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Public Policy Analysis: An Introduction William N. Dunn Associate Dean and Professor University of PittsburgDr. Dunn is a scholar, educator, and academic administrator. Hismost well-known publication is Public Policy Analysis, 4thed.,which is one of the most widely cited books on themethodology of policy research and analysis in print.
What is Policy Analysis: Definitions The use of reason and evidence to select the best policy among a number of alternatives to address a particular policy problem. (MacRae and Wilde). “An applied social science that utilizes multiple research methods, in argumentation and debate contexts, to create, estimate critically, and communicate knowledge that is relevant to the policies.” (Dunn) A process through which one identifies and evaluates “alternative policies or programs that are intended to lessen or resolve social, economic or physical problems” (Patton & Sawicki)
“Policy analysis is client orientedadvice relevant to public, or private,decisions and informed by socialvalues” Weiner & Vining
A good analysis or even a gooddecision Does Not Guarantee thatthe optimal solution will be selectedand / or implemented.
What Policy Analysis Can and CannotDo…….Policy analysis can assist decision makers in choosing a preferred course of action from complex alternatives and under uncertain conditions.Policy analysis is not a panacea or a substitute for inadequate policymaking processes, defects of public decisions, bad judgment on the part of analysts or policymakers, an exact science or a tool for advocacy by the analyst for his/her own views.
One way to look at the Analysis The Problem & the Solution “a problem well formulated is a problem half solved”Defining the Policy Problem is easier said than done…..
Not all Public Problems are amenable topolicy analysis, but when they.., theanalysis can support decision making to:Determine whether a new policy is required to address the problemIf a policy already exists, determine whether it needs to be modified or terminatedAnalyze one policy (retrospectively or prospectively)Compare two or more policies that address a similar problemAssess future implications of current or new policiesExplore stages in the development of particular policies
We want to learn how to look at problems from multipleperspectives to achieve the bestproblem definition and possible / feasible solutions
Example:Increasing rates of lung cancer among certain populationgroups could be framed as:The failure of individuals to stop smoking, orFailure of the health care providers to provide adequate / timely information, orFailure of the Government to regulate smoking in public places, orFailure on the part of Government to take the opportunity to improve research, to raise taxes by increasing the price of cigarettesAll of the above
Increasing obesity among youngsters and amongcertain population groups could be framed as:The failure of parents or individual will to change their eating behaviors, orThe inability of health care providers to provide adequate and timely information, orFailure of the government to: Regulate health care dept. Eliminate harmful substances from the general diet Build more places for people to exerciseAll of the above
Problem Definition“There is a difference between a condition and aproblem…conditions become defined as problemswhen we come to believe that we should dosomething about them…the problem doesn’t have toget any worse or better”. Kingdon, 1984
Problem Definition in Decision MakingProblem definition depends on: How issues are framed, portrayed How obvious is the crisis that the problem evokes How it is measuredEndless ways to look at a particular problem, yet limited time, money and energy.Hence, highly complex issues are simplified; focus on certain aspects happens at the expense of other aspects / elements
Challenges of Public Policy problems(Social problems)May show up in ways that are difficult to address“Inherently multidimensional”, overlap & contradictAre ill defined, so “wicked problems”The consensus over social goals may be illusoryDecision-makers have different preferences and values, often conflictingThe definition of a policy problem is not completely scientific or systematic: creativity, sagacity, socially constructed
Situation that can be perceived as important into a problemIndicators reveal its existence, magnitude, severityEvents or crisis call attention on a problemThe results of evaluations (or monitoring/surveillance) show
Methodology of Policy Analysis: integrateselements from Multiple disciplinesPolitical ScienceSociologyPsychologyEconomicsPhilosophy
Three Approaches to Policy Analysis Type of Approach Primary Question Information Does it and will it exist? Descriptive and Empirical (facts) predictive Of what worth is it? Valuative Valuative (values) Normative What should be done? (value- Prescriptive (action) critical)
Five types of Policy relevant information:interrelated and interdependent S. Types Importance No. Policy Problems Conceptualizing problem from different1 angles-viable solutions Policy Futures Identifying consequences of future course of2 action Policy Actions Forecasting & evaluating consequences of3 action based on different alternatives Policy Ensuring an observed consequences of policy4 Outcomes actions Policy Finding the degree of value contributed by5 Performance policy outcome (useful in forecasting policy future)
Five Info is obtained by the means of - Policy Analysis Process of InquiryS. No. Procedure Information1 Definition (Problem Conditions giving rise to a policy Structuring) problem Prediction Future consequences of acting on policy2 (Forecasting) alternatives, including doing nothing Prescription3 Future course of action (Recommendation) Present and Past causes and Description4 consequences of acting on policy (Monitoring) alternatives Value or worth of consequences in5 Evaluation solving the problem
Three Elements of Policy System Policy Stakeholders Policy Public Policy EnvironmentCrime Policy Analysts Law EnforcementInflation Citizens’ Groups EconomicUnemployment Labor Unions WelfareDiscrimination Parties PersonnelUrban Squalor Agencies Urban Source: Adapted from Thomas R. Dye, Understanding Public Policy 3rd ed.
Six Elements of Policy Arguments: the main vehicle for conducting debates about PP Issues 1. Policy Relevant (Therefore) 2. Policy 6. Qualifier Claim Information Probably Govt. should invest inNuclear power is two or three The construction ofTimes more efficient than Nuclear power plantsConventional Power Sources (Unless) (Since) 5. 3. Warrant Rebuttal Production of Nuclear energy is Solar Energy can be developed The only way to ensure continuing growth On a large scale Of the economy (Bcoz) (Bcoz) 4. Backing Backing Arab Countires can continue To embargo oil. Other sources This is the conclusion of panel of experts Are limited
Dunn’s Integrated Framework: Problem CenteredPolicy Analysis Policy Performance Evaluation Forecasting Problem Structuring Policy Structuring Policy Structuring Problem Problem Policy Futures Outcomes Problems Problem Structuring Monitoring Recommendation Policy Actions
The process of policy analysis is a series ofintellectual activities carried out within a processcomprised of activities that are essentially political
Reconstructed Logic Vs. Logic-in-UseReconstructed Logic Logic-in-UseProcess – problem Variation can occur due to personalcentered policy analysis characteristics of analysts and the institutional settingDesigned for Factors that Influence variation:methodological purposes •Cognitive Style: diff. Knowledgeie. For studying the •Analytical Roles: Entrep, Politicians andstrengths and Techniciansweaknesses of different •Institutional Incentive system: Differentmethods & techniques orientation – humanistic & scientific; qualityof Policy Analysis control also differs •Institutional time constraints: expedite • Professional Socialization: varied orientation (traditional/basic & applied)
Forms of Policy Analysis Prospective Retrospective Policy Analysis Policy Analsis Integrated Policy Analysis
Three major forms of Policy Analysis:Prospective Policy Analysis: Involves the production and transformation of information before policy actions are initiated and implemented. Tends to Characterize the operating styles of economists, systems analysts, and operations researchers. Synthesizes information to draw policy alternatives and preferences.
Prospective Analysis often creates large gap Efforts of Preferred Govt. to Solutions to resolve the Problems problem Gaps
Retrospective Policy AnalysisConfined to the production and transformation ofinformation after policy actions have been taken.Operating styles of three major groups of analysts:1.Discipline oriented analysts2.Problem oriented analysts3.Application oriented analysts
Discipline Oriented Problem Oriented Application OrientedAnalysis Analysis AnalysisPolitical Scientists & Political Scientists & Also persons from socialSociologists – seeks to Sociologists - seeks to work, publicdevelop and test describe the causes and administration &discipline based theories. consequences of policies. evaluation research. Seeks to describe causes & consqDescribe the causes and Less concerned with the Not concerned with dev.consequences of the development and testing of And testing of disciplinepolicies. theories. Discipline based theories. Oriented Analysis What affected the policiesSeldom attempts to Seldom provides info about They are concerned withidentity specific goals and specific goals and the identification of goalsobjectives of policymakers objectives of policymakers. and objectives of policy(does not distinguish Coz the problem they makers and other“policy variables”). analyze are usually of stakeholders. Good info for general nature. evaluating policy outcome.
Integrated Policy Analysis Prospective Policy Integrated Policy Analysis Retrospective Policy Analysis Analysis Builds on the strengths of both Prospective & Retrospective Analysis – multidisciplinary in Suffers from inadequate & full sense of the world Suffers from its nature i.e.unreliable info. About changes in values , goals and objectives confined with passive reporting which occur after policies have Multidisciplinary framework, concerns of information about the been implemented. with the production & transformation consequences of implemented of information both before and after policies policy actions have been taken. Provides methodology for policy analysis (rules & procedures)
An Integrated Framework Policy PerformanceEvaluation Retrospective Prospective Forecasting P. S. Policy P.S. Policy P.S. PolicyOutcomes Problems Futures What happened? P.S. What will happen? After action Before action Recommend Monitoring ation Policy Actions
Methodology of Policy Analysis: Distinctionbetween theoriesDescriptive Decision Theory: set of logically consistent propositions that describe action. Primary aim is to understand a policy problem rather than to solve it.Normative Decision Theory: set of logically consistent propositions that provide a basis for improving the consequences of action. Appropriate for predicting and recommending different courses of action before they have occurred. Aim is to solve the problem - “Problem Solving” methodology.
SummaryA combination and transformation of the substance and methods of several disciplines, intends to produce policy relevant information to resolve the problemsKnowledge of what is (fact), what is right (values) and what to do (action) requires / demands the use of multiple methods of inquiryPolicy analysis has 3 main forms: prospective, retrospective & integrated
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