Public Policy Formulation and Analysis

Of the various policy evaluative criteria discussed by Kraft and Furlong, effectiveness and efficiency are most often discussed

Policy evaluative criteria mentioned by Kraft and Furlong (2012) in the textbook include effectiveness, economic costs and efficiency, and the implications for social equity. Evaluation criteria are a part of policy analysis. They are designed to measure the potential performance of the policies and, estimating their potential, and identifying the most important aspects of the proposals. Among the other criteria appropriate for policy proposal evaluation there are technical feasibility, ethical consideration, environmental impacts, political and administrative efficiency. Not all of these criteria are appropriate or applicable to every policy.

The example used by Kraft and Furlong describes the criteria of a policy concerning the establishment of a missile attack defense system. Evaluation of such policy prioritizes economic costs and efficiency along with technical feasibility. For years, social equity has not been considered a relevant concern for this kind of policy because the impact on social equity such policies carry is not a direct outcome. Social equity in this particular case is a subsection of the financial aspect of the policy because billions of dollars spent on the system maximize the national debt of the United States and result in lower financing of social programs and opportunities.

In other words, social equity is not addressed directly because in this case, it is a part of the financial criteria. The other example describes the evaluation of the proposal to drill for oil and natural gas and the construction of the pipeline. This proposal was evaluated based on its economic costs, technical feasibility, national security, and environmental concerns. In this case, equity is a subsection of the last two criteria.

Equity should be a primary criterion for socially directed policies such as the regulation of the use of mobile phones while driving or gun ownership. The main criterion for these policies will be the ethical side of the restriction of personal behavior for the achievement of national wellbeing. Further, the policymakers would need to determine which options would be the most appropriate and effective in discouraging regulated behaviors. Working on the policies and proposals targeting social wellbeing the experts would have to take into consideration the rights and needs of every side involved in the policy and affected by it in one way or another. This means that such policies are difficult to adjust since they are supposed to target a number of different communities that have absolutely opposite needs.

The often-cited rationale for public policy or government intervention in society is market failure

In a capitalist society, economists do not intrude on the market. Instead, it operates fairly based on the demand established by competition. Different participants have the freedom to compete for the clients, reputation, and revenues equally. Market failure is the phenomenon that creates conditions under which the government can intervene in the system. Market failure stands for the situation that happens when the private market is inefficient. Market failure is divided into four main types. They are the inability to provide for the public and collective good, information failure, the existence of oligopolies and monopolies, and externalities (Kraft & Furlong 2012).

Monopolies and oligopolies occur when one or several individuals dominate a particular market and can dictate and determine the process for the services or goods provided by this market to a community. The government intervention is allowed because the communities have a right to be treated fairly (Kraft & Furlong 2012). Externalities refer to the outcomes of certain actions of market exchange between two sides that affect the third side.

Externalities can be of negative and positive character. Information failure appears when the consumers of particular goods and services are not properly informed about what they consume. The government intervenes creating regulations for the producers and distributors to provide full and relevant information about their goods. The final category of market failure is the inability to provide for the public and collective good. While private goods cannot be restricted, the government can intrude into the issue when it affects common pool goods and results in the exclusion of certain consumers due to price ranges, for example.

Besides, there is another side to the regulations concerning collective or public goods. These goods include such resources as water, electricity, fish in the lakes, wild animals in the forests, they are not owned by anyone, yet they are limited so the government must intrude and establish certain rules concerning the consumption of these goods regardless of the individuals desire to maximize their consumption.

The government serves as a social mediator and prevents the exhaustion of the resources through the limitation of the freedoms of the consumers. This is done in order to avoid the complications and harmful outcomes that may occur in case if a resource such as clean drinking water is exhausted by a community. The absence of regulations of public or collective goods would lead to unlimited consumption. For example, ancient societies did not have such rules which inevitably led to overhunting and overconsumption of big wild animals and caused the starvation of the population and the need to search for new resources or migrate to new territories.

Suppose that you and two friends are going to share a house. You have to decide whether each of you will purchase your own groceries and cook your own meals, or whether you will purchase groceries and cook meals as a group

Pareto effect principle states that if a group of people that shares the same resource works independently then they will undergo an imbalance of goods (Weimer & Vining, 2011). This will occur due to the fact that since the resource is shared, the increase of the welfare of one person will decrease the quality or quantity of goods another individual receives. In the case of a shared house – the house is a resource. The issue concerns the preparation of meals.

Trying to decide whether we should prepare collective meals or cook separately we will have to consider the possible Pareto effect since we cannot divide the kitchen equally into three parts and each has equal conditions for cooking personal meals, we would go for collective cooking. Besides, according to the principle of utilitarianism, all of the three participants will end up having equal goods even though some of us may not be able to contribute equally.

For example, if our incomes are different – this will help each of us contribute to a collective meal based on our financial abilities and create a common good. Such an approach will raise the position of the least advantaged of the friends and increase social equality in the group. Of course, this seems unfair towards the wealthier group members who are forced to share their income with the ones who earn less. This is why some of the individuals might not agree with this kind of division of goods. At the same time, if the society was larger and include more members, the situation would be slightly different.

First of all, sharing one resource such as a house and its kitchen between five people is even more difficult than sharing it between three people. In this case, choosing the collective preparation of meals would be a more likely option from the practical side due to the allocation of utilities such as time and space. Secondly, due to the higher rates of diversity in society redistribution might be less noticeable if the number of wealthier housemates is bigger than the number of those with lower income.

At the same time, if the wealthier housemate is outweighed by the low-income neighbors they might agree to contribute to the collective meals an equal amount of money so they will end up saving some costs for private purposes. This way, for the five-person kind of social sharing one house and one kitchen cooking, shared collective meals seems like the only optimal solution that would keep all of the members satisfied according to a number of parameters such as timing, sharing of common space, and financial contribution to the collectively prepared meals.

Public Policy Making is important but Policy Outcomes are probably more important to (or in) any society. Make an argument in support of this position or statement

Public Policy Making is important but Policy Outcomes are probably more important to (or in) any society. Public policymaking and policy outcomes are two inter-related factors. First of all, public policymaking is expected to aim at a particular outcome. The need for the policy is initially connected with the policymaking process because it has to target the outcome. This way, the policy-making process will have cyclic nature; it will have to refer to the need for the policy, the design of the policy, its objective, and its perceived result. A policy may have a positive or negative outcome.

The way a policy is designed and implemented determines the quality of its outcome. A successful policy that achieves the perceived result and addresses the initial need for a policy can be considered a policy with a positive outcome. When the need for the policy is unmet and the problem it targets remains the same or gets worse the policy has a negative outcome. To demonstrate the importance of the policy outcome over the policymaking I would like to use a historical example from the beginning of the 1960s. This was the time of massive demonstrations against racial discrimination and segregation in the South of the United States.

Most interestingly, by the time the protests occurred, racial segregation had already been identified as an illegal practice by the law. The fact that it continued and cause social dissatisfaction and protests demonstrates that the policies designed to address the problem of racial inequality were passed, but not enforced properly. As a result, the outcome they targeted – the establishment of equal rights for all citizens of the United States – was not achieved.

The policies existed and were active, yet they had no outcome, so they practically were useless. This example shows that regardless of the quality of a policy, its complexity, correctness, accuracy and the competency of people who created it, the most important aspect of it is still the effect it produces or its outcome. The policy is evaluated mainly based on its result, all other factors are required in order to determine why a particular effect was produced and how it can be maintained or changed, so the outcome remains the most crucial marker of the efficiency of a policy and the professionalism of its creators and enforcers. In other words, a policy outcome is the starting point for the evaluation of a policy-making process.

Reference List

Kraft, M. E., & Furlong, S. R. (2012). Public Policy: Politics, Analysis, and Alternatives (4th ed). New York: CQ Press.

Weimer, D. L., & Vining, A. R. (2011). Policy Analysis (5th ed). London, United Kingdom: Longman.

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