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Comparing public policies in the six countries studied in AP Comparative Government


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Title: Comparing public policies in the six countries studied in AP Comparative Government

Comparing public policies in the six countries
studied in AP Comparative Government
  • By Karen Waples

Cherry Creek High School
Public Policy Making Includes
  • A set of issues or problems
  • The individuals and groups who seek to influence
    policy making
  • The decisions made by the state as a result
  • The consequences of those decisions

Example Chinas One Child Policy
  • Was designed to address rapid population growth
  • Was devised by the Chinese Government
  • Provided incentives to couples that limited their
    families to one child.
  • Imposed penalties on families that exceeded this
  • Some exceptions were made for ethnic minorities.
  • Was successful in reducing Chinas population
    growth rate.

What do you think?What will be the most
important consequence of the One Child Policy for
China in the future?
  1. Improved economic performance
  2. The creation of a generation that is
    individualistic and self-centered
  3. An economic strain on Chinese families who must
    provide care for elderly relatives
  4. A shift away from a culture of communalism and
    toward a culture of consumerism

Policy Making
  • 6 Countries UK, Russia, Nigeria, China, Iran

The policy making process can differ in
  • Democratic and authoritarian states
  • Developed and developing countries
  • Unitary and Federal systems
  • Parliamentary and Presidential systems

Health Care Policies
  • Governments must consider
  • What should be the governments role, if any, in
    providing health care to citizens?
  • Who will qualify?
  • What levels of service will be provided?
  • How much will it cost?
  • Who will bear these costs?

UK National Health System (NHS)
  • Provides most health care free of cost to its
  • According to the World Health Organization, the
    United Kingdom ranks 18 in health systems.

Major Criticisms
  • the burgeoning cost of health care
  • the long wait time for diagnosis and treatment

What do you think?Which of the following is the
best policy to address the issues facing NHS?
  1. Require British citizens to pay a portion of
    their health care costs.
  2. Privatize the entire system.
  3. Continue to provide free health care but
    streamline the system to cut red tape.
  4. Provide citizens with basic preventative care,
    but require payment for specialized care.

Russian health care system
  • Provides, at least in theory, free health care to
    all citizens.
  • According to the World Health Organization,
    Russia ranks 130 in health systems.

Major Criticisms
  • Corruption is widespread.
  • Alcoholism and heart disease rates are high.

What do you think? Which of the following is the
best policy to improve the Russian health care
  1. Require Russian citizens to pay a portion of
    their health care costs.
  2. Privatize the entire system.
  3. Crack down on corruption.
  4. Focus on overall economic growth to improve the
    Russian economy as a whole.

What do you think? Both the UK and Russia
provide free health care, yet the results of
these systems are very different. Which factor
best explains these differences?
  1. Russia has a political culture where corruption
    is an accepted part of the system, while the
    United Kingdom is much less corrupt.
  2. Democratic policymaking in the United Kingdom has
    resulted in better health care policy than the
    authoritarian nature of Russian policymaking.
  3. The United Kingdom is a developed country, and
    Russia has never caught up to the level of
    development in Western Europe.
  4. Citizens of the United Kingdom have higher
    expectations of government than Russian citizens.

Health Care Policies HIV/AIDS Crisis
  • Nigeria Russia Ticking Time Bombs

In making HIV/AIDS policies, government must
  • Education and prevention programs
  • Diagnosis and treatment
  • An effective HIV/AIDS policy cannot be
    developed until the state acknowledges the

  • Healthcare is provided by a patchwork of
    national, state and local governments, private
    insurance, and NGOs.
  • The availability of heath care depends on
    location, and many rural areas lack even the most
    basic health care.
  • Nigeria ranks 187 in health care.
  • Nigeria faces an HIV/AIDS crisis.

What do you think? Which of the following
policies would be the most effective in stemming
the effects of HIV/AIDS crisis in Nigeria?
  1. Improve rural healthcare.
  2. Improve HIV/AIDS education programs.
  3. Reduce government corruption.
  4. Acknowledge the problem and request international

  • People who are HIV-positive are entitled to free
    treatment, but there is a big gap between policy
    and implementation due to lack of funds.
  • The virus is spreading among the general
    population, but many Russians do not feel that
    they are at risk. They view the disease as a
    problem facing only sex workers and drug users.

What do you think?Which of the following
policies would be the most effective in stemming
the effects of HIV/AIDS crisis in Russia?
  1. Provide more funding for local HIV/AIDS Centers.
  2. Improve HIV/AIDS education programs.
  3. Negotiate with Western drug companies for lower
  4. Provide government funding for the production of
    drugs within Russia.

What do you think? Both Russia and Nigeria face
an HIV/AIDS crisis. Which statement best
explains why such different states are facing
similar policy challenges?
  1. Both countries lack economic resources.
  2. Both countries ignored the problem until it
    became a crisis.
  3. The political culture in both countries causes
    most citizens to avoid talking about the problem.
  4. Both governments feared losing legitimacy if they
    acknowledge the extent of the disease.

Environmental Policymaking
All states face a classic trade off between
economic growth and environmental protection
  • These countries in particular, have suffered
    severe environmental damage, partly as a result
    of their economic policies.
  • China
  • Russia
  • Iran
  • Mexico
  • Nigeria

China is choking on its own success. -As
China Roars, Pollution Reaches Deadly Extremes
  • Environmental damage is catastrophic.
  • Cancer is the leading cause of death.

  • As a result, China has developed policies to
    improve the environment, including numerical
    targets for reducing emissions and conserving
  • Most of these targets have gone unmet the
    leaders of China are either unwilling or unable
    to make fundamental changes.
  • Failure to improve the environment may lead to a
    loss of legitimacy, but the same thing might
    happen if economic growth rates slow.

What do you think? Chinas policy for green GDP
failed. Which of the following statements
describes the most important reason for this
  1. The policy was window dressing, and Chinese
    leadership never really supported green
  2. Corruption at the local levels hinders
    enforcement of environmental policies.
  3. The results of environmental research were so
    sobering that the project was banished due to the
    negative publicity it would generate.
  4. Sweeping edicts are too broad to generate
    effective environmental policy.

In Iran, environmental policy has taken a back
seat to economic development.
  • Environmental degradation is often a
    characteristic of authoritarian governments,
    where the state takes a preeminent role in
    economic development.

  • The government diverted water for the Sivand Dam
    against the protests of environmental and
    heritage activists and at the risk of damaging
    historical sites and natural habitat.

What do you think? Is environmental degradation
more likely in authoritarian systems? Which
statement best describes your opinion?
  1. Yes, authoritarian governments are more
    interested in maintaining economic performance
    and legitimacy than they are in the health and
    well-being of their citizens.
  2. No. Most governments are more focused on
    economic growth than on the environment, whether
    or not they are authoritarian.
  3. Yes, because authoritarian government rarely face
    repercussions for environmental damage.
  4. No. Most environmental damage is the result of
    an international economy where corporations are
    able to avoid regulation in a race to the

Mexico, a democratic country, has traded economic
development for environmental protection.
  • The PROAIRE program was created to forge a sense
    of community participation in preserving the
    environment and health.
  • Although Mexico still faces an environmental
    crisis, the program has helped shape the
    discussion about its long term air quality policy
    and programs.

What do you think? Which country will face the
greatest loss of legitimacy as a result of
environmental damage?
  1. Iran
  2. China
  3. Mexico
  4. None of these countries will face a serious
    challenge to its legitimacy

Education Policy
Education policy poses several challenges for the
  • A well-educated population is needed to keep up
    with the global economy.
  • However, a well-educated population can pose a
    challenge to the states authority, especially
    when jobs are not available to graduates.

States must make decisions about whether to
subsidize education and at what level.
  • For example providing a free college education
    is expensive for the state and may result in a
    loss of access for all but the most talented (or
    well connected) students.

Case Study Nigeria
  • Nigeria provides students with free college
    education, but state subsidies per student are
    low and so are professors salaries.
  • Access is limited to those students who score
    extremely well on national tests.

What do you think? Is there a better education
policy for Nigeria?
  1. No. At least the state pays for the most
    talented young people to attend college.
  2. Yes. Women are underrepresented, and this is a
    waste of a valuable human resource.
  3. Yes. More colleges should be built, and students
    should be required to pay tuition. This would
    open access to more students.
  4. No. By opening access to students who can afford
    to pay for college, Nigeria will also be opening
    the door for less talented students whose
    families can afford to pay tuition.

Case Study United Kingdom
  • The UK subsidizes education to a certain extent.
  • In 2010 tuition was raised from 3,000 to 5,000
    pounds per year.

Critics claim
  • The increased costs will shut the doors to higher
    education for the middle class.
  • There is a growing concern that incoming students
    are ill-prepared for college and lack the study
    and analytical skills necessary to succeed.

What do you think? Was the tuition increase a
wise public policy for the conservative
government to enact?
  1. Yes. The system was a drain on the states
  2. Yes. This will make students appreciate
    education more, because they will be more
    invested in doing well.
  3. No. This will prevent talented students from
    attending college.
  4. No. This will undermine the legitimacy of the

Policy Making in the Comparative Context
  • Public policy is important.
  • Most states face similar problems that demand the
    attention of policy makers.
  • By comparing public policies we can learn more
    about how systems function.
  • The consequences of public policy impact the
    states legitimacy and its reputation in the
    global community.

  • Aids in Nigeria the ticking time bomb, Africa
    Economic Analysis. http//
  • As China Roars, Pollution Reaches Deadly
    Extremes. The New York Times.
  • Country Higher Education Profiles Nigeria. The
    Boston College Center for Higher Education.
  • Despite oil wealth, Russia faces huge health care
    problems, The New York Times. http//www.nytimes.
  • Hauss, Charles. Comparative Politics Domestic
    Responses to Global Challenges, 6th ed. Cengage
    Learning. Belmont, CA. 2009
  • Iran Environment Takes a Back Seat To
    Development Plans. Radio Free Europe.
  • Kesselman, et al. Introduction to Compartive
    Politics, 5th ed. Wadsworth. Boston, MA. 2009
  • NHS to undergo radical overhaul. BBC News
    Health, July 12, 2010. http//
  • Russias Aids time bomb. BBC News
  • Taking Care of Air Pollution in Mexico City.
    International Development Research Center.
  • Top universities want higher fees.
  • Tuition fee increase to L5,000 by 2010 predicted.
    The Guardian. http//

Electronic Resources
  • New York Times. Times Topics http//topics.nytime
  • Library of Congress. Country Studies.
  • Frontline. http//
  • Foreign Policy. http//
  • PBS Wide Angle. http//
  • CIA World Factbook. https//
  • World Health Organization. Countries.
  • WHO Country Profiles of Environmental Burden of
    Disease. http//