This paper presents an essay-based discussion on different proponents under the public policy niche. The paper highlights two major theories of change related to the application of public policies in different organizational and governmental settings namely the path dependence and the advocacy coalition rubrics. Similarly, a re-review of the Wessel case study on access to higher education and Busika county community-based development projects have been integrated into the later sections.
In this essay, the multidimensional concept of public policy is elaborated. The phenomenon has been widely adopted by different federal agencies, government, and not-for-profit organizations to smoothen their operations. The decision-making process, being a fundamental determinant of the success or failure of a project and program traces its roots to policy formulation. Therefore, empirical studies and analyses of public policies are very critical in bridging the gap left by pre-existing research literature in this niche. Similarly, further written articles on this topic are necessary to incorporate current trends in this field due to the rapid dynamism associated with recent law amendments.
In the compilation of this essay, different pre-existing works of literature on public policy were consulted to provide an evidence-based and factual discussion. The school library was an important source of reference, especially on concepts that required a deeper and elaborate breakdown. The two theories included in this paper were compiled after thorough research on policy formulation books in the library. The conclusion section represents a summary of the paper in its entirety and its last sentence is a personal opinion based on the discussion.
Chapter 1 presents a brief introduction to the topic in which fundamental terms such as policy and public policy are first defined thus portraying the difference between the two. In chapter 2, different facts, contemporary issues and components of public policy based on pre-existing academic literature on this topic are equally blended. In chapter 3, an interrogation of the three outcomes and a review of public policy are documented. Chapter 4 presents a description of a case study of a community-based program in Busika County and how the concept of policy formulation and implementation was incorporated. The conclusion gives a recap of the whole paper and a personal opinion on the topic. In summary, a breakdown of different public policy studies, debates, components, processes, Busika and Wessel case studies, and outcomes forms the basis of discussion for this paper.
An abridged discussion of public policy
The ideology of public policy was first introduced in the 20th century. The concept intertwines perfectly with other disciplines in law, sociology, public administration, finance, political science, and medicine. Many academic works of literature in public administration regard political scientist Woodrow Wilson as the founder of public policy. In 1971 the United States made significant milestones in this niche by opening the Public Studies Organisation and allowing different states to join. The section below expounds further on this topic by distinguishing policy from public policy.
Description and Purpose of Public Policy
To understand the concept of public policy, it is trivial to demystify the term policy first. Policy refers to a rule that summarizes the goals of an organization as documented after a decision-making process. Public policy, therefore, is a cluster of ideas that assesses different policies to determine those that require amendment, abolition or inclusion (Braveboy-Wagner and Jacqueline, 2018). It represents the set of regulations, laws and guiding principles that have been proposed by a federal body or a group of people who represent the interests of the general public.
The main purpose of the promulgation of these policies is to provide permanent solutions to existential problems in society, state or organization. Other purposes of these institutionalized guidelines include but are not limited to providing directions, integrity, consistency, and transparency in organizational and societal operations. Similarly, the convections can be used to moderate public opinions to accrue the state or society a successful future characterized by a developing economy and proper policy decisions.
Some Facts in Public Policy and Public Policy Studies
Different public policy studies reveal that different policies have been used by governments to attain a national and international consensus. However, some academic literature documents that although these convections have registered significant positive results in piloting social cohorts and projects, some policymakers have used their power to sabotage subjects. There are cases where self-centred politicians and managers have promulgated laws that suppress their subordinates while accruing maximum benefits to them.
Some Issues and Debates in Public Policy and Public Policy Studies
There are several contemporary issues and debates in public administration that impact significantly public policy formulation. From a governmental perspective, economic factors such as taxation decisions are directly connected with policymaking. Scientific research in disciplines in health and nutrition has been linked to proper public policy formulation. The government passes policies that determine the amount of funds allocated to this these projects and the duration within which they are expected to last. Federal agencies in environmental conservation play an important role in preserving the ecosystem through different policy formulation phases.
Components of Public Policy
Researcher Theodore Lowi argues that there are four major components of public policy. The American political scientist cited re-dissipative, regulatory, dissipative, and constituent formulations as the major proponents in this niche. Whereas constituent policies exclusively focus on sovereignty firms, re-dissipative conventions have a broader application to political templates and manifestos. On the other hand, regulatory policies target members of the public, reinstating how they should behave and the appropriate repercussions in case they infringe them.
Processes of and in Public Policy
Public policy is a multifaceted phenomenon that is composed of seven major elements. The facets occur in form of stages and processes namely concept building, termination, assessment, formulation, incorporation and execution. In this section, a brief description of each of these elements and their composition is included. The agenda building phase is the first phase and is usually triggered by the existence of a problem. It is important to note that policymakers can tolerate a given extent of the existence of an issue. However, when the problem develops into a crisis, they are prompted to act accordingly by initiating the process of agenda building.
The formulation stage involves generating an effective strategy to solve the issue and usually requires the approval of a court of law. The next step requires institutions and organizations to put the decision into action. This stage is predominantly determined by the level of intricacy of the policy and compliance by the relevant agencies. The assessment phase is accompanied by a cost-benefit ratio analysis to determine the efficacy of the convention. The termination of a policy can be attributed to factors such as loss of reinforcement by the targeted groups and obsoleteness.
ReflectiON ON our understanding of public policy
This section presents the three main outcomes of public policy in accordance with PUA612. The policymaking process produces different results which directly depend on the parties involved during the formulation process. Similarly, when policies are implemented, they tend to impact differently on the targeted group. Beneficial policies such as those promulgated to curb crime bring positive results to citizens while other fiscal conventions like Value Added Tax increment may affect their standards of living. The segment below presents a detailed discussion the three outcomes of public policies.
An Interrogation of Any of the ‘[Introduction to Public Policy (PUA612) Outcomes
The first outcome that can be derived from public policy PUA612 is that the government can use its mandate to help citizens enjoy different benefits from a formulated policy. For example, in the case study highlighted in the section below, the national government decentralized its power to the county authorities to implement a community-based program. Secondly, the level of public participation impacts greatly on the success of a given policy (Peters, 2021). Maximum social benefits accrue to participants in a program if they are actively involved in decisions and policymaking. Lastly, the confusion that arises from a policy formulation cycle can be solved by blending a performance management board to ensure optimum service delivery. A team of appointed representatives can be useful in ensuring quicker and more efficient policies making processes.
A Review of the Wessel (2021) Case Study on Access to Higher Education
According to the study forecited above, access to higher education was facilitated by proper policymaking oversaw by different educational agencies. The Higher Educational Policy Board commonly referred to as HEPB was responsible for organizing and funding the study. Public policy factors such as demographic realities and religious factors had great implications for the study (Hankivsky and Jordan-Zachery, 2019). These factors greatly influenced the study outcomes since the key participants had to be criticized based on the above two elements cited above.
An interrogation of a selected public policy case study
As cited earlier, different academic literature and case studies have been conducted under the umbrella of public policy. As the phenomenon extends its application to other disciplines, political researchers attach more weight to it, making it a topic of importance for further studies. The section below highlights a public policy-related case study of a community-based project in Western Uganda. Under the study outline, the implication for public administration policies in the decision and policymaking was featured. The program involved the central government sanctioning the county authorities to control policymaking and other critical processes as discussed below.
Description of the Case Study
This segment will explore the policy program of Busika County, the complexity, theories of change, and systems-thinking dynamics in government-wide evaluation. To begin with, major transitional conjectures such as the social developmental reality, dialogical model, and multidimensional dilemma were used to purposefully achieve intermediate and final outcomes of the project. Similarly, these models and complexities acted as useful channels through which different mini objectives were linked to achieve the larger aims of the community-based program.
The country incorporated different power relations to fuel the interests of project participants, especially during the policy-making phase. Participants at this stage exercised power by controlling the program’s agenda facilitating the realization of guided outcomes. The complexity of public policy in this case study arose from the effects of directional processes related to design. This necessitated the re-evaluation of the program’s success criteria since most aspects could not be controlled. There are several theories of change that have been modulated by researchers to explain the application and functionality of public policy as used in the above program. First, the case study employed an advocacy coalition rubric, as postulated by Sabatier in 1991. The main ideas about the nature and causation of policies in this program linked participants’ interests throughout the project.
As a result, they were able to maintain their conflict of interests within tolerable limits. Secondly, the path dependence conjecture was applied to ensure flexibility of previous decisions thus ensuring a progressive policy formulation pattern. Although the strengths of this rubric often make it more preferred, its weaknesses cannot be completely ignored. The framework does not account for the additional costs associated with past policies and their implications on future developmental policies.
Summary and conclusion
Policymaking is a complex phenomenon that is divided into seven different phases. The concept was first introduced by Woodrow Wilson, an American political scientist of the 1960s. The establishment of the Public Studies Organization in 1971 lead to the widespread familiarity with public policy, especially after the United States allowed different countries to join the league. There are several contemporary issues and debates in public administration that impact significantly public policy formulation. Economic factors such as taxation decisions are directly connected with policymaking. On the same note, scientific research in disciplines in health and nutrition has been linked to proper public policy formulation.
Over the years, the government passes policies that determine the amount of funds allocated to this these projects and the duration within which they are expected to last. Government agencies in environmental conservation play an important role in preserving the natural settings through different policy formulation stages. Theodore Lowi highlighted four major components of public policy upon which the concept of public policy is founded. He mentioned re-dissipative, regulatory, dissipative, and constituent formulations as the major proponents in this niche. The implementation of convection is usually officiated by a federal jurisprudential framework. However, the termination partially depends on court decisions. Policies can be terminated upon their accomplishment of intended purposes.
Similarly, when the subjects withdraw their support from a given law, it can be targeted for abolition by policymakers. In Wessel’s case study, the Higher Educational Policy Board commonly was responsible for organizing and funding different operations. Public policy factors such as demographic realities and religious factors had great implications for the study. On the other hand, the complexity of public policy in Busika’s case study arose from the effects of directional processes related to design. This made it necessary for the re-evaluation of the programme’s success criteria since most aspects could not be controlled. Lastly, this paper can be used by law students to understand the purpose of public policies as promulgated by different political actors and organizational policymakers.
Peters, B.G. (2021). Advanced Introduction to Public Policy. Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 12-31.
Hankivsky, O. and Jordan-Zachery, J. (2019). Introduction: bringing intersectionality to public policy. In The Palgrave Handbook of Intersectionality in Public Policy (pp. 1-28). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.
Braveboy-Wagner T. and Jacqueline, A. (2018). Introduction: Caribbean Public Policy Issues in the 1990s. In Caribbean Public Policy (pp. 1-12).