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Public Policy

Synopsis of Chapter 2 of ‘Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision Making’

Political science focuses on three issues, including subjects obtaining certain benefits, time limits of this process, and the ways of the provision of this procedure.

The key point of public policy is distributions. Each policy decision suggests the dispensation. As a result, a distributive conflict occurs, being the consequence of situations where equity is the aim. As a result, the paradox of distributive challenges arises. It means that “equality may in fact mean inequality; equal treatment may require unequal treatment; and the same distribution may be seen as equal or unequal, depending on one’s point of view” (Stone, 2012, p. 42). One can refer to equality as constancy in distribution. On the other hand, equity can be explained as distributions considered fair, ignoring the fact of their comprising both equalities and inequalities.

Furthermore, there are three key aspects of any distribution, including recipients, items, and process. The first dimension concerns subjects obtaining something. The second aspect focuses on objects distributed. Finally, the third dimension considers the way of making decisions regarding the distribution and its implementation. There are several issues related to the distributive conflict. The first one includes subjects that can belong to the category of recipients. The second category regards key inner groups for distributing outcomes and groups that can be neglected. The third type refers to some key groups in the community connected with distributive equity. Belonging to these groups, subjects obtain privileges. The fourth issue states that enhancing the definitional limits is redistribution. In fact, less important objects balance inequalities in more significant field. The fifth point provides the conversion from a typical value of things to more customized standards. The last issue suggests that people strive for getting unequal results in the case of fair process.


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Equity can be horizontal and vertical. The former presupposes equal treatment of people who have a similar status in the society. The latter refers to the unequal treatment of individuals belonging to different ranks. Distributions can rest on ranks or merits and certain groups, like quotas and affirmative action. However, certain things are indivisible; therefore, people can receive unequal results even in the case of fair procedure of deciding the outcome.

The chapter then reveals two aspects of equality, namely the process standards and the recipient standards. The first criterion suggests equal procedure of distributions while the second one aims at the result. There are two key conditions, providing fair process. The first one deals with cases of newly produced things that are not under the copyright, such as inventions. The second fair type presupposes obtaining things by transactions, such as sale, gift, and inheritance.

Moreover, some conflict situations may arise because individuals do not “always agree on the relevant characteristics of recipients and items” (Stone, 2012, p. 52).

It also explains liberty as the lack of limitations and “having enough basic resources to choose out of desire and necessity” (Stone, 2012, p. 55). It suggests fair shares when each individual obtains resources to remain alive.

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Finally, throughout the chapter, there are constant disputes on the subject of differences between liberalism and conservatism.

Synopsis of Chapter 3 of ‘Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision Making’

Efficiency consists of several key characteristics. First, the outcome is to be the maximum of the involved resources. Second, the goals are to be reached by the least cost. Third, the key issue is achieving the reasonable ratio between involved resources and outcome (Stone, 2012). Moreover, there are several major issues connected with the efficiency. The first conflict regards subjects obtaining privileges and developing policy. The second one refers to the ways of evaluating the benefits and expenses of a certain policy. The third issue concerns the way of arranging the process to obtain the maximum outcome.

The measurement of efficiency is a difficult task because goals of public policy are constantly changing. One can explore the efficiency as the way of directing monetary resources by members of a community to achieve the maximum outcome. Efficiency is always disputable.

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Furthermore, efficiency is related to the markets. According to the theory of markets, exchanges can be optional and typified. Decision-makers direct the resources to the projects, resulting in the greatest benefits. Each deal is expected to provide new recipients with more advantages than the former ones had. In its turn, the market faces several problems. First, the monopoly of one individual or enterprise in the market is not acceptable. Subjects must not have the privilege of dictating prices. Therefore, policy-makers are to provide conditions for the activities of several buyers and sellers in the market. Second, decision-makers are to have trustworthy information about the accessible options. All the participants of exchange processes are to obtain the maximum outcome for them.

The chapter also reveals several difficulties the Polis faces. First, any individual can dispute the opportunity of optional interchanges because of unequal distribution of income and outcome. Second, the market system needs to obtain exact data. For example, buyers are expected to get trustworthy information about the goods they purchase. Nutrition labels are to be provided in this case. Nevertheless, this condition of complete data cannot be fulfilled because information lacks completeness. Some participants of the exchanging process may conceal certain information because its sharing would diminish their chances to take the maximum outcome in the deal. Third, subject’s deeds can produce side effects on other participants of the process.

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There are several peculiarities concerning equality. First, equality does not contribute to achieving results. Inequality is the best motivating factor. Second, policy-makers are expected to concern individual options to provide equality. Third, the process of providing equality needs significant administrative resources. Nevertheless, equality is unproductive in its nature. In fact, “welfare doesn’t work because it gives poor people an incentive to stay poor” (Stone, 2012, p. 83). Consequently, equality can be effective under the circumstances of the wise arrangement of individuals’ labor and political power.

Synopsis of the Article “What Is Next for Policy Design and Social Construction Theory?”

Policy design theory regards “the centrality of policy design, the attention to social constructions, the attention to policy consequences (or feed-forward effects), and the integration of normative and empirical research and theory” (Schneider & Sidney, 2009, p. 103).

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In the future, policy design theory is expected to develop several issues. First, it should focus on social constructions. Second, there is a need to explore empirical and theoretical principles of the connections between policy design elements and target populations. Third, researchers are to examine the influence of policy designed on the politics, social activities in communities, and other sides of political procedures. Next, empirical research and normative democratic theory are to be implemented together. Finally, researchers should regard policy design in connection with other policy theories.

Being the central issue, policy design can be referred to as the content of the policy. There are several normative criteria for assessing policy designs. They are freedom, rationality, efficiency, as well as political and subjective equalities.

The public policy comprises several fundamental elements. The first one is formulating the key problem and aims to be achieved. The second issue is determining advantages and disadvantages. The third unit element concerns target groups, namely the participants of the processes, and subjects, who do their activities in the political field and may receive profits or incur losses. The next one focuses on the implementation design that includes the complete implementation outlook. The social organization represents another crucial element. The sixths unit is rationales. The last element regards the underlying hypothesis that includes explicit or implicit ideas about the causes and opportunities individuals and institutions can take (Schneider & Sidney, 2009).

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The policy design consists of several issues, including target groups, determined aims, tools, principles, rationales, and the implementation design. Target groups can be referred to as groups created for obtaining advantages or having certain duties. Determined aims deal with a policy or issues to be developed. Tools are instruments for achieving the desired results. Principles regard involvement and exclusion of participants in target groups. Rationales determine reasons and proper ways of political activities. Political dimensions can be pure normative and not visibly normative. The former ones include rationales and aims. The last ones comprise tools and implementation design.

Target groups enjoy political power different in its amount. The participants can demonstrate beneficial and detrimental features. There are several preferable social constructions. The first one includes influential groups with attractive reputation. The second group comprises contenders that can be referred to as influential groups with a poor reputation. The third category deals with influential groups enjoying the attractive reputation. Finally, the last group is deviants, who comprise atypical groups with a bad reputation (Schneider & Sidney, 2009).

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Policy design influences several fields of democracy. They include justice, citizenship, democratic organizations, and challenge solutions. Policy design theory contributes to boosting technical sides of policies, implicit principles, standards in communities, and future consequences as the results of implementing certain policies.

Policy studies use a number of interpretive research methods. They conceptualize theoretical material and its implementation in practice. Information, its interpretation, and assessing criteria are the subjects of research.

In the future, policy design studies are expected to solve several challenges. First, they are to explore the ways negative social groups influence opinion in communities. Second, there is a need to examine the influence of political design and its role in achieving democratic values. Third, policy windows and the groups taking advantage of them are to be studied. These steps would contribute to the prevention of the pitfalls in making politics reach the democratic values.

Literature Review of the Article “Addressing the Challenges of Adaptation to Climate Change Policy: Integrating Public Administration and Public Policy Studies”

The issue of adjustment to climate change is the topical subject in the Canadian state policy. Significant attention is concentrated on creating proper policies and programs to deal with drastic changes in climate. In particular, new challenges are to be solved. First, the range of participants for making proper policies should be enhanced. Second, representatives of all social levels are expected to be involved in political procedures. Third, there is a need to initiate the privatization of activities and program delivery. Fourth, due attention should be paid to the wide use of the Internet and social networks. In fact, social discussions are the key to success in providing the above policies.

Contemporary studies and policy implementations lack proper analytical ground because of the replacement of old-fashioned technical methods with ill-prepared modern techniques. There are several weak points in modern research studies. First, theoretical assumptions and declaring politicians’ viewpoint on the problem are widely used, ignoring empirically based evidence. Second, modern empirical studies evaluate policy abilities in a traditional way. In fact, “the number of policy staff, their education levels, resources available, and ongoing training have been compared to outputs, such as the number of reports or briefing notes and assessments of program success” (Wellstead & Stedman, 2014, p. 1001).

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Modern researchers explore cross-government, local policy abilities, implementing similar variables at the national level. Currently, Wellstead and Stedman (2014) are dealing with the issue of intergovernmental comparison. They have developed numerous key variables influencing the policy process. The dependent variable is represented with obtained policy ability as the evaluating tool.

Determining policy options plays the crucial role in the studies. Three major aspects are under consideration, which concern geographic, temporal characteristics, and the essence of the problem. The explored phenomena include several categories, namely technical, consultative, and routine. The technical group comprises problems that demand the participation of experts and special technical studies. The consultative group includes challenges that need the involvement of social institutions. The routine group represents “issues that have a single, clear, relatively simple solution” (Wellstead & Stedman, 2014, p. 1001).

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The crucial factors of modern policy capacity include activities of policy creation. They are gathering information, evaluating procedures, and dealing with external processes.

Climate change evaluations focus on declaring the current scientific data on the influence of climate change and adaptations.

Furthermore, examining burning postulates, the topical survey was conducted. Individuals who answered the questions resided on the vast geographical territory. Approximately one-third worked for Federal Government Departments. Despite focusing on climate-change specialized issues within authority bodies, nearly one-third of the participants of the survey stated that they did not take part in events dedicated to improving climate-change circumstances. Many governmental institutions did not pay great attention to the ecological problems. Being involved in ecological activities, respondents demonstrated certain interest to climate-change issues only in two aspects. The first one dealt with gathering the necessary information. The second aspect concerned policy assessment. In the institutions under consideration, the quality and quantity of climate change research did not correspond to the declared goals. Involving non-governmental resources enhanced the policy capacity.

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Obtained policy capacity disagrees with complex research studies. Therefore, great attention should be paid to “a daily basis, namely policy design, instrument choice, policy mixes, and the interaction of policy actors” (Wellstead & Stedman, 2014, p. 1009).

The descriptive outcomes determine that the participants of experiments conducted in a thrifty way. Nevertheless, the obtained results revealed that social networking plays significant role in the policy capacity. The quantity and quality of the obtained information are also important. Moreover, policy procedures and the development of technical equipment are major conditions as well.

Surprisingly, general policy treatment did not make a dramatic effect on the policy capacity of the obtained climate change.



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