The Study of Policy Analysis and Process

… a core topic in Policy Analysis and Process

books5Topic description

This topic introduces students to the subfields of policy analysis and policy process.

Topic learning outcome

Upon completing this topic the student will be familiar with the range of theories and literature on policy analysis and on policy process, and be able to describe the concepts listed below.

Core concepts associated with this topic
Policy Analysis

Policy Design

Public Policy

Trade-off

Lasswell’s Policy Sciences

Pal’s Elements of Policy Content

Policy Consistency

Pal’s Types of Reasoning in Policy Analysis

Policy Analysis’s Impact on Policymaking

Policy Capacity

Atlas resource pages

Glossary from Pal’s Beyond Policy Analysis

Open access readings for 8 hours of preparation

The Atlas pages for the concept entries noted above.

TO COME

Recommended readings in MPP and MPA courses

University of Toronto PPG1001

TO COME

Concept comprehension questions

CCQ206.08.01. Among the statements a-d pertaining to the term policy design choose the one that is invalid or choose e if all are reasonably valid.

a. Policy design is the process of choosing the most appropriate instrument to deal with the policy problem as it has been defined in order to achieve a given policy goal.

b. Policy design is a mix of inspiration and technique.

c. Policy design is about efficiency – getting the job done with the least resources – and explicitly sets aside considerations of political popularity and impacts on re-election.

d. While there is some agreement on at least the major policy instruments and their characteristics, there is little agreement (or knowledge) of how and when particular mixes of instruments should be used in policy design.

e. All of a-d are reasonably valid.

CCQ206.08.02. Among the statements a-d pertaining to the term public policy choose the one that is invalid or choose e if all are reasonably valid.

a. Public policy can be defined as a course of action or inaction chosen by public authorities to address a given problem or interrelated set of problems.

b. Public policy can be defined as systematically using the state to affect peoples’ lives.

c. Public policy can be generally defined as a system of laws, regulatory measures, courses of action, and funding priorities concerning a given topic promulgated by a governmental entity or its representatives.

d. Successful public policy depends on the development and use of a sound evidence base; the understanding and managing the political context; and planning from the outset for how the policy will be delivered.

e. All of a-d are reasonably valid.

CCQ206.08.03. Among the statements a-d pertaining to Pal’s Elements of Policy Content choose the one that is invalid or choose e if all are reasonably valid.

a. Leslie Pal describes the three key elements of policy content as Goals, Problem Definition, and Instruments.

b. Policy analysis is usually iterative – it moves through the loop of policy content elements several times, refining an understanding of any one element in light of the others.

c. There will be consistency between the different elements such that a definition of a problem should fit somehow with the instruments and goals.

d. When consistency is achieved among goals, problem definition, and instruments, little consideration is required of factors such as actors and related policy frameworks.

e. All of a-d are reasonably valid.

CCQ206.08.04. Among the statements a-d pertaining to policy consistency choose the one that is invalid or choose e if all are reasonably valid.

a. Policies are expected to be consistent in three interrelated ways – internal consistency, vertical consistency, and horizontal consistency.

b. We expect policies to have an internal consistency among the three elements of problem definition, goals, and instruments.

c. We expect a policy to have vertical consistency in the sense that the programs and activities undertaken in its name are logically related to it.

d. Horizontal consistency, the expectation that what governments do in one field will not contradict what they do in another, will be found whenever governments operate with clear goals and consistent values.

e. All of a-d are reasonably valid.

CCQ206.08.05. Among the statements a-d pertaining to Pal’s types of reasoning in policy analysis choose the one that is invalid or choose e if all are reasonably valid.

a. Pal’s four types of reasoning in policy analysis are normative, legal, logical, and empirical.

b. Normative reasoning analyzes policy in relation to impacts and effects, costs, and administration.

c. Legal reasoning analyzes policy in terms of jurisdiction and consistency with legislation or the Charter.

d. Logical reasoning analyzes policy in terms of internal, vertical, and horizontal consistency and whether it “makes sense.”

e. All of a-d are reasonably valid.

CCQ206.08.06. Among the statements a-d pertaining to policy analysis’s impact on policymaking choose the one that is invalid or choose e if all are reasonably valid.

a. The high point in the fortunes of policy analysis and scientific decisionmaking was in the 1960s, when the United States decided to adopt the Planning-Programming-Budgeting System (PPBS), later adopted in Canada as well, and then made program evaluation mandatory, thus setting off a boom in the industry in the 1970s.

b. Carol Weiss and her colleagues began a series of studies through the 1970s to assess the effect of policy analysis activity on the policy process and concluded that the “implications of explanatory studies and the recommendations from policy-oriented studies seemed to have little effect on either the day-today operations of program management or the long-term directions of public policy.”

c. The collapse of planned economies in the 1990s and 2008 financial crisis have reinforced the proposition that policy analysis has little relevance to future policy making.

d. Some scholars have argued that policy analysis, like the rest of the social sciences have an enlightenment function, providing broad ideas, concepts, insights, and theoretical perspectives and that the work may, in combination with other work with a similar theme and message, seep into the public consciousness.

e. All of a-d are reasonably valid.

CCQ206.08.07. Among the statements a-d pertaining to policy capacity choose the one that is invalid or choose e if all are reasonably valid.

a. Policy capacity is the institutional ability to conduct policy analysis and implement its results effectively and efficiently.

b. The World Bank has stated that for human welfare to be advanced, the state’s capability – defined as the ability to undertake and promote collective actions efficiently – must be increased. This basic message translates into a two-part strategy to make every state a more credible, effective partner in its country’s development

c. A strategy is to raise state capability by reinvigorating public institutions, which means designing effective rules and restraints, to check arbitrary state actions and combat entrenched corruption.

d. Many states try to do too much with few resources and little capability, and often do more harm than good.

e. All of a-d are reasonably valid.

CCQ206.08.14. Among the statements a-d pertaining to Lasswell’s policy sciences choose the one that is invalid or choose e if all are reasonably valid.

a. The social sciences, particularly economics, political science, public administration, and planning, developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

b. Harold Lasswell (1902-1978) and his colleagues were among the first to advance the idea that these disciplines could be integrated into something distinct – the policy sciences.

c. Lasswell argued for a distinct role for policy analysts.

d. Lasswell argued that the policy sciences should integrate the other social sciences in a multidisciplinary enterprise devoted to dealing with public problems and the policy processes of democracy.

e. All of a-d are reasonably valid.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 31 October 2017.

Image: Public Library Association, at Washington Post, Jena McGregor, at http://publiclibrariesonline.org/2012/10/if-books-are-our-brand/, accessed 18 March 2016.