U.M. Professor Dr. Saha`s PowerPoint presentation on the structure

Dr. Robin Saha
Study of the U.S. Institute
University of Montana
July 8, 2010
 Features of U.S. political system
 Role of state government
 Definitions – policy and power – sources of power
 Public policy theories
 Historic periods of U.S. environmental policy
 Major environmental policies in the U.S.
 Policy process / policy stages / policy cycle
 Policy “actors” – strategies and tactics to influence
decision makers
 Policy typology
 Group activity (if we have time)
Features of U.S. Political System
Democratically-elected leaders
High level of citizen participation
Constitutional separation of powers among the executive, legislative, and
judicial (3) branches – horizontal fragmentation
A. Federalism – federal supremacy over state government (hierarchy or
levels of governmental authority), constitutionally-reserved state
powers, with local powers deriving from state authority – vertical
B. Resulting in dispersed and ever-contested power
Relatively open government
Primacy of individual (and corporate) freedom and private property rights
Constitutional guarantee of freedom of belief, expression, and the press, and
rights to associate with others
Powerful organized interests
Short terms for elected officials
Campaign financing allowed
10. Enduring two-party system
To read more, see: http://bensguide.gpo.gov/9-12/index.html
Public Policy
Represents government’s attempt to address and/or
solve perceived public problems and:
1. Includes the intentions, actions, and effects of
2. The intentions may or may not be publicly
3. Any formal declarations such as laws,
regulations, executive orders, and court
decisions are public policy.
Government Policy Types
Corresponding to the U.S. government structure
and the three branches of government
 Legislative policy – policies enacted by Congress,
state legislatures, and city councils
 Administrative policy – executive branch policies
established by the president, state governors, city
mayors and their political appointees, and by federal
and state agencies and city offices (bureaucracies)
 Judicial policy – policies established by the federal
and state courts
Role of State Government in Environmental Policy
 Implement federal environmental laws and programs through
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
 Must have state legislation modeled after federal legislation
(must be as or more stringent than federal laws)
 In 1980s and 1990s, developed capacity to implement
environmental and natural resource laws, accompanied by
growth in the state environmental bureaucracy (number and size
of agencies)
 States have tended to follow federal leadership
 Some states (esp. California) are environmental policy
innovators – can provide good ideas for federal (national) policy
 State can be important testing grounds for new policy
Environmental Policy
“… comprises a diversity of governmental actions that
affect or attempt to affect environmental quality or the
use of natural resources …. We cannot expect to locate
environmental policy in any single decision or statute.
Rather it is the aggregate of statutes, regulations, and
court precedents, and the attitudes and behavior of
public officials charged with making, implementing, and
enforcing them. Policies may be tangible or largely
symbolic … they may nevertheless bring about
important environmental changes over time by
influencing public beliefs and organizational values and
decision making.” – Michael Kraft (2003).
Public Policy Theories
(also see Vaughn book, Ch. 3)
 Elite theory
Policy reflects the values, preferences, and judgments of the
governing elites
Elites include powerful government officials, foundations,
corporate executives, and influential professionals such as
scientists, doctors, lawyers
Focuses on the role of leaders and leadership
Assumes elites influence (manipulate?) “the Masses” rather
than the other way around
Movement of non-elites into elite positions is slow and
controlled to maintain stability
Public Policy Theories (continued)
 Group Theory
Policy is the result of the continuous struggle among interests
groups made up of individuals or organizations with common
beliefs, values, and goals
Groups differ in the amount and type of resources (political capital),
and thus their influence over other groups and policy makers
Government acts as the neutral arbitrator.
Different groups may cancel out or check the power of other groups
Policy makers and the political system manage group conflict by
establishing rules of struggle, arranging or imposing compromises,
and balancing interests
Policy is the result of the balancing of power between competing
groups and represents an equilibrium point
 Power is ability to reward
other actors for doing what
one wants or to penalize or
punish them for working
against ones interests
Public Policy Theories (continued)
 Government Politics Model
 A “middle ground” theory that views policies as the result of
the influences of elites and organized interest groups
Assumes that policy decisions are the result of the
competition, bargaining, and compromise among a
diverse set of policy actors
Policy actors have unique interests, resources, and strategies
they use to advance their interests
Actors include government decision makers (more on policy
actors later)
Political process leads to incremental policy making, i.e.,
modest new policies and small changes to existing ones,
The political system is most likely to overcome these
tendencies in times of major crises
Non-governmental policy actors
 Interest groups (e.g., NGOs, professional associations,
unions – organized labor), their lobbyists, and
Corporations, industry trade associations, and their
Political Action Committees (PACs)
The Media
Scientists and scientific bodies
Think tanks (policy and legal research institutes)
General public, individual citizens, and public opinion
Factors Related to Interest Group Influence
 Size of group membership
 Ability to mobilize members into action
 Monetary and other resources, including technical and
scientific capabilities
Skill of its leadership
Social status and prestige of organization and leaders
Salience of policy issue to mission of the organization
Presence of absence of competing organizations
Attitudes of public officials (decision makers) toward
group and access to decision makers
Site of decision making in the political system
Historical Periods of U.S. Environmental Policy
(from Vaughn book, Ch. 1)
 Colonial period: 1607 to 1900
 Progression reforms and conservationism : 1900 to 1945
 Recreation and the age of ecology: post-WWII to 1969
 Earth Days and deregulation: 1970 to 1992
 Global awareness and gridlock: 1993 to 2000
 Rollback: 2000 to 2009
Major Public Lands and Conservation Policies
Yellowstone National Park Established (1872)
Yosemite National Park Established (1890)
Forest Reserve Act of 1891
Forest Management Act of 1897
Antiquities Act of 1906
Multiple Use and Sustained Yield Act of 1960
Wilderness Act of 1964
National Environmental Policy Act of 1970 (NEPA)
Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA)
National Forest Management Act of 1976 (NFMA)
Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA)
Alaska National Interest Land Conservation Act of 1980
 Health Forests Protection Act of 2003 (HFPA)
Major U.S. Environmental Policies
(see separate handout)
 Clean Air Act of 1970
 Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972
(Clean Water Act)
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act
(FIFRA) of 1972
Safe Water Drinking Act (SDWA) of 1974
Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) of 1976
Comprehensive Emergency Response Compensation and
Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA)
Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986
Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990
Policy Process Stages (Policy Cycle)
(also see Vaughn book, Introduction)
Moving from problem to solution:
 Problem Identification/Definition
 Agenda Setting
 Policy Formulation
 Policy Adoption/Legitimation
 Policy Implementation (and budgeting)
 Policy Evaluation
 Policy Change/Evolution
 Policy Termination or Problem Resolution
Public Policy Typology (and associated politics)
1. Distributive – grants, programs, and services that distribute resources or
projects (often “pork barrel”) with only “winners” (in the most narrow sense)
 • College student grants
 • Agricultural subsidies
 • Highways and bridges
 • Parks and other amenities
2. Redistributive – having goal of redistributing wealth, income, or opportunity
to compensate for market or government failures, with clear “winners” and
 • Welfare
 • Taxes
 • Social security
 • Affirmative action
3. Regulatory – restricting individual or groups conduct to be within acceptable
bounds with general societal benefits and costs to specific industries
 • Consumer protection
 • Workplace health and safety
 • Environmental
 • Licensing, anti-trust, etc.
Instruments of Public Policy
1. Regulation
• Laws or decrees requiring citizens or corporations to do something or not do
• Sanctions imposed for non-compliance
Governmental Management
• Direct provision of services or programs to the public, private industry, or other
levels of government
• Includes management of natural resources and environmental quality
Taxing and Spending
• Mechanism to regulate and provide services
• Also used to create incentives to encourage or discourage certain behaviors and
activities, such as smoking
Market Mechanisms
• Involve decisions to intervene or not into the market place
• Can include subsidies and other incentives, or disincentives, to encourage or
discourage certain behaviors and activities
Education, Information, and Persuasion
• Attempts to persuade people or businesses to behave a certain way
Incentive-Based Regulation
 Rather than using penalties for non-compliance, incentive-
based regulation encourages individuals, government
entities, and corporations to voluntarily perform desirable
behaviors by providing incentives, usually economic
(market-based incentives) though sometime rewards and
recognition or relief from future regulation are used.
 Examples: Cap and trade provisions for SO2 in Clean Air
Act of 1990; similar proposed programs for reducing CO2
emissions and hazardous air pollutants such as mercury;
tax credits for alternative energy; Candidate Conservation
Assurances and Agreement (CCCAs) under the Endangered
Species Act; beverage container deposits to encourage
recycling; EPA’s Energy Star program to encourage energy
In your country groups
 Pick an environmental problem or issue
 Think of policy instruments (regulation; gov’t mgt.,
taxing & spending; market mechanisms; education,
information, & persuasion) that can address or help
solve the problem
 For each policy instrument identify the level of
government and policy actors that should be involved
 Discuss obstacles or challenges to policy adoption
 Report back to full group