Monday, November 12, 2012
Lecture # 7 – Policy Instruments & Staples Theory
SOSC 1200 – Canadian Problems
Policy Instruments & Staples Theory:
A. 1.) Public Policy & Fundamental Values:
- Every Old Fool Likes Eating Apples Daily:
o Efficiency: The utilization of scarce resources.
o Openness: How, why, and on what basis decisions are made. Levels of input and
participation in the decision making process.
o Fairness: Procedures. How “things” are done.
o Equality: Impartiality before the law, a level playing field, same rules for all.
o Liberty: Freedom. The absence of coercion.
o Equity: The distributions of actions and reactions.
o Accountability: Are decisions markers acting in the common good? Are they
responsible for their actions?
o (Informed) Decision making: Are the decisions being made in a matter which are
educated and informed?
- 1984, Brian Mulroney becomes the Prime Minister of Canada and the Progressive
Conservative party takes government with a vast majority.
- The “Economic Council of Canada” is asked to prepare a report regarding “the burden of
government regulation on the private sector and how it needs to be dramatically
reduced”. (What values should represent the priorities of the government?).
- Each of these values is viewed differently depending on the ideological lenses in which
you view it through.
o Centre/Right Ideology:
Efficiency: Getting the most for the least. Involves leaving things to the
market to handle.
Openness: Both the private and public sector should have the
involvement of stake/share holders (not everyone). To be too open
invites rewarding your competitors.
Fairness: Same rules for everyone (Ex. Affirmative action creates
Liberty: The absence of coercion. Freedom “from”, not freedom “to”.
Equity: Low priority. Market will reward talent and punish lack of effort
Accountability: Limited to stake holders and share holders, not the
public in general. Decision making: Should be done in a rational manner, driven by experts
in a formal decision making manner.
o Centre/Left Ideology:
Efficiency: Improve rates of resource development with sustainability.
The improvement of human skills and “meaningful employment” (aka.
Openness: Involves an emphasis on inclusiveness the decision making
process. The decision maker should be open to use all (citizens).
Fairness: A need to even out a lack of fairness in the past. Removing
advantages that created discrepancy historically (Ex. Affirmative action).
Liberty: The freedom “to”. Positive definition.
Equity: High priority. Some distributions have been created through
inequality and need to be addressed.
Accountability: Firms must be accountable beyond return of
investments. Governments must be accountable because of the ever
expanding notion of the “common good”
Decision making: Those impacted by the decision (not just shareholders
and stake holders) should be involved in the decision making process.
2.) Legitimate Coercion & Behavior:
- Legitimate Coercion: Legal intrusiveness. The ability for government to force a person to
do something that they may not want to do.
- Major changes in the government post WW2 (Keynesianism, a broader sense of
- Canadian citizens have entitlements (A line in which they are not allowed to fall below).
- This notion has fallen under attack due to Keynesianism falling into disrepute (wasted
money, causing lower class to stagnate) leading an ideological shift (defect reduction
over government spending, tax reform towards efficiency rather than equity).
- Deregulation over regulation (making government policy more efficient by removing the
- Privatization over government ran businesses (seen as unfair competition for small
- Governing Instruments: The major methods by which government seeks to ensure
compliance, support, and implementation of public policy for the purpose of sustaining
or altering human behavior over time (Doern and Fidd).
1.) Are they means? Or are they ends? They are both in themselves as they are
2.) May not be directed completely at solving a problem (altering behavior) but for
financial means in terms of purpose. 3.) These methods seek to “ensure compliance and support”. If citizens do not like
it, they may avoid it. If they don’t like certain tax policies, instances of tax
evasion may rise.
4.) The instance of “coercion” leads to cast government in a negative light.
o Some refer to “Government instruments “as “Policy instruments”. It means the
3.) Death & Taxes: A Case Study:
- Smoking was deemed as a personal issue, and not a public problem for a time.
- Over time, this changed and then required government intervention.
- Self regulation is the preferred option, but it does not a