Summary of Chapter 2 American Public Policy

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Chapter one of American Public Policy, by B. Guy Peters, gives an in depth explanation of what American public policy is. The definition that Peters gives of Public policy is the” sum of government activities whether pursued directly or through agents, as those activities have an influence on the lives of citizens” (4). This definition of public policy can be categorized into three levels that will make differences in citizen’s lives. The first level is policy choices. This level is when, “decisions made by politicians, civil servants, or other granted authority that are directed toward using public power to affect the lives of the citizens” (4). All of these choices that are made by the president, congressman, or others can evolve into a policy that can be put into action. The second level is policy outputs. This level is “policy choices put into action” (4). Policy outputs are when the government is “spending money, hiring people, or promulgating regulations that are designed to affect the economy and society” (4). The policy outputs can also be described as programs. The third level is policy impacts. This level is the “effects that policy outputs have on citizens” (5). These effects could be from making sure citizens are getting the money they deserve, getting the right health care, and even protecting them from pollutants in the air and water. Policy impacts can be affected by the policy choices and outputs, and whether policies are successful or not. Public policy is the result of “complex interactions among a number of complex institutions” (5). That is why understanding policymaking in our government is necessary. Chapter two of American Public Policy explains the structure of policymaking in our government. It is said that American government has “a number of structures but no real organization, for the fundamental characteristic of the structure is the absence of effective coordination and control” (23). However, this was done intentionally because...
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