SUSS POL 101 Study Unit 4 - Introducing Public Policy and Political…
SUSS POL 101
Study Unit 4 - Introducing Public Policy and Political Economy
Public Policy and Public Administration
What is Public Policy
by a governmen
t authority that results in the
of something that is
can have both
intended and unintended consequences
(i.e. stop at 2 policy, a possible lead to an ageing population?)
According to Chakrabarty, Roy, and Chand (2012), public policy has
five distinguishing features
Actions and not speculations
Public policy is
what governments actually do
and what subsequently happens, rather than what they intend to do
i.e. not speculations
positive or negative action
Public policy may be either positive or negative in form.
ly, it may
involve some form of government action
to affect a particular problem.
ly, it involves a decision by government officials
not to take action, to do nothing
, on some matter on which government is sought.
Public policy is a course of
adopted and pursued by the government
to serve the public interest.
public goods and services
Public policy has a
legal and authoritative base
For example, members of a society accept it is legitimate to pay taxes, obey traffic rules, and pollution control norms because of their legal binding and coercive power.
Public policy is concerned with purposive or
rather than random behaviour
Why is Public Policy Important to examine?
analysing the development and execution of public policy can help us achieve a
of the political system and the process underpinning
This will give us
and allow us to
factor in context
, goals of the state, political culture, growth of state etc
and types of policy approaches
, arrangements, and instruments to achieve the desired ends
Types of Public Policies
five major types of
The transferring of values from one group to another group.
(Ex. Subsidised housing to those of limited financial resources)
The taking of resources from some actors.
(Ex. Sales taxes)
The limiting of actions by individuals or groups.
(Ex. The prohibition of abortion)
The conferring of honour or disrepute upon certain actors.
(Ex. Medal awarded for bravery)
The provision of particular goods and services.
(Ex. The building and maintenance of roads)
Comparative Public Policy:
Why do policies differ across states?
Different political values
Policies differ across states largely according to major value orientations
socio-political ideals and
role in determining
or illegality of policy issues
Example; Abortion laws
countries of North America and Western Europe generally
for abortion upon request.
One reason for this is these countries’ liberal assumption that the termination of an unwanted pregnancy is fundamentally a
and their generally secular assumption that is not an area in which the state can enforce certain forms of morality, particularly that of a religious nature.
countries with more traditional and religious moral values tend to place stricter laws into effect with regard to the accessibility of abortion
Different political culture
political cultures that have been
shaped by culture
, history, political leaders, modernisation and globalisation (and so on),
subsequently shape public attitudes
towards policy issues
Inequality in the international system is another reason why policies differ between some states.
are able to
spend more on policies
to improve the lives of their citizens such as in education or health care.
poorer countries are unable
to funnel as many resources into these policy areas.
Unique, key interests
one other crucial variable is the needs unique to a particular country.
Example, Japan, with its rapidly ageing society will necessarily need to devote more attention and resources to elderly care and health than a country such as Vietnam, with its relatively young population
5 Stages in the Policy Process
The policy is put into action. Various government agencies cooperate, coordinate with each other.
One main task is that the administrative body responsible for implementing the policy must
translate the policies
tangible, measurable, operational
at this formulation stage of the policy process, policymakers will consider
various criteria for choosing the appropriate policy instrument(s) to solve the identified problem
. These criteria include the
of the instrument (will the instrument achieve its goals?),
(at what cost?), equity (is it fair?),
(does it fit the problem?), and
(is it manageable?).
In the case of e-bikes, policy alternatives that might be considered include the prohibition of e-bikes altogether, creating a speed limit for e-bikes on pedestrian pavements, designating zones where e-bikes are permitted, and classifying e-bikes as motorbikes and thus requiring them to be licensed, registered, and driven on the road
effects of the policy are studied.
If the policy is deemed to be ineffective or gives rise to unintended consequences, it may go back to the “Problem Formulation” stage
policy is either passed or rejected
by the legislature. If the policy is passed it goes to the implementation stage.
a problem only becomes a policy problem once it is
pushed onto the agenda of policymakers
, typically the members of the executive and legislative branches of government
For example, there has been a surge in the number of pedestrians being injured as a result of an increasing number of e-bikes being driven at high speeds on the pedestrian pavement.
Introducing Political Economy
Core Concepts in Political Economy
Political economy is the
, in theory or in practice, of
politics and economics
The political system and the economic system are i
because many of the decisions made by the political system have bearings on the economy, and activities within the economic system have major effects on the state.
Political Goals in the Economy
most governments attempt to intervene in the economy for several central reasons:
Keeping inflation, unemployment, income inequality low
responsibility of keeping inflation low has been on the shoulders of independent
that have been given the task of
the circulation of money in the economy through what is called
is a situation in which there is a general rise in the price of goods and services
In a situation of hyperinflation - when
inflation is at an extremely high rate
- savings could be wiped out in a very short period of time
Economic contraction chracterised by limited spending power
is a situation in which there are
not enough jobs
for those who are looking for work.
high-sustained unemployment, if left unaddressed, can create social problems such as
Depending on the type of political economy and whether the government in question is on the left or right of the political spectrum, governments can either
for their citizens themselves or
attractive business environment for investors.
(a.k.a Supply side econmies)
Issues with job creation
Though governments can create jobs, they are “slow to turn these on and off.” this leads to the unnecessary use of public finances for the
creation of inefficient jobs
Issues with Supply-side economies
Attracting investor may require the government to allow for more relax labour regulations which otherwise, demands high standards of employee welfare (i.e. higher minimum wage and welfare insurance coverage)
relaxing of these regulations
may have the effect of
hurting the livelihoods of labourers
and increasing inequality in society.
To mitigate the potential social consequences of unemployment.
Many states use extensive welfare policies
state assistance to individuals, whether
monetary or programme-orientated
Ensuring distribution of goods and services
a measure of a country’s income inequality
a score of 0 would mean perfect
equality while a score of 100 would mean complete inequality
45 reflects a high level of income inequality.
why inequality can constitute a problem
inequality is an ethical concern(Socialist thought)
can exacerbate social and political tension (foster conflict between groups who compete
for scarce resources)
- one that takes a greater percentage of income from a person who is relatively well-off and a small percentage from one who is not doing so well
Growth and development
one of the primary tasks of most governments is to ensure economic development and sucess
Occurs as more and more households and firms (businesses) within a country are engaged in ever-higher levels of production and consumption.
Based on greater control of the environment and resources, more (and more complex) goods are produced and exchanged, and the gross domestic product
(GDP) gets larger
relative to the number of people sharing in the market
Gross domestic product (GDP)
of economic growth
Describes the total value of all final goods produced by all people within a state’s boundary.
GDP per capita
social scientists often use what is called GDP per capita to show the
average wealth of a citizen in a given country
, thus more accurately showing a level of economic developmen
GDP per capita can be measured by dividing the GDP by the country’s population size
Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)
Some economists prefer to use what is called Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) that factors in the cost of goods and services in different countries.
For example, the same T-Shirt in Japan may cost three times as much as in Myanmar. although having far less absolute wealth, the purchasing power and relative wealth of Myanmar might be closer than the nominal GDP figures indicate.
Theories and Models in Political Economy
Key Thinkers in Political Economy
Karl Marx (critique of capitalism/radical left)
• critic of Smith - Smith
missed the fundamental role that labour
played in production - workers are unpaid for a period of time or
(as capitalists/bourgeoisie reap rewards unfairly at the expense of labour/proletariat)
cannot be reformed as it inherently
requires continued growth
and profit to ensure the sustainability of the capitalist market. This is achieved through many modes including the
exploitation of labour.
State supports and maintains capitalist system and can only be
rejected via revolutionary overthrow
John Maynard Keynes (Keynesianism fiscal policy)
Similar to Marx as he understood that
capitalism was damaging
to ordinary people (eg: Great Depression)
believed that the
market was not able to sort itself
out - necessary for governments to intervene to avoid such crises - in a crisis,
business would act in their own self-interest
and cut costs which could eventually inhibit the possibility of growth in a vicious cycle
- government should intervene - theory of
spending in bad
save in good times
was meant to balance the books, all the while keeping the economy turning without the possibility of mass unemployment
Adam Smith (invisible hand)
believed that the most efficient use of resources would occur when producers and buyers of goods were left to their own rationality and self-interest (
I.e. unregulated/invisible hand
Invisible hand - market competition ensures that
, including capital, are
to those who can utilise them most effectively and at the lowest cost
(in the most efficient manner)
; those that are inefficient would have to leave the market.
The complete un-regulated market can lead to
(i.e. companies colluding to control prices of goods).
The push for profit gains sytematically motivates the capitalist market to ignore moral-related issues (i.e.
Milton Friedman (monetary policy)
Mid-1970s, Keynesianism was increasingly unpopular as many countries were facing low growth, high debt, stagflation -
greater state spending
/intervention would only
worsen the problem
According to Friedman inflation occurred because too much money being circulated in the economy -
inflation could be fundamentally controlled through tightening the money supply
eg: via the manipulation of interest rates via independent central banks, creating a disincentive to borrow money - tightens money circulating in system and controls inflation
Problem is that while independent central banks may advocate this, elected governments may not be willing to do so
based on elections prospect or fear of business who may be supporting them (Good for banks, bad for business)
The Free Market and Command Economies
Most common model observed in the real world.
characteristics of both Command and Market Economies
and usually lean towards either one of the ideal types.
more clearly a left-wing political project.
what distinguishes socialism or social democracy from the command economy is the fact that private
are given “
of action” and
government “does not aim to achieve total economic
equality among all citizens.”
statism is a type of political economy in which the
state is highly active in the economy
and plays a defining role in managing the system and production of goods.
of this political economy are generally
economic growth and development
country’s business firms
(potentially partially state-owned) are given a special standing in the domestic economy as the
state protects them from internal competition through tariffs and regulations
and attempts to facilitate their growth through preferential loans and maintaining a relatively weak currency
The core feature of this type of political economy is that, though many of the
free-market features are left intact
, particularly private ownership of most of the means of production, there is
an institutionalised system
co-ordination between the three main sectors
of the economy:
the state, industry, and labour
work towards mutually beneficial
and long-term goals
Despite economic activity
built around the
, economic decisions are primarily made to
ensure that firms with close connections to the political leadership are successful
Politically, such political economies exist almost exclusively in authoritarian regimes
An economy that has little or
no government intervention
individual economic freedom
to make it or break it in a competitive marketplace
preferred political economies of** the
: Energetic and
: Ruthless interactions;
in wealth and resources
: Goods’ cost and quality
to consumers’ desires
for and proliferation of goods that
have limited social value
No central plan
Local decision and “invisible hand” stimulate innovation,
Economic cycles of boom and bust,
inflation and recession
in the economy to address socio-economic inequalities, controls factors of production (J M Keynes was a key advocate)
preferred politicaleconomy of
: Work for common good; relative equality of wealth and income;
Little initiative; shoddy products; low productivity;
: Production and distribution for social and
Problem: Oversupply and shortages
; lack of coordination
use of societal resources
lack of responsiveness
to changing circumstances
Comparing Command, Market, and Mixed Political Economies
Who controls the factors of production?
Command: The state owns all significant factors (land, labour, and capital).
Market: Every private actor (household) controls her own factors
Mixed: The state and private actors each control some factors
Who determines what goods are produced?
Command: The state devises a detailed economic plan that specifies what level of each good will be produced.
The system is supply-oriented
Market: All actors (firms) make their own separate decisions about production in an attempt to maximize their own utilities.
The system is demand-oriented
Mixed: Some firms are under direct state control, but most make decisions in the market. The state regulates some actions of many firms and households.
The system is mainly demand-oriented
Who establishes the value attached to different productive factors and goods?
Command: The state sets the value (price) in all exchanges.
Market: The market (via the “invisible hand”) sets the value, based on the equilibrium of supply and demand.
Mixed: The market sets the value. The state regulates some prices to serve national priorities.
Who decides how factors and goods will be distributed?
Command: The state’s plan indicates who will receive which goods and in what amounts.
Market: Distribution is based on a summation of the actions of all consumers and producers in the market.
Mixed: The market is the main decision-maker. The state intervenes in some cases to ensure that certain actors have access to particular goods
What is the role of the state?
Command: The state is dominant, controlling almost all aspects of the political economy.
Market: The state plays a minimal role in the political economy. The state enforces the “social contract,” protecting all from violence and lawbreakers
Mixed: The state attempts to strike a balance between
(1) state control and competition; and
(2) private profit and a sharing of societal resources.
What is Public Administration
and the processes through which the
and practices are applied and
Functions of Public Administration
provision of knowledge
The deep knowledge of the public administration’s civil servants can be tapped into by governments.
The public administration is responsible for
collecting and managing taxes
, as well as running or regulating parts of the economy.
This is particularly true in political economies in which the state plays a relatively larger role in the economy.
provision of public goods and service
The public administration is
for the interpretation and
application of policies that provide public goods
and services to individuals and groups.
regulation/ enforcement of behaviour
The public administration
for the behaviour of individuals and groups.
Examples of this include monitoring collusion, traffic laws, and social order.
The public administration plays a crucial role in the
collection, storage, and analysis of information.
In performing this duty, it serves as a crucial database for future policy formation.
The Historical Development of Public Administration
1. the spoils system
anyone could and should be able to participate in the public administration
elected politicians distributed jobs to those with the foresight to support the winning candidate.
there are several problems with the spoils system, including the fact that the civil service experiences an extremely
high level of turnover, leading to inefficiency
and a lack of continuity
2. modern bureaucracy/ Weberian bureaucracy
key difference between the spoils system and the modern bureaucratic system of public administration is the fact that the modern bureaucratic system is supposed to be
composed of experts
who are recruited based on their ability to
rationally analyse social circumstances
in informing government on public needs and to apply the policies of government based on detailed rules and regulations
Bureaucracy involves a
carefully defined division of tasks
Authority is impersonal
and decisions are reached by
rules to particular cases.
The bureaucracy forms a
in which lower officials are subject to the authority of their superiors.
People are recruited to serve in the bureaucracy based on proven or at least potential competence.
This is often established through a merit-based examination system
perform their duties competently
possess secure jobs and salaries and can expect
to seniority and
one in which
role in ensuring the material
well-being of their citizens
were established both to
run state-managed industries
a shift by developing and developed countries in the 80s to neoliberalism and privatisation - fuelled by the belief that bureaucracy was hurting state finances and that the
private sector is more efficient than bureaucracy.
that resulted from this political economic shift
led to a third general stage
in public administration, namely New Public Management
3. New Public Management
In NPM, like the private sector, the principles of efficiency, economy, and profitability reign supreme.
7 principles of NPM
according to results
are unbundled into more independent operating units
There is more
in recruiting and retaining staff.
More work is
out to the private sector.
is assessed against
Costs are cut in an effort to
achieve more with less.
but are still held responsible for results.
Private-Public Partnerships (PPPs) projects
Collaborations between public admin and private entity are often done through Private-Public Partnerships (PPPs) projects designed for the general public that both the state and private firms invest in
The Organisation of the Administration
centre of the public administration
are the traditional departments or ministries, such as those core ministries dealing with finance, law and order, defence, and foreign affairs
ministries are organised in a hierarchical fashion with a single minister (i.e. a member of the 'cabinet') at the
pinnacle of the ministerial organisation chart.
In most states, a deputy minister or secretary will be second in the command structure
as a full-time member of the public administration and not an elected politician, will be responsible for
bridging the gap
political and administrative levels
of the state.
public bodies/ Statutory board
As opposed to being run directly by a ministry,
such as these are created by the executive for several reasons
protection from political interference
in delivering day-to-day services/operations.
To operate with more
(and at a lower cost) than would be acceptable for a ministry.
To acknowledge the professional status and
of their staff.
To provide a response to short-term pressure to do something about a problem.
To allow ministries to focus on policy-making.
e.g National Heritage Board