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An end or objective of politics is pursuit of the public interest ... Incremental: proceeds one step at a time: 'the science of muddling through' ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Policy-making%20Processes

Policy-making Processes
  • How policy is made

  • An end or objective of politics is pursuit of the
    public interest
  • However, important questions about extent to
    which governments, democratic or authoritarian,
    actually do that
  • Can governments make good policies?
  • Can governments make rational decisions?
  • Are democratic or authoritarian governments
    likely to produce good and/or rational decisions?

Policy-making processes
  • May involve or exclude organized interests
  • May involve or avoid research and analysis
  • Different varieties
  • Synoptic considers all possible alternatives
    and choices
  • Incremental proceeds one step at a time the
    science of muddling through

Advantages and disadvantages
  • Synoptic
  • Thorough and comprehensive
  • May involve planning and coordination
  • But also
  • Time consuming
  • Involves high, some would say impossible
    cognitive burden
  • Incremental
  • One step at a time
  • Relies on feedback from civil society, organized
  • But,
  • Ignores many possible alternatives
  • Minimal planning or coordination

Policy-making in practice
  • Varies from society to society
  • Rarely synoptic or wholly incremental
  • Typically operates within an established paradigm
    or framework, e.g,
  • Classical liberal economics
  • Keynsian economics (from John Meynard Keynes
  • Monetarism
  • New public management (NPM)
  • Theories of education
  • Whole language v. phonetics
  • Mainstreaming developmentally delayed children
  • In social work, de-institutionalization of mental

Attempts at rational policy-making
  • Indicative planning, coordination of investments
  • Program budgeting
  • Examine all costs
  • Zero-based budgeting
  • Force all program, old or new, to be justified as
    if they were new
  • New public management (NPM)
  • Assign very specific tasks and priorities to
    down-sized public agencies

  • The impact and influence of interest groups
  • Groups needed to provide information
  • Support and cooperation needed
  • Problems of agency-capture
  • Interest group influence tends to limit the range
    of alternatives
  • Pluralism wide range of groups but not
    necessarily wide range of alternatives proposed
  • Corporatism limits influence (and
    alternatives) to those favoured by the
    organizations incorporated

The evenness and effectiveness of policy
  • James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State policies
    designed by officials at the centre make no sense
    when they are applied
  • Typical of govts in 3rd world countries,
    authoritarian govts, some democratic govts
  • Land use policies
  • Licensing and regulation of trade
  • Fisheries management

Democratic v. authoritarian systems
  • Different views
  • Authoritarian government sometimes seen as more
    decisive or efficient
  • But also more prone to failure
  • Fewer checks or obstacles
  • Tendency to exclude negative or disturbing
  • Fewer voices or objections heard in policy

Some cases
  • The Soviet Union
  • Success in process of rapid and forced
  • Centrally coordinated command economy attempt
    to plan the entire productive process
  • Ultimately fails because of
  • Magnitude and scope of the task
  • Politics and clientelism subverts planning,
    whether good or bad

Authoritarian successes and failures
  • Peoples Republic of China
  • Singapore
  • Korea
  • Spain under Generalissimo Franco -
  • Nigeria under democratic rule - - -
  • Nigeria under military rule - - - - -
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