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Proposal Policy Formulation

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					PPA 503 – The Public Policy-
Making Process

        Lecture 6a – Policy
           Formulation
Policy Formulation
 Formulation – develop a plan, a method, or
 a prescription for alleviating some need.
   Research – interpret the results.
   Review – review and discuss alternatives.
   Projection – Determine consequences and
   feasibility.
   Selection – Refine and make a formal selection.
   Test the results.
 No guarantees.
Policy Formulation
 Types of formulation.
    Rational planning – systematic.
    Subjective reacting – haphazard.
 Guidelines.
    Formulation need not be limited to one set of actors.
    Formulation may proceed without clear definition of the
    problem, or contact with affected group.
    There is no necessary coincidence between formulation and
    particular institutions, though it is a frequent activity of
    bureaucratic agencies.
    Formulation and reformulation may occur over a long period of
    time without ever building sufficient support for any one
    proposal.
    There are often several appeal points for those who lose in the
    formulation process at any one level.
    The process itself never has neutral effects.
Policy Formulation
 Who is involved?
   Sources inside government.
     Executive.
      – President, aides, cabinet.
          » Goals, priorities leading to boundaries.
      – Bureaucracy.
          » Actual development of plans and proposals.
      – Outside agencies.
     Legislature.
      – Staff and support units.
      – Outside agencies connected to Congress.
Policy Formulation
 Who is involved (contd.)?
   Sources outside government.
      Policy networks – subgovernments – discuss.
        – Washington Information Directory – 500 subject areas.
      Public service organizations.
        – Foundations – Ford, Rockefeller, Carnegie, Sloan,
          Russell Sage, Mellon.
        – Research organizations – Brookings, American
          Enterprise Institute, Council on Foreign Relations,
          Urban Institute, RAND Corporation.
        – Universities, especially Research I universities.
        – Citizen organizations – Common Cause, Nader groups,
          League of Women Voters.
Policy Formulation
 Institutional limits on policy formulation.
     Constitutional limits.
         Separation of powers.
         Federalism.
         Bicamericalism.
         Checks and balances.
     Existing policy relationships.
         Drive for predictability.
         Networks of contacts and interactions.
            – Clientele or constituency relationships are established and protected.
            – All agencies and committees require support and have typically found means for
              gaining that support.
            – Definite pattern of communication exists within, between, and outside existing
              units.
            – Means are developed for defining problems and formulating proposals. These
              means strongly accommodate the interests presently served.
            – These networks difficult to break.
         Change is possible.
            – Normal change is incremental.
            – But, dramatic change can restructure the network.
Policy Formulation
                Functions           Rational        Subjective
 Types of                           Planners        Reactors
 formulation:
 methods        External Issue
                Relationship
                                    Integrative     Sequential




                Internal Issue      Comprehensive   Segmental
                Relationship


                Capacities for      Systematic      Unsystematic
                Knowing What to
                Do

                Confidence in       Projective      Reactive
                Analyzing Effects
Policy Formulation
 Types of formulation (contd.).
   Formulating comprehensive proposals.
     The number of problems treated – all of the
     problems or just a sample?
     The extent of the analysis – all aspects or
     just certain aspects?
     The estimation of effects – all effects or just
     most immediate.
   Elaborate proposals are difficult to build
   support for and are unlikely to survive
   intact.
Policy Formulation
 Types of formulation: Styles.
   Routine formulation – reformulating similar
   proposals to policies currently on the agenda.
   Analogous formulation – Treating a new
   problem by developing analogies to past
   problems.
   Creative formulation – Treating new problems
   with an unprecedented proposal.
   Routine and analogous formulation occur more
   frequently than creative, but creative can
   happen.
Policy formulation
 Strategic considerations.
   Must think of legitimation when formulating
   proposals.
   Considerations.
      Building support for a proposed course of action.
      Maintaining previous support.
      Deciding where compromises can be made.
      Calculating when and where to make the strongest
      play and when and where to retreat.
      Controlling information flow to your advantage.
Policy Formulation
 Formulation and legitimation.
   Point: We don’t care when one stops and the
   other begins. They are inseparable.
   Combinations.
      Perfect plan with imperfect strategy - examples.
      An imperfect plan with perfect strategy – examples.
      A perfect blend – is it possible?
      Imperfect blend – most policies.
Policy Formulation
 Formulation as a total policy process.
    A disorderly process – unpredictable – less predictable
    elements dominate the process.
    Planners frustrated – develop a system of program justification.
        PPBS (Programming Planning Budgeting System) – force planners
        and budget makers to think beyond immediate results and consider
        longer-range goals and effects.
        Model:
          – Identify national goals with precision and on a continuing basis.
          – Choose among those goals the ones that are most urgent.
          – Search for alternatives means of reaching those goals most effectively
            at the least cost.
          – Inform ourselves not merely on next year’s costs, but on the second,
            and third, and subsequent years’ costs of our programs.
          – Measure the performance of our programs to insure a dollar’s worth of
            service for each dollar spent.
Policy Formulation
 Formulation as a total policy process (contd.).
    Planners frustrated – develop a system of program
    justification (contd.).
       PPBS designed to reduce uncertainty, waste of resources,
       and misdirection in policy making through systematic
       analysis of the basic elements of that process: problems,
       goals, allocations, appraisals. As one reviews PPBS in its
       pure form, it becomes evident that it is a total policy
       process.
       Problems.
         –   Not everyone accepts outcomes.
         –   Given limited resources, people debate goals and objectives.
         –   PPBS becomes a strategy of policy politics.
         –   May increase efficiency by some measures, but will not
             eliminate politics.
Alternative Specification (Kingdon)

 How is the list of potential alternatives
 for public policy choices narrowed to
 the ones that actually receive serious
 consideration?
   Alternatives are generated and narrowed
   in the policy stream.
   Relatively hidden participants,
   specialists in the particular policy area,
   are involved.
Alternative Specification (Kingdon)
 Hidden participants: Specialists.
    Alternatives, proposals, and solutions are generated in
    communities of specialists.
       Academics, researchers, consultants, career bureaucrats,
       congressional staffers, and analysts who work for interest
       groups.
    These communities of specialists can be fragmented or
    tightly knit. They share their specialization and
    acquaintance with the issue under consideration.
    Ideas bubble around these communities. People try out
    proposals in a variety of ways: speeches, bill
    introductions, hearings, leaks, paper circulation,
    conversations, lunches.
       They float ideas, criticize one another’s work, hone and
       revise, and float new versions. Some are respectable,
       some are out of the question.
Alternative Specification (Kingdon)

 The policy stream.
   The generation of policy alternatives is best
   seen as a selection process.
   Policy primeval soup, many ideas float around,
   bump into one another, recombine.
   Criteria for survival of policy ideas.
     Technical feasibility.
     Congruence with values of community members.
     Anticipation of future constraints.
       – Budget.
       – Public acceptability.
       – Politician’s receptivity.
Alternative Specification (Kingdon)

 The policy stream (contd.).
   A long process of softening up the system.
   Policy entrepreneurs do not leave the process
   to chance. They push for consideration in
   many forums in many ways.
      Recombination is more important than mutation.
      As a result, entrepreneurs are more important than
      inventors.
   Softening up is important because policy
   windows open so infrequently.
Alternative Specification (Kingdon)

 Policy windows.
   An open policy window is an opportunity for advocates to
   push their pet solutions or to push attention for their
   special problems.
   They have pet solutions and wait for problems to arise
   that they can attach their solutions to or for political
   events to make their solutions more saleable.
   Windows are opened by events in the political stream or
   in the problem stream.
   Sometimes windows open predictably; sometimes they
   open unpredictably.
   The scarcity and short duration of policy windows makes
   them a powerful magnet for problems and proposals.
   Open windows provide opportunities for linkages.

				
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