behaviour
• Prisoner’s Dilemma and Free-Riding
• Endless expansion of the state’s provision of goods and services – so you need institutions
• Functionalist view
o Public choice therory also known at rational choice theory.
o Unit of analysis: what is the focal point of the researcher. The key aspect of study of the
researcher. Understand why governments act, why individuals make decisions. Rests on the
foundational believes. Try to maximize our preferences, what’s best for us, with a minimal effort
and minimal costs. Ex: selecting courses for uni.
o Rent seeking behaviour: when u try to get benefits without paying for the cost. Maximize their
own budgets and profits. Everyones gana ask for more money then what they actually need.
o Prisoners dilemma: acting rational: maximizing their benefits, ex: of the bachelor pad video.
o Free riding: were ppl will participate and say theyr participating in things but wont actually do
anything and contribute. Thinking that they can sit back and think that somebody else can do
the job. Ex: group projects. What leads to free riding: the group size can be big, so ppl can just
hide in the group. You need to monitor the group to make sure everyone is participating. Ex:
reading the magazin online (service for free) while the rest of the ppl are buying it to get it.
o Ex: ppl who don’t get vaccinated are free-riding on the ppl who get vaccinated.
o Critics of rationally choice: assumes that all of us are oriented to the cost benefits. Claims to be
value free objectif, but is not. Not good at explaining rational outcomes, things that don’t make
sence at all. Has a tendency to disregard the significance of contence
Approach: Class Analysis
• Unit of Analysis - Collective
• Organized interests and associations that seek to influence policy agendas
• Marxist analysis with two classes contesting political and economic power
• Modes of production + Means of production
• Instrumentalist view - policies serving the interests of capital
• Structuralist view – influence of wc on the state
o Class Analysis: you take the collective as the unitity. Group interests. Understand whats going on
to the individual. Assumption that its an organised interests. Class (high mediam, low class of ppl
in the society). What type of job do u have, that relates to the type of class you are.. Relates to
wat ur interests are.
o What important is not the individual, its collectivities. Collectivities relationship to the market.
o Depending on which class u fall into, you have certain interests.
o Policies serve the interest in capital and in business. Capital in encouraging the government to
reduce these types of regulations. o Takes this collective level, you belong to a typical class of ppl. Assums the interests are
o You have diff interests in ppl who comes from bigger firms and smaller firms.
WEEK 3 Sept 19 2012
Public choice: ppl try to act rationally. Use this theory to explain why ppl don’t go vote. If theres so
many ppl in your section, and that vote for one party, then why does it matter to vote and waste your
time. Whats the point… Only 52% voted in the last election. Maximize individual preferences with
minimum effort. They take this individual rationality theory to bureaucracy.
Approach: Interests and their Influence
• Pluralism – interest groups matter most in shaping public policy
• Interest Groups and Group Politics
• “Organizations whose members act together to influence public policy in order to
promote their common interest” (Pross, 1986: 3)
• Find your executive-bureaucratic arena
• Know your context!
• Know your sector!
o Pluralism: just says that theres a multitude of interest groups. You can have diff types of
interests that come from multitude of sources. They don’t have to be economically determined.
o Ex: ppl who are interested in abortion, human laws. Environmental regulations…save the
whales, climate changes. Tuition fees. Theres a lot more.
o Identifying diff groups that are rivalling … Rivalling of interest that tells us why its taking us soo
much time to put regulations in place.
o Student associations bound together to try to lower tuition fees.
o The reason of why some groups are better than others is because they know who to connect
and talk to who is really in charge.
o Organised and institutionalised groups do better.
Mapping the World of Interests
Policy Communities -
• All societal interests and government bureaucracies active within a sector
• Important members of the policy community
• Attentive Public
• Less powerful groups and bureaucracies
• Interested media
o Groups are not all equally balanced and influencial. Groups occupy diff places.
o Policy communities: around particular sectors, comminuties are formed. Some in and some out
of the government. They are engaged in some way or formin the government sector. They don’t
all have the same interests.
o Ex: for unis, profs and students don’t have all the same interests. Profs want ppl to pay more for
education so they can get more money, while students is the opposite, they don’t want to pay
more for tuition.
o Sub-government: responsible for making decision. The more important ppl. o Attentive public: includes the media, who report on things, draw attention on certain problems.
Then influences other members of the attentive public and the sub-government, but aren’t
involved in the policy decision makings.
Mapping the World of Interests
Policy Network -
• A policy community “in action”
• Specific lines of co-operation and conflict
• Sabatier and Jenkin’s-Smith’s advocacy coalition framework
• Shifting membership over time
• Key government bureaus
• Key interest groups
o Policy network: is this community in action. Connections between the groups. Whos cooperating
with who… understanding with networks to try and achieve certain goals.
o Groups that share the same beliefs can bond together and form a coalition and advocate on
behave of those interests. Try to encourage certain types of actions.
o ex: groups that support rcmp, gun use… and the groups that don’t believe in this, and that think
this influences gun crimes. Farmers and hunters who favour gun control for other reasons tho…
COMMUNITIES AND NETWORKS VARY BOTH OVER TIME AND ACROSS SECTORS
o Things shift over time and interests aren’t always fixed.
• Unit of Analysis - Structures
• Explaining why institutions exist and how they influence political behavior
• Constraints and opportunities
• Transaction costs and path dependencies
• BETA or VHS?
• (Aside: Does this example still work . . . .?)
• Still functionalist . . ..
o Another approach to understand public policy. The political structures. Institutions are the