ECON 3650 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Airport Security, Policy Analysis, Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act

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Published on 11 Nov 2020
ECON 3650: Policy Analysis
Hennadige N. Thenuwara
Lecture 4 Understanding Public Policy Making
Resources: Chapter 3 MK and SF
Chapter 4 MK and SF
Policy Analysis Collecting and interpreting information that clarifies the causes and
effects of public problems and likely consequences one policy option or another to
address them. It is also a descriptive or empirical study.
Policy analysis draws from the ideas and methods of economics, political science,
sociology, psychology, philosophy and other scientific and technical fields.
Policy analysis involves assessment of policy alternatives. It is the “systematic
investigation of alternative policy options and the assembly and integration of the
evidence for and against each option”. (Chapter 4 – page 121)
Policy analysis is in part science and part political judgment.
Satisfy the need for pertinent information and thoughtful, impartial assessment in the
policy making process.
o Search for truth and build theory about policy actions and effects
o Example: Climate Change
o Synthesize research and theory to understand consequences of policy
o Example: Government accountability
o Institutions:
The Brookings Institution slightly left of center
The American Enterprise Institute right of center
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o Advocate and support preferred policies
o Example : National Rifle Association
Rational Decision Making
o Define a problem
o Indicate goals and objectives
o Consider a range of alternative solutions
o Evaluate each of the alternative to clarify their consequences
o Recommend or choose the alternative with the greatest potential for solving
the problem
Often this approach is not possible. Thus it is substituted by incremental decision
o Making modest changes
o More realistic approach, given ideological and partisan constraints, and
pressure from interest groups and other constituencies.
Steps of Policy Design and Implementation
Policy Process Model
1. Agenda Setting -
a. I identify problems already faced by the community and will be faced by the
community; not an easy task
b. conduct an analysis of the problem - Evaluate the problem and convince
that it is a problem needs expert knowledge in some cases. Some problems
are clearly visible.
c. get into the policy agenda of the government
2. Policy Formulation and Analysis
a. Specify policy and policy alternatives,
b. Specify goals and targets of policy
c. Identify instruments that can be used to achieve goals and targets
d. Identify government institutions involved in policy
e. Analyze the impact of policy and policy alternatives
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3. Policy Legitimization
a. Explain rationale of the policy and policy alternatives
b. Evaluate political climate
c. Decide on acceptance or rejection of policy
d. Prepare required legal and regulatory documents
e. Obtain necessary approvals
4. Policy Implementation
a. Allocate functions to government institutions relating to policy
b. Identify human resources requirements
c. Secure financial resources
5. Policy and Program Evaluation
a. Evaluate the impact of the policy on the welfare of people
6. Policy Change
a. Make amendments
Setting the Agenda - The public and policy makers must recognize it as a problem.
o Competition for space in the agenda
o Many important problems may not get the attention
o Current President highlighted few problems that the previous governments
neglected Egs: Moon Exploration, Border wall
o If a problem does not make it to the agenda, it will languish
o Media and interest groups have an important influence
Determinants of agenda setting
o Problem stream
various bits of information available on the problem, whom it affects
and what ways : large problems such as Airline security, safety of
nuclear power plants makes to the agenda, but controversial
problems such as climate change did not
A crisis can make it to the agenda: 911 crisis
o Policy Stream
The possible alternative policies developed by politicians, staff,
academics, interest groups, etc.
Those are circulated among specialist communities
Fittest ideas survive
Criteria for survival
o Political stream
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