Policy Process

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PLS 304 – Introduction to Public Policy Analysis Mark T. Imperial Topic: The Policy Process Some basic terms and concepts − Separation of powers: federal constitution grants each branch of government specific but overlapping legal authority − Federalism: sharing of authority between a national and subnational level of government − Policy actors: many different players in the policymaking process − Policy: purposive course of action that an individual or group consistently follows in dealing with a problem. Various elements of a policy include: − Intentions: purposes of government action − Goals: stated ends to be achieved − Plans or proposals: means for achieving goals − Programs: authorized means for pursuing goals − Decisions or choices: specific actions that are taken to set goals, develop plans, and implement and evaluate programs − Effects: the effects that programs have on society, whether intended or unintended − Public policy is a course of government action or inaction in response to public problems. It is associated with formally approved policy goals and means, as well as the regulations and practices of agencies that implement programs. It is not made in a vacuum but rather is influenced by − Social and economic conditions − Prevailing political values − Public mood at any given time − Structure of government − National and local cultural norms − Policy outputs: the formal actions that government takes to pursue its goals − Policy outcomes: the effects such actions have on society − Economic rationality or rational actor model: Assumes that human beings are guided only by the prospect of individual profit or other forms of utility. Political scientists from the public choice perspective often adopt this assumption although many use a loser definition of this utility maximization function. People chose the course of action that yields the maximum net gain.

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PLS 304 – Lecture Notes

Public Policy Process

Stages of the Policy Process

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