9 11 13 Notes

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Published on 15 Mar 2019
POLI 2070
Explaining Policy Choices (cont.), Agenda Setting & Policy Formulation
Policy formulation
o Asks the ? when the problems are accepted on the agenda, “What should
be done about it?”
o Can be influenced by many elements: rationality, habit, tradition, standard
operating procedures, politics, public opinion
o Basic formulas for attempting to solve problems in U.S.
Economic regulation rather than gov’t ownership
Social social insurance & cash transfer programs rather than
delivery of services
o Very few direct links exist that describe the best solution for any policy
problems; often rely on inertia, analogy or intuition
o Who formulates policy?
Public Bureaucracy
Institution most involved in translating problems to
Masters of routine & procedure (also highly specialized
concerning skills of bureaucrats); this knowledge is both
helpful & problematic in translating policy goals to
concrete proposals
Generally push for self-protectionism (particularly
regarding budget & influence); leads to the adoption of
incrementalism (which has a higher probability of success
& keeps the program in the exiting agency)
Will act on a problem if given the chance to retain control
of the problem area
Think Tanks & Shadow Cabinets
Sources of policy formulation that are “organizations of
professional analysts & policy formulators who usually
work on contract for a client in gov’t” (p.84)
Theoretically greater creativity & innovation than public
o Agency can guarantee desired answer by choosing
the right think tank
o Think tanks might formulate the desired solution to
guarantee returned business
Special U.S. think tanks useful to know:
o Brookings Institute (left-leaning)
o American Enterprise Institute (moderate-right-
o Heritage Foundation (right-leaning)
Universities can serve a similar function
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