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Midterm Notes.docx

69 Pages

Political Science
Course Code
POLS 3250
Charmain Derferd

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Chapter 1 Policy Analysis Concepts and PracticePublic polices provide both guidance for government officials and accountable links to citizens What is Public PolicyThe very nature of intelligent and accountable governance in a democracy demands more than mere decisions it demands decisionmaking guide by a framework Public policycourse of action or inaction chosen by public authorities to address a given problem or interrelated set of problemsPolicies are guides to a range of related actions in a given field Policy makersomeone who develops these guidesPolicy taker someone who operates within the policy framework applying it to new situations RochefortCobboDecisionmaking in crisis situations is synonymous with an emergency mentality that enables quick responses but also tended to produce temporary BandAid solutions to major public problems Public policy is seen by policymakers and citizens as a means of dealing with problems or sometimes with opportunitiesPolicies are largely instrumental that is they are not ends in themselves or even good in themselves but are instruments or tools to tackle issues of concern to The political community Problems and opportunities are defined as such only in relation to goals or things we value In public policymaking to use the right tool means both using the tool best suited in an instrumental sense to the task as well as the tool that is consistent with a morally acceptable range of government behavior Rational roots of policy analysis 1960soHeld out the hope that with enough data and analysis policy problems could be solved largely in technical terms without too much contamination by valuesoA more recent trendAlmost everything in policy analysis is affected by values and that consequently the challenge is to develop techniques and processes of tackling public problems that encourage exchanges and ultimately consensusbuilding among citizens politicians and experts Most important value in public policythe public interestThe Values and Ethics Code for the Public ServiceoThe democratic mission of the Public Service is to assist Ministers under law to serve the public interestoStates public servants in fulfilling their official duties and responsibilities shall make decisions in the public interest The Tait ReportoA fundamental value of public service is loyalty to the public interest or the public good and argued that devotion to the public interest was the defining characteristic of the public service as a professionPublic Interest Stress some balance of the majoritys views common interests within the political community eg clean water and safe streets and binding values eg respect for minorities A policy field that at first blush seems almost completely technical taxationoAt the basic level tax policy is about generating revenue for government Taxes can also be used however as instruments that encourage or discourage certain kinds of behavior lower businesstaxes for example might encourage investment while higher sin taxes on alcohol and cigarettes might discourage drinking and smoking oBoth of these dimensions entail technical considerations what is the ideal or best level and incidence of taxation to both produce revenues and have the desired policy outcomes Policies rarely tackle single problems rather they deal with clusters of entangled problems that may have contradictory solutionsPolicy design becomes a process of balancing different solutions that address different aspects of a cluster of problemsoEx Kyoto Protocol The House of Commons I has found itself working to resolve the inherent contradiction between two of its stated policy goals first the extraction and sale of fossil fuel in order to contribute to economic development and second reductions in fossil fuel consumption Complicationsthere is the question of how to meet these more stringent targetsthrough instruments like a carbon tax or hard caps on emissions AND there is the regional character of the Canadian economyWestern provinces in particular Alberta with its tar sands are most exposed if the federal government moves seriously to curtail emissions Character of a public policy is that it is a guide to action a plan a framework a course of action or inaction designed to deal with problems Thomas DyePublic policy is defined as Whatever governments choose to do or not to doHarold LaswellDefined public policy as the most important choicesAll of these definitions are grounded in the rational model of what it means to make decisions and respond to problems policy or strategy is formulated consciously preferably analytically and made explicit and then implemented formally MintzbergJorgensenEmergent strategiesPolicy what governments actually do not what they say or intend When we speak of public policy we are referring to policies that deal with public problems not organizational routines or structure Policy comes from those who have the legitimate authority to impose normative guidelines for action In a democracy policy is made by elected officials in concert with advisors from the higher levels of the administrationSince the minister is the elected official at the apex of the government department only he or she has the right to enunciate policyoIf the written documents say one thing and the minister says something else then that something else at least temporarily is the policyoOnce a policy has been authoritatively announced nonelected officials canand usually are required to rearticulate and finetune policyoThey also have an obligation to implement policy through programsoThe judiciary can get into the policy game by rendering judgments as to whether legislation is constitutionalPolicy analysistrying to make sense of a policy statementinvolves a fair amount of detective work in tracking down both the policy statement and the supporting rationale in terms of problem definition Every policy has three key elementsoDefinition of problems oGoals that are to be achieved oThe instruments or means whereby the problem is to be addressed and the goals achieved PROBLEM DEFINITION oThe central element of a policy statementoFirst problems have to be recognized and definedRecognition might be nothing more than a sense that something is wrong or that some new situation is looming This often happens as a result of changes in some fairly systematic indicator that suggest a problem ie highway deaths disease rates oSecond the process of problem definition can either be exhaustive or casualoThird problems usually come in clusters and so problem definitions typically operate across a range of dimensionsoFourth problems can sometimes appear in the guise of a substantially changed context or situation more like new realities or opportunities to which we have to adapt ie foreign policy and 911oFifth all problem definitions have a causal character they indicate what the problem or issue is and bundle that with some indication of the factors that led to it in the first placeoBound to policy goalsPOLICY GOALSoGeneral goals or policyspecific goals oGeneral goalsEx Health care policy has as its most general goal the maintenance and improvement of health among the Canadian population
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