Terms and definitions of key concepts of Intro to Public Policy
The step in the policy process that involves action by some official person or body to select, modify or reject a preferred policy alternative.
The step in the policy process whereby policy actors attempt to get an issue seriously considered for public action.
An interpretation of federalism employed from 1937-1964 in which the national government and the state governments worked together to solve problems, especially education and poverty.
A form of policy analysis in which the costs and benefits of proposed policy action are considered carefully. Typically, the major costs and benefits are measured quantitatively by their value in dollars.
Cost Effectiveness Analysis
A comparison of the relative value of policy alternatives in terms of a given benefit that is delivered; a method for comparing policy alternatives when a dollar value cannot easily be placed on the consequences of the action, typically the benefits.
An interpretation of federalism employed from 1964-1980 in which policies would be created by the national government and imposed on the state governments in order to create more uniformity among the states, especially concerning civil rights and the environment.
A means to consider several possible decision options or alternatives when the consequences of the decisions are uncertain and can be used to improve the understanding of the implications of policy choices.
Constitutional powers assigned to one branch or level of government that are exercised by another branch or level of government with the express permission of the first.
A policy to remove a program from one level of government by passing it down to a lower level of government, such as from the national government to the state and local governments.
All power is exercised directly by the people. Complete and simple majority rule.
A policy that provides services or benefits to particular persons, groups or communities.
An interpretation of federalism employed from 1789-1937 in which each level of government has complete authority in its area of power. There is no encroachment permitted and no limit within each sphere.
The study of how society chooses to allocate scarce resources.
An analytical criterion that refers to whether a current or proposed policy has or will achieve its proposed goals.
An analytical criterion that refers to whether a current or proposed policy will achieve the greatest possible benefits based upon the costs incurred.
The theory that emphasizes how the values and preferences of governing elites, which differ from those of the public at large, affect public policy development.
An analytical criterion that refers to whether a current or proposed policy’s results are fairly distributed to those affected by the policy.
The step in the policy process where implemented policies are assess to determine whether the policy is achieving the previously developed goals.
Seizing private property for government use; the owner is compensated but must relinquish.
A type of market failure that occurs when two parties interact in a market and a third party, who is not a party to the transaction, is also affected, either positively or negatively.
A system where power is constitutionally separated between one national or central government and other semi‑autonomous levels of government (e.g., state and local).
The step in the policy process where proposed courses of action or alternatives for dealing with public problems are developed.
Comprised of institutions and processes that rulers establish to strengthen and perpetuate their power or control over a territory and its inhabitants.
The step in the policy process where an adopted policy, whether legislative, executive or judicial in origin, is put into effect in an endeavor to accomplish their goals.
Policy process where adjustments are made at the margins of existing policies through minor amendments or the gradual extension of a program’s mandate or the groups it serves.
The theory that emphasizes the formal and legal aspects of government structure. Such models study the way governments are arranged, their legal powers, their rules for decision making and how these factors affect public policy development.
Logic of Collective Action
A theory that suggests that a single individual would be irrational to join an interest group when almost no personal gain will follow.
A situation such that private markets do not efficiently or effectively allocate goods and services. It is often a justification for government intervention.
The wealth of a nation was considered to be based upon the amount of gold typically controlled by the state.
A good or service to which people are entitled as a right.
Political system where a hereditary individual has absolute power. There was no freedom in economic or political sphere.
Combined 77 categorical grants into 9 block grants. States had more freedom but also had 25% less money. Not so much new as a desire to return to dual federalism.
A form of government in which the right to participate is conditioned on the possession of wealth, social status, military position or achievement.
The value of actions that are foregone when time or resources are spent on a given activity. What might have been done with same time or resources if another choice had been made.
Pareto Optimal Solution/Improvement
An improvement or solution where the policy helps one or many without harming any others.
Pareto Optimal Situation
A reallocation of resources causes at least one person to be better off without making anyone else worse off.
The theory that all interests are and should be free to compete for influence in the government to affect public policy development. The outcome of this competition is com
The examination of components of public policy, the policy process, or both.
Analyzing and explaining the ways in which government affects the allocation of scarce resources in society through public policies AND the ways the economic system affects the policies created by government.
A calculation of the likely acceptability to policymakers of a proposed policy idea or alternative.
A cohesive set of beliefs that form a general philosophy about the role of government.
Political Systems Theory
The theory that stresses the way the political system responds to demands that arise from its environment, such as public opinion and pressure from interest groups.
The study of the authoritative allocation of values.
Potential Pareto Solution/Improvement
If, due to a policy change, there is an overall net increase in benefits for society, a Pareto solution can be generated if the winners compensate the losers.
A type of market failure in which a good is defined by its ability to be jointly consumed and for exclusion is not feasible.
Attempts by the government to affect behavior through the use of laws, rules or regulations punishing people for doing something society doesn't want them to do or reward people for doing what society wants them to do.
The theory that assumes that, in making decisions, individuals, including government officials, are rational actors who seek to attain their preferences or further their self-interests in affecting public policy development.
A policy that shifts resources among broad groups of people.
See Creative Federalism.
Taxes used as a means to affect behavior, not merely to collect revenues.
Public decisions are made by a small group of individuals chosen by the rest of society.
From the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Powers that are not specifically delegated to the national government or denied to the states are reserved to the states or the people
A good or service used to produce goods or services that can be used to satisfy human wants.
Separation of Powers
The division of governmental power among several institutions of government that must cooperate with each other in decision making. This concept may be more properly thought of as “Separate Institutions Sharing Power.”
System of government where the local and regional governments derive all authority from a strong national government.