INTRODUCTION TO POLITICS AND POLICY 3 definitions of politics: Politics is.... •....[the process of determining] “Who gets what, when, and how?” - Laswell •....”the authoritative allocation of values (valued things)” - Easton •....”the competitive process engaged in a society to allocate scarce resources and determine priorities” - Feagin 5 Characteristics of Public Policy •Policy consists of courses of action rather than mere decisions; •Policy is purposive or goal-oriented action; •Policy is what government does, not what it says it will do or intends to do •Policy is based upon law and is authoritative [that is, it must be developed by government]; and • Policy is the result of political processes. The Production Line Model of Policy-Making Agenda-Setting Evaluation Formulation Implementation Adoption/ Legitimation Government Institutions/Actors Agenda-Setting Agenda-setting involves two basic activities: (1) problem identification and (2) priority-setting. Problems may be identified by a wide variety of political actors, both inside and outside of government, who may have competing perceptions of the problem’s cause, scope, and severity. Prioritysetting occurs when moving problems from the public agenda to the official agenda. Determining which problems are priorities and deserve government’s attention is an issue of determining “who gets access?” There are many points of access in the American political system because there is no single official agenda. Agenda-Setting Policy formulation involves working out the details of alternative strategies to address a problem placed on a government institution’s agenda. The formulation of alternative policy Formulation strategies may be carried out by professional, scientific policy analysts and planners, but more often it is an informal process in which entities that are affected by a problem and any potential policy response attempt to persuade government decision-makers of the merits of their preferred solution. In other words, formulation is a political rather than a rational process. Political actors both inside and outside of government may be involved in this stage of policy-making. 5 Types of Policy Statements • legislative enactments (statutes) • executive orders • administrative rulings • court decisions • informal policy pronouncements In the adoption/legitimation stage, government officially accepts a particular course of action from among the Agenda-Setting alternatives produced in the formulation stage [adoption means “choosing”]. A policy statement is adopted. Policy statements may take several forms. Policy statements must be adopted by government institutions because (in American society) only government is recognized as having legitimate authority to impose binding decisions on Adoption/ society. This legitimacy is Legitimation conferred by a legal/ constitutional process. Formulation Government Institutions/Actors Agenda-Setting Implementation Implementation involves doing the things to or for target groups that have been authorized by the policy statement. However, implementation is not as Formulation mechanical as mere administration. It is itself a dynamic, political process involving activities characteristic of each of the five stages of the broader policymaking process. Although implementing actions are generally carried out by a government bureaucracy, private Adoption/ individuals or businesses or non-profit Legitimation agencies may have some implementation responsibilities as well. Government Institutions/Actors Evaluation Implementation Evaluation is the measurement of policy Agenda-Setting performance and consequences in terms of policy goals and other standards. Policy evaluations may be conducted formally by policy analysts in government agencies, “policy think-tanks,” or the news media, or informally by just about anyone. Often informal, non-scientific evaluations shape perceptions of policy effectiveness more than rigorous, scientific analyses. “Feedback” occurs as a result of evaluation so that policy may be adjusted at any time. As a consequence, old problems may be redefined or new problems may be Adoption/ identified and the policy-making process Legitimation begins again. Thus, policy-making is a continual or cyclical process. Government Institutions/Actors 5 Classes of Public Policy Class Activity RESOURCE ALLOCATIVE giving, aiding, benefiting, subsidizing RESOURCE EXTRACTIVE taking, taxing, requiring time or service REGULATORY controlling behavior, setting standards, inspecting for compliance, punishing non-compliance SYMBOLIC ritualizing, moralizing, making promises, substituting rhetoric for substance INTERNAL ORGANIZATION AND MANAGEMENT organizing/managing govt. affairs, budgeting, making rules with respect to internal operation WHY DOES GOVERNMENT MAKE PUBLIC POLICY? To provide public goods/services •pure private goods •pure public goods and the free-rider problem •merit goods To counter the problem of externalities To deal with the problems of adverse selection and moral hazard Externalities • A positive externality exists when all of the social benefits associated with the production and consumption of a good or service are not captured by the private market. When a positive externality exists the private market produces a less-than socially optimal level of output. There is too little production. Government usually attempts to increase the level of output by subsidizing the production of the good or service or by providing the good or service itself. An example of a good/service with positive externalities is childhood immunizations (public health benefits). • A negative externality exists when all of the social costs associated with the production and consumption of a good or service are not captured by the private market. When a negative externality exists the private market produces a more-than socially optimal level of output. There is too much production. Government usually attempts to decrease the level of output by placing regulations or taxes on the production or consumption of the good or service. An example of a good/service with negative externalities is motor vehicles (pollution). Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard • Adverse selection is the tendency for people to enter into agreements in which they can use private information (information that is known only to themselves because it is too costly for anyone else to obtain) to their own advantage and to the disadvantage of the less informed party. •Moral hazard exists when one of the parties to an agreement has an incentive after the agreement is made to act in a manner that brings additional benefit to himself or herself at the expense of the other party (it is too costly for the injured party to monitor the actions of the advantaged party). EXAMPLE: Health Care Insurance Adverse selection exists in health insurance because there is a tendency for people who know they have a greater chance than average of falling ill to be the ones most likely to buy health insurance. Moral hazard is the tendency for people who are covered by insurance to use more health care services or to be less careful about avoiding health risks than they otherwise would.