PLS 304 – Lecture Notes
Public Policy Process
Stages of the Policy Process Initiation/Agenda Setting − Policy cycle starts when government pays serious attention to an issue − Why does government pay attention to some issues and not others? − There are always more problems than there is time or political will to address − New information does not in and of itself place an issue on the agenda. Often some sort of political propellant that attracts political sponsors and public/media attention − Focus at this stage of the process is on problem definition − Two types of agendas − Institutional, governmental, or official agenda: Those that government acts on. − Institutional agenda are those problems that legislators or public officials feel obliged to take appropriate measures − Congress, the President, or Courts can initiate official agendas at the federal level − Policy makers respond to popular demand (pluralist model) or it is set by those at the top of political/economic hierarchies (elitist model) − The governmental agenda can also be a graveyard for public problems – relatively few issues survive this stage of the process − Systemic or noninstitutional agenda: Those on which action is often delayed. − Systemic agenda are the set of issues that the political communities see as meriting attention by the public. − These issues don’t always get acted upon. This involves moving an issue to the governmental agenda – the set of items up for active and serious consideration by decisionmakers − Pluralist vs. Elitist models − Pluralist model argues that policy makers determine the institutional agenda in response to widespread popular demand. More concerned with how policy concerns reach the agenda − Issues must have the following characteristics to be elevated on institutional agendas − Specificity − Social significance − Temporal relevance – short vs. long-term relevance − Simplicity – easily understood − Categorical precedence – matters that are routine are more likely to take precedence than issues that are unique − Elitist model argues that those...