Public Policy Essay

1493 words - 6 pages

Government institutions have long been a central focus of political science. Public policy is authoritatively determined, implemented, and enforced by these institutions. Therelationship between public policy and government institutions is very close. Strictly speaking, a policy does not become a public policy until it is adopted, implemented, and enforced by some government institution. Government institutions give public policy three distinctive characteristics.
•First, government lends legitimacy to policies. Government policies are generally regarded as legal obligations that command the loyalty of ...view middle of the document...

•Policy Implementation: The implementation of policies through organized bureaucracies, public expenditures, and the activities of executive agencies.
•Policy Evaluation:The evaluation of policies by government agencies themselves, outside consultants, the press, and the public.It has been argued that political scientists should limit their studies of public policy to these processes and avoid analyses of the substance of policies. It is not the content of  public policy that is to be studied but rather the processes
by which ·public policy is developed, implemented, and changed.
A rational policy is one that achieves "maximum social gain"; that is, governments should choose policies resulting in gains to society that exceed costs by the greatest amount, and governments should refrain from policies if costs are not exceeded by gains. First, no policy should be adopted if its costs exceed its benefits. Second, among policy alternatives, decision makers should choose the policy that produces the greatest benefit over cost. To select a rational policy, policymakers must(1) Know all the preferences and their relative weights,(2) know all the policy alternatives available,(3) Know all the consequences of each policy alternative,(4) Calculate the ratio of benefits to costs for each policy alternative, and(5) Select the most efficient policy alternative. Rational policymaking also requires information about alternative policies, the predictive capacity to foresee accurately the consequences of alternate policies, and the intelligence
To calculate correctly the ratio of costs to benefits. Finally, rational policymaking requires a decision-making system that facilitates rationality in policy formation. Large investments inexisting programs and policies (sunk costs) prevent policymakers from reconsidering alternatives foreclosed by previous decisions.
Incrementalism views public policy as a continuation of past government activities with only incremental modifications. On the contrary, constraints of time, information, andcost prevent policymakers from identifying the full range of policy alternatives and their consequences. Incrementalism is conservative in that existing programs; policies, andexpenditures are considered as a base, and attention is concentrated on new programs and policies and on increases, decreases, or modifications of current programs. Policymakers generally accept the legitimacy of established programs and tacitly agree tocontinue previous policies. Second, policymakers accept the legitimacy of previous policies because of the uncertainty about the consequences of completely new or different policies known programs when the consequences of new programs cannot be predicted. Conflict is heightened when decision making focuses on major policy shifts...

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