Comparative Public Administration

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Comparative Public Policy Analysis examines the courses and consequences of public policies on contemporary democracies, through a strong interdisciplinary frame work. According to Hiedenhiemer states that comparative public policy “relate to the dynamics in the social and economic systems, but the primary focus is on explicitly comparative analysis of how states differ in the manner in which their policies are politically grounded” (1985:442). His argument revolved around various thresholds of visibility- the development of policy as comparative cross-nationally, comparability–The ability to compare policies (type of method undertaken), conceptual Coherence-universality of definitions and models across boarders; North America and Western Europe and durability- comparative studies subject to the various reform measures. A comparative study is critically important in policy analysis and process because it provides an environment for policy evaluation, feedback and more efficient and effective policy formulation. In order to fully conceptualize Comparative Policy studies, it is critical to understand the approaches which attempt to explain it. Two major approaches to comparative policy analysis include policy networking and policy transfer. The term policy network is used in three man ways in various literatures: as a description of governments at work, as a theory for analysing government policymaking and as a prescription for reforming policy management. According to Peterson and Bloomberg 199:8, the term policy networks refers to " a cluster of actors, each of which has an interest or "stake" in a given policy sector and the capacity to help determine policy success of failure." Networks represent a tangible form of complex relations in our information society outside formal institutions, including governments and states. They characterize a fluid kind of association of various groups of what has been termed ‘global civil society’ (Salamon et al. 2003). Authors such as Kooiman 1993 and Rhodes 1997 argue that democratic governance in contemporary society seldom resembles Weber’s notions of hierarchy and neoconservative concepts of the delivery of public goods and services through private markets. Rather, public policies are made and delivered through a “network” or hybrid arrangement consisting of various actors: state and non-state that represent both private and public entities. By definition, public policies are the responsibility of the government and are geared toward addressing a particular issue confronting society. However, modern governments have shifted “towards a sharing of tasks and responsibilities; towards doing things together instead of doing them alone.” (Thompson et al. 1991; Peters 1996) The Common Agricultural Policy formulated by the European Union, epitomizes the use of policy networking for efficient delivery of agricultural goods and services to its member states. Firstly, the European Union is a “differentiated polity” as Rhodes 1997points out. Dominant actors and decision making may tremendously vary among and between policy sectors. The EU through its expansion has led to the creation of more diverse policy structures. Policy network analysis describes the EU’s ability to develop more centres of decision-making and control, despite its “polycentricism.” According to Coleman and Perl 1999, policy network analysis is increasingly used to sensitize internationalized policy making environments such as the European Union. “EU policy-making resembles supranational policy-making in other international organisations (IOs), such as the World Trade Organization or International Monetary Fund, in that much of it is highly technical. In these and other IOs, experts who share specialized knowledge and causal understandings tend to identify and ‘bond’ with each other, and often seek to depoliticise the policy process. In the EU, as in other IOs, technical expertise ‘can become an exclusionary device, a device...
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