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62 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
public policy
an intentional course of action followed by government in dealing with some problem or matter of concern
elite theory
chose few or elite make all the decision in society
bureaucratic theory
all institutions, governmental and nongovernmental, have fallen under the control of a large and ever growing bureaucracy
why are bureaucrats empowered?
because they have expertise and competence
interest group theory
interest groups control the governmental process
What does notes interest group theorist David Truman believe?
there are so many potential pressure points in the three branches of the fed. govt as well as the state level that interest groups can step in on any number of competeing sides
pluralist perspective
political resources in the US are scattered so widely that no single elite group could ever gain monopoly control over any substantial area of policy
the policy making process is seen as
a sequence of stages or functional activities
public policies do not just happen; rather, they are
the products of a predictable pattern of events
the first step in policy making
problems must be recognized and defined
problems give rise to
demands for relief, often through governmental action
second step in policy making
agenda setting

getting the problem places on the governmental agenda
third step in policy making
policy formulation

formulation of alternatives for dealing with the problem
fourth step in policy making
policy adoption

involves formal enactment or approval of an alternative
fifth step in policy making

provides financial resources to carry out the approved alternative (which can now be called a policy)
sixth step in policy making
policy implementation

the actual administration or application of the policy to its targets
last step in policy making
policy evaluation

to determine the policy's actual accomplishments, consequences, or shortcomings
stages of public policy process explained with the example of
acid rain
all disturbing conditions to not automatically become problems

what must happen in order for a condition to become a problem?
there must be some criterion - a standard or value - that leads people to believe that the condition does not have to be accepted and that it is a problems that the government can deal with effectively and appropriately

ex: natural disasters such as earthquakes prob wont make it as a problem, but the human distress and property destruction that it causes is something that the govt can deal with
give an example of how perceptions toward government responsibilities change over time
care of children at one point was considered the sole responsibility of parents, but then because of child abuse, it became a national problem and it was dealt with by the national government

usually there is NOT a single, agreed-on definition of a problem

how the problem is defined helps determine what kind of action to take. this is why there are often political struggles at this stage
a set of issues to be discussed or given attention
two basic agenda types in the area of public policy
1. systemic agenda

2. governmental or institutional agenda
systemic agenda
a discussion agenda that comprises all issues that are commonly perceived as meriting public attention

all public issues that are viewed as requiring governmental attention; a discussion agenda
governmental (institutional) agenda
includes only problems to which legislators or other public officials feel obliged to devote active and serious attention

the changing list of issues to which the governments believe they should address themselves
when do issues emerge
when disagreement exists over what should be about a problem
the _________ is an important agenda-setter for Congress
the PRESIDENT is an important agenda-setter for Congress
______________ are major actors and initiators in the AGENDA SETTING PROCESS
INTEREST GROUPS are major actors and initiators in the AGENDA SETTING PROCESS

interest groups and their lobbyists frequently ask Congress to legislate on problems of special concern to them
agenda setting
the constant process of forming the list of issues to be addressed by the government
under what circumstances can problems secure agenda status?
crisis, natural disaster, or some other extraordinary event

ex: the 9/11 attacks
what types of people can push issues onto the congressional agenda
individual private citizens

members of congress

other officials, acting as policy entrepreneurs

political changes will NOT contribute to agenda setting

political changes WILL!!!! contribute to agenda setting
why is agenda setting a competitive process?
congress does not have the time or the money to take on all probs and issues
policy formulation
the crafting of appropriate and acceptable proposed courses of action to ameliorate or resolve public problems
the three different forms the that formulation can take
1. routine formulation

2. analogous formulation

3. creative formulation
routine formulation
a repetitive and essentially changeless process of reformulating
analogous formulation
handles new problems by drawing on experience with similar problems in the past
creative formulation
involves attempts to develop new or unprecedented proposals that represent a departure from existing practices and that will better resolve a problem
policy formulation may be undertaken by various players in the policy process including
the president

presidential aides

agency officials

specially appointed task forces and commissions

interest groups

private research organizations (or "think tanks")

legislators and their staffs
policy adoption
approval of a policy proposal by the people with requisite authority. this approval gives the policy legal force.
what is required in order for a policy to be adopted
the building of majority coalitions to secure the enactment of legislation

a majority is needed to clear a bill through obstacles;
a series of majorities is needed for congressional policy adoption
what can be done to a bill to secure the needed votes
it may be watered down or modified at each of these decision points
the adoption of major legislation requires (3 things)
1. negotiation
2. bargaining
3. compromise
legislation on a controversial matter may take
years or even decades to secure enactment
important consequences of the tortuous nature of congressional policy adoption
1. complex legislation may require substantial periods of time to pass

2. the legislation passed is often incremental, making only limited or marginal changes in existing policy

3. legislation is frequently written in general or ambiguous language
problem with ambiguous language
provides considerable discretion to the people who implement the law and also leave them in doubt as to its original purposes
most policies require _____ to be carried out
most policies require MONEY to be carried out
where does the funding for most policies and agencies come from?
the funding for most policies and agencies comes from the BUDGETARY PROCESS
how can a policy be nullified?
by refusal to fund

(other policies or programs often suffer from inadequate funding)
budgetary process gives the president and Congress a chance to
review the govt's many policies and programs
what can be a powerful tool for congressional committee chairs
having the potential to curb funding
policy implementation
the process of carrying out public policies, most of which are implemented by administrative agencies
the three techniques used by administrative agencies to implement policies within their jurisdiction
1. authoritative
2. incentive
3. capacity
4. hortatory
authoritative techniques
rests on the notion that people
s actions must be directed or restrained by government in order to prevent or eliminate activities or products that are unsafe, unfair, evil, or immoral
incentive techniques
encourages people to act in their own best interest by offering payoffs or financial inducements to get them to comply with public policies
capacity techniques
provides people with information, education, raining, or resources that will enable them to participate in desired activities.
hortatory techniques
encourages people to comply with policy by appealing to people's "better instincts" in an effort to get them to act in desired ways.
policy evaluation
the process of determining whether a course of action is achieving its intended goals
important players in the policy evaluation process
1. congressional committees

2. presidential commissions

3. administrative agencies

4. university researchers

5. private research organizations

6. the GAO (General Accountability Office)
evaluation research and studies can _________________________ and thus restart the policy process
evaluation research and studies can STIMULATE ATTEMPTS TO MODIFY OR TERMINATE POLICIES and thus restart the policy process
in the early history of the country, when the nation experienced economic downturns, what did people rely on
belt tightening and private charities

in the late 19th century, how did this attitude change and why?
farmers and rural Americans sought help from the government to help protect them from falling prices and exploitation by railroads

the severe economic depression of the mid 1890s led many to reassess their attitude about the govt's responsibility to protect Americans from calamity (caused people to accept and and even to expect government intervention)