This book highlights a case study of federal program in Oakland that started in 1965.
The Economic Development Administration conducted the program and their goal was to help stimulate Oakland’s economy by creating sustainable jobs and completing a multitude of Public Works projects. The project had a lot of potential however it was ultimately unsuccessful. The authors dissect the project and give their recommendations for future cases of implementation. My assessment of book includes the recommendations given by the author and compares them to some of the their peers in the field of Public Administration. Key Concepts:
Implementation is divorced from policy.
Implementation is evolutionary, not revolutionary.
Good intentions and money alone do not make a policy work. Implementation is one of the more difficult steps in the policy cycle, however it seems to get the least amount of attention. Summary
In this book, Pressman and Wildavsky are pioneering the issue of implementation as a study. For their study, they profiled the Economic Development Agency and its task to rejuvenate Oakland, a city that was on the verge of joining in on the recent trend of riots that were taking place around the country. In 1965, the Public Works and Economic Development Act was passed. The Act granted the EDA the funds to help stimulate the economy of a devastated city by creating public work projects that would in turn create jobs. Eugene Foley, an EDA official took exception to Oakland. Foley not only brought in federal funds, he also brought an enthusiasm for the Oakland project that was unrivaled. Foley declared four major projects: an airport hanger ($10,650,000), a marine terminal ($10,125,000), a port industrial park ($2,100,000), and an access road to the coliseum ($414,000) (Pressman & Wildavsky, 1984, p. 30). There were other projects added later. Similar projects had been successful in rural areas, and Foley wanted that same success for the Oakland project. The project started to falter when they began to experience delays. Deals that had been made with outside companies were being compromised by new cost estimates. The EDA was beginning to find out the difference between working in a rural area versus an urban one. As the delays began to pile up, there were also management changes. Eugene Foley resigned in 1966 and with him left the enthusiasm that fueled the project. The partnering groups had already received their fee payments from the EDA. Their incentive to fulfill promises of providing black jobs was compromised and as time passed and commitments waned, the project provided few jobs and eventually went away. Cole 2
Wildavsky and Pressman used this case study and formulated their theories as to why they think the project, which had an enormous amount of potential, ultimately failed. Their theory was that implementation could not be successful if it is divorced from planning. They first pointed to the complexity of joint action. There was no doubt that all the players felt that getting blacks jobs in the bay area was important, however the problem came with the “how” and “how long”. Where Foley felt that results needed to come swiftly, others did not and their work reflected it, leading to many of the delays. Brevity was a recurring theme in this case as Foley had to spend $23 million in four months. The group had to make haste decisions, which resulted in haste planning. The authors also point out that there were too many unknown steps that needed to be taken to be successful and the more steps that need to be done, the more chances there are to fail. There were many people involved in the project that knew facts about how to implement policy, however they lacked individuals that knew how to make things happen. The project lacked the leadership to get the project out of delays, especially after Foley resigned. Wildavsky and Pressman did a good job of detailing how implementation needs to be carried out...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document