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Week 8.docx

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Public Policy
Scott Aquanno

Week 8- Macroeconomic Policy  Social Learning o The principle contribution of a social learning perspective is to draw attention to the role of ideas in politics and policy o Key issues:  -how do ideas fit into the policy process  -how do those ideas change o Policy makers customarily work within a framework of ideas and standards that specify the goals of policy, the kind of instruments that can be used to attain them, and the nature of the problems they are meant to be addressing o = policy paradigm o One of the principle factors affecting policy at time 1 is policy at time 0. The most important influence in learning is previous policy. Policy responds less directly to social and economic conditions than it does to the consequences of past policy o Key arguments pushing forward the learning process are the experts in a given field of policy o First and second order change can be seen as cases of normal policymaking, namely a process that adjusts policy without challenging the overall terms of a given policy paradigm o Third order change is likely to reflect a very different process marked by radical change  Bradford o Looks at the mediation of ideas at two different levels o 1) Structural-economic relations rooted in dynamics of capitalism set boundaries on the range of legitimate ideas that will be considered o 2) Institutional-political arrangements channel competition among such legitimate ideas o = mapping the flow of new ideas through political institutions bounded by economic structures o Examines two critical junctures through this framework  1930s o Social Keynesianism = acquired visibility through the CCF; the distress caused by mass unemployment and depression o Vs o Technocratic Keynesianism = did not view capitalism as fundamentally flawed; rather the Great Depression revealed Canada’s special problems of cyclical instability rooted in staples exporting economy o = need to stabilize the economy for private investment through vastly improved forecasts o = bureaucratic rather than political project o Victory of Technocratic Keynesianism  Protest parties were penalized by the first-past the post system  Senior civil servants played a large role in the policy commissions that examined options  = counter-cyclical policy instruments preferred were not public spending but rather corporate tax cuts and automatic stabilizers  Business remained content to defer to the technocratic experts and labour lacked the organizational capacity to the national level  1970s
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