What is Public Policy? What Are Institutions?

What is Public Policy?
What Are Institutions?
Outline: What is Public Policy?
What Are Institutions?
 Elements of Public
 Instruments of Public
Policy Definitions
 Elements of Public
Policy Discussions
 Definitions of Public
 Government’s Role in
Public Policy
 Ideology, Values and
Public Policy
 Enduring vs “New”
Dimensions of Public
Elements of Public Policy Definitions
 a.
Governmental authority—under the direct
development and influence of government; legitimacy
Develop through action or inaction—do something or
prevent something
Carry purposes and intentions—based on values,
opinions, prejudices, biases; policy is culturally driven
Have outcomes or effects on people and society—
affect the lives of individuals in direct, personal, and
continuous ways
Are problem oriented—a governmental response to a
perceived need or public demand
Elements of Public Policy Discussions
 a)
Public policy should distinguish between what
governments intend to do and what in fact they actually do
(governmental inactivity is as important as governmental
Public policy ideally involves all levels of
government and is not necessarily restricted to formal
actors—informal actors are also extremely important
Public policy is persuasive and is not solely limited
to legislation, executive orders, rules, and regulations
Public policy is an intentional course of action with
an accomplished end goal as its objective
Public policy is both long term and short term
Public Policy Definitions
 Dye: What governments choose to do or not to do
 Lasswell: Who gets what, when, and how
 Rushefsky: Government policies are courses of
action made up of a series of decisions, discrete
choices (including the choice not to act), over a
period of time
Public Policy Definitions, con’t
 Cochran et al: Public policy always refers to the actions
of government and the intentions that determine those
 Dubnick and Bardes: Public policies are the expressed
interests of government actors, relative to a public
problem, and the activities related to those interests
 Lynn: Public policy can readily be viewed as the output of
a political system that comprises individuals that come
together in small groups within the framework of
organizations characterized by hierarchy, division of labor,
and specialization
Public Policy Definitions, con’t
 Peters: Public policy is the sum of government activities,
whether directly or through agents, that have an influence
on the lives of citizens; 3 levels defined by the degree to
which they make real differences in the lives of citizens:
 Policy choices: Decisions made by politicians, civil
servants and others granted authority and directed toward
using public power to affect the lives of citizens
 Policy outputs: Policy choices being put into action-
government doing things (spending money, hiring people)
 Policy impacts: The effects that policy choices and policy
outputs have on citizens
Government and Public Policy
 a.
Regulate conflict within society
 b.
Organize society to carry on conflict with
other societies
 c.
Distribute symbolic rewards and material
 d.
Extract money
Instruments of Public Policy
 Law—rights, regulate economic and social conditions,
create burdens as well as benefits
 Services—directly provided to citizens (defense,
education, recreation); more contracting (police, prisons,
garbage collection)
 Money—provides citizens, organizations, and other
governments with money; ~51% of taxes collected
returned to the economy as transfer payments to citizens
Instruments of Public Policy, cont’
 Taxes—progressive or regressive; loopholes,
incentives to encourage or discourage particular
activities (mortgage payments and property taxes
are deductible—more than funds spent for public
 Other instruments: loan guarantees; moral suasion
Questions For You to Answer:
Why do you think it’s important to
study public policy?
What public policy areas do you
believe we need to study more than
Ideology, Values and Public Policy
 A concept that strongly affects the policy process
is ideology. Ideology consists of a set of beliefs
about what the world is like, values which are
used to appraise the state of the world (good/bad;
satisfactory /unsatisfactory), and beliefs and
attitudes about how to make the world conform to
these values.
 Three Key Values…….
 The first key value is order—the protection
of society, life, and property from both
external (foreign) and internal (criminal)
 The value of order also includes the
importance of tradition and moral values
based on religion.
Freedom or Liberty
 The second of the political values is
freedom or liberty-freedom from
governmental restraints and from
government tyranny.
 These include protections from arbitrary
government, rights of those accused of
crimes, rights to petition government, and
freedoms of speech, press, and religion.
 The third key value is equality. Equality may
have three different meanings:
 Political equality refers to voting - each person
has one vote.
 Equality of opportunity, giving each person the
right to develop his or her potential (procedural-as
long is no one is discriminated against, then the
outcomes of achievement are of little concern).
 Equality of outcome or results - here the
emphasis is on social equality through programs.
Enduring Dimensions of Public Policy
a. Democracy—government of the
people, by the people: majority public
opinion; proportional representation
b. Public interest—communities as the
starting point for our policies—policy is
about communities trying to achieve
something as communities
Enduring Dimensions, cont’
c. Equity or fairness—are outcomes of
government fair--giving veryone their due;
greatest good for the greatest number
d. Efficiency—minimize waste;
outcome is produced with the minimum of
effort expense, and waste
Enduring Dimensions, cont’
 e. Equality—equality of opportunity (ability to make of
oneself what one can—develop talents and abilities; and be
rewarded for work, initiative, and achievement—same
starting line with same chance of success, one finishes
ahead of the other as a result of ability)
 Equality of results/outcomes (equal sharing of income,
jobs, contracts, and material rewards regardless of one’s
condition in life—everyone starts and finishes the race
together, regardless of ability, talent, initiative, or work)
Enduring Dimensions, cont’
f. Effectiveness—whether policy
accomplished the purpose it was intended to
accomplish; what is success and how do
you know when you have achieved it
g. Representation—who has power;
whose interests are represented
“New” Dimensions of Public Policy
 International
 Intergenerational
 Intergovernmental
What Are Institutions?
 A significant set of practices and/or
relationships designed to express the will of
a society (or a group within that society). It
is designated to fulfill a specified need and
has the following characteristics:
Institutions, Defined
 a. It captures society’s decision to provide
and/or protect against critical breakdown
and to promote a better or higher level of
human functioning. Thus interest and
financial support are mobilized to provide
service in an organized form.
Institutions, Defined
 b. Each institution develops a program by
which to meet the particular area of need for
which it was organized
 c. The institution has a structure by which it
organizes and delegates its responsibilities
and its tasks. It has governing policies and
procedures, by which it stabilizes and
systematizes its operation
Institutions, Defined
 d. It is a living organism, adaptable and
susceptible to being understood and
changed, much as other living organisms.
 e. It lives in relation to its need and in
relationship to other institutions
Major American Institutions
 Government
 Family
 Religion
 Education