Chapter 4.doc

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10 Apr 2012

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POLS 3250
Chp. 4 – Policy Instruments and Design
Policy Design
Is a mix of inspiration and technique
Inspiration comes in framing the policy issue in ways that make sense
of the problem, and provide a broad sketch of how to tackle it
Technique comes in the detailing of what tools to use, and in what
combination, to achieve a given end
Is about choosing the most appropriate instrument to deal with the policy
problem as it has been defined in order to achieve a given policy goal
Key criteria in instrument choice and policy design
Effectiveness – getting the job done
Efficiency – getting the job done with the least resources
There is little agreement (or knowledge) of how and when particular mixes of
instruments should be used in policy design
Policy Instruments
Usually refer to the technical means of achieving a goal (ex) tax or
Refers to the organizational structure and processes to execute an
Policy instruments and implementation often overlap, for example, a
partnership between a nongovernmental agency and a governmental
Inventory and the Dynamics of Instrument Choice
Any inventory of policy instruments will be a snapshot of what is considered
legitimate and efficacious at any given time
For example, policy-makers almost always have to consider the basics of
the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (equality, equity, liberty,
and rights) when forming a policy, in order for the policy to be
considered legitimate by the public
Doern and Phidd’s Five Broad Categories of Policy Instruments
1) Self-regulation
2) Exhortation
3) Expenditure
4) Regulation (including taxation)
5) Public ownership
As one moves from the first category to the last, one moves along a
continuum of legitimate coercion
Argue that all liberal democracies involve some degree of imposition or
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coercion, but attempt to use the lease coercive instrument as possible
Hood and Margetts “NATO” Scheme of Policy Instruments
Outlines the different resources governments have at their disposal to
effect policy change
NNodality (information resources)
T – Treasure (or money)
O – Organization (or personnel)
Lester Salamon’s Classification of Policy Instruments
(Table 4.1)
Government Corporations and Government-Sponsored Enterprises
Used for activities that are expected to be revenue producing and
potentially self-sustaining (but doesn’t need to be the case)
Economic Regulation
Controls the entry and exit of firms (entry controls), prices (price
controls), and/or output (production controls)
Aimed at ensuring competitive markets for goods and services and
avoiding consumer and other harms when such markets are not feasible
Social Regulation
Aimed at restricting the behaviours that directly threaten public health,
safety, welfare, or well-being
Ex – environmental pollution, unsafe working environments, unhealthy
living conditions, and social exclusion
Government Insurance
Tool where governments can compensate individuals or firms for losses
from certain specified events
Public Information
Tool for eliciting desired policy outcomes
Policy-makers inform an audience of target actors about a policy issue to
influence what people think, know, or believe when they engage in
target behaviour
Corrective Taxes, Charges and Tradable Permits
Using prices and other market mechanisms to create financial incentives
for individuals to change their behaviour in ways that reduce social
harms or secure benefits for society at large
Rely on financial penalties or rewards
Procurement Contracting
A business arrangement between a government agency and a private
entity in which the private entity promises, in exchange for money, to
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