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PSU08208: Theoretical
Approaches to Public Policy
Instructor: Mr. SANCHAWA, DH
Assistant Lecturer-PA
dsanchawa@mnma.ac.tz
5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
Learning objectives
• Upon the completion of this two hrs LECTURE, the
Instructor is expecting that, Learners should be able
to:-
• Explain the meaning of a theory and a model
• Identify several theoretical approaches to public policy
• Analyse the strengths and weakness of each theory
• Examine the implication of each theory in policy
making and analysis
• Explain the Importance of the identified theories etc
5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
Introduction
• The lecture begins with a description of a theory
in relation to the subject matter. A theory is a
comprehensive, systematic, consistent and
reliable explanation and prediction of
relationship among specific variables
• A theory is a representation of a reality. It can
scientifically be proved
• Dye (1995) said that certain theoretical
approaches and models have been introduced in
studying public policy.
5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
Introduction
• As with the definitions, there are no
comprehensive theories on policy making and
analysis. Distinguished scholars have
remarked that policies are jelly like in nature
(Moharir,1986:15) and must be thought of as
seashells. Furtherance, Hanekom(1987:8)
remarked that all public policies are future
oriented and aimed at the general
promotional of the social welfare of the
society.
5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
Public policy theories: Examples
• Institutional theory; (institutionalism )
• Rational theory ; (rationalism)
• Incremental theory ;(Incrementalism)
• Mixed scanning
• Process theory
• Group theory
• Elite theory
• Game theory and
• Public choice theory etc
5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
1.Institutional theory
• Public policy is determined by government
institutions, which give policy legitimacy.
• Government universally applies policy to all
citizens of society and monopolizes the use of
force in applying policy.
• The legislature, executive and judicial
branches of government are examples of
institutions that give policy legitimacy.
5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
Institutional theory (ctd)
• Considers policy as an institutional out put
(Institutions refers to government
institutions). Government institutions have
long been a central focus of political science.
Traditionally political science is the study of
government institutions such as the state,
municipalities etc. Public policy is
authoritatively determined, implemented and
enforced by these institutions.
5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
Institutional theory (ctd)
• The relationship between public policy and
government institution is close because a
public policy can not become a public policy
until it is opted, implemented and enforced by
some government institutions.
5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
Institutional theory(ctd)
• Government institutions give public policy
Legitimacy, Legal obligation that command
loyalty of the citizens, Universality i.e Only
government policies extend to all people in
the society and Coercion/Force i.e the
Government can legitimately imprison
violators of public policy
5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
Institutional theory(ctd)
• It is precisely this ability of government to
command the loyalty of its citizens, to enact
policies governing the whole society, and to
monopolize the legitimate use of force that
encourages individuals and groups to work for
enactment of their preferences into policy.
5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
2.Rational theory
• According to Hanekom(1987:82), rational
comprehensive model has its roots in the rational
comprehensive decision making and implies that
the policy maker has a full range of policy options
to choose from.
• Rational theory is one that achieves maximum
social gain/benefit i.e. Government should choose
policies resulting in gains to society that exceed
costs by greatest amount
5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
Rational theory (ctd)
• The concept of maximum social gains means no
policy should be adopted if its costs exceed its
benefits and among policy alternatives, decision
makers should choose the policy that produces the
greatest benefits over costs.
• So a policy is rational when the difference between
the values
5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
Rational theory(ctd)
it achieves and the values it gets is positive and
greater than any other policy alternatives.
• Rationalism involves the calculation of all social
political and economic values sacrificed or achieved
by a public policy. Not just those that can be
measured in terms of money
5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
Rational theory (ctd)
• In rationalism to select a policy maker must be able
to know all the society value preferences their
relative weight, Know all the policy alternatives
available, Know all the consequences of each policy
alternatives, Calculate the ratio of benefits to costs
for each policy
5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
Rational theory (ctd)
• process for making logically sound decisions in
policy making in the public sector, although the
model is also widely used in private corporations.
• Herbert A. Simon, the father of rational models,
describes rationality as “a style of behavior that is
appropriate to the achievement of given goals,
within the limits imposed by given conditions and
constraints
5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
3. Garbage-can model
• The Garbage-Can Model emerged as a critique
to the Rational Model saying that
organizations do not function as computers in
solving optimization problems.
• This Theory advocates that organizations
function like garbage cans into which a mix of
problems and possible solutions are poured,
with the precise mix determining the decision
outcome.
5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
4.Incremental model/theory(ctd)
• Under this model, policy is a continuation of
previous policy with minimum changes
• Existing programmes, policies and
expenditures are considered as a base
• Policy makers accept the legitimacy of
previous policies because of uncertainty about
the consequences of new policies
5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
4. Mixed scanning
• This is a combination of the Rational and
Incremental Theories.(this is try and error
• Users of this theory integrate the
characteristics of rational model and
incremental (Hanekom, 1987:85) first by
reviewing the overall policy and second by
concentrating on a specific need , policy result
or policy impact.
5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
5. Process model
• Identification of a problem and demand for
government action
• Formulation of policy proposals by various parties
• Policy Legitimation - Selection and enactment of
policy
• Implementation of the chosen policy
• Evaluation of policy
5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
6. Group model
• One of the main agents for policy change is
the initiative by the interest groups.
• They pressure and interact with the policy
makers on preferences and self interest
• Thus, the role of the political system is to
establish and enforce compromise between
various, conflicting interests in society
5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
7. Elite model/ the mass
• This theory is based on the assumption that, a
small, elite group (usually government) is
solely responsible for policy decisions.
• The elite group govern an ill-informed public
• Public policies are viewed as preferences and
values of governing elite
• Policies flow down-ward from elites to
masses; they do not arise from mass demands
5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
8. Game theory
• It is a study of rational decisions in situations
where two or more participants have choices to
make and outcome depends on the choices made
by each.
• Game Theory is an abstract and deductive model
of policy making.
• It does not describe how people actually make
decisions but rather how they should go about
making decisions in competitive situations if they
are rational.
5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
9. Public choice
• The Theory Refers to policy as a collective
decision making by self interested individuals.
Individuals come together in politics for their own
mutual benefits and by agreement (Contract)
among themselves they can enhance their own
well being. Therefore, people pursue their self
interest in politics but even with a selfish motives
they can mutually benefits through collective
decision making.
5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
Public choice
• This model assumes that all political actors,
voters, tax payers, legislatures, bureaucrats,
political parties, etc. seek to maximize their
personal benefits in politics as a market place.
• Individuals come together in politics for their
mutual benefit, just as they come together in
a market place
5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
Why public policy models are
important?
• They:
• Create order and simplify reality
• Identify what is significant
• Can be congruent with reality
• Can provide meaningful communication
• Direct Enquiry and Research
• Suggest Explanations
5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
Why public policy models are
important?
• Model are not competitive; anyone of the can
not be judged as best
• Each one provides a separate focus and each
can help understand different things about
public policy
• Most policies are a combination of all models
mentioned
5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA

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Theoretical Approaches to Public Policy

  • 1. PSU08208: Theoretical Approaches to Public Policy Instructor: Mr. SANCHAWA, DH Assistant Lecturer-PA dsanchawa@mnma.ac.tz 5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
  • 2. Learning objectives • Upon the completion of this two hrs LECTURE, the Instructor is expecting that, Learners should be able to:- • Explain the meaning of a theory and a model • Identify several theoretical approaches to public policy • Analyse the strengths and weakness of each theory • Examine the implication of each theory in policy making and analysis • Explain the Importance of the identified theories etc 5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
  • 3. Introduction • The lecture begins with a description of a theory in relation to the subject matter. A theory is a comprehensive, systematic, consistent and reliable explanation and prediction of relationship among specific variables • A theory is a representation of a reality. It can scientifically be proved • Dye (1995) said that certain theoretical approaches and models have been introduced in studying public policy. 5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
  • 4. Introduction • As with the definitions, there are no comprehensive theories on policy making and analysis. Distinguished scholars have remarked that policies are jelly like in nature (Moharir,1986:15) and must be thought of as seashells. Furtherance, Hanekom(1987:8) remarked that all public policies are future oriented and aimed at the general promotional of the social welfare of the society. 5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
  • 5. Public policy theories: Examples • Institutional theory; (institutionalism ) • Rational theory ; (rationalism) • Incremental theory ;(Incrementalism) • Mixed scanning • Process theory • Group theory • Elite theory • Game theory and • Public choice theory etc 5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
  • 6. 1.Institutional theory • Public policy is determined by government institutions, which give policy legitimacy. • Government universally applies policy to all citizens of society and monopolizes the use of force in applying policy. • The legislature, executive and judicial branches of government are examples of institutions that give policy legitimacy. 5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
  • 7. Institutional theory (ctd) • Considers policy as an institutional out put (Institutions refers to government institutions). Government institutions have long been a central focus of political science. Traditionally political science is the study of government institutions such as the state, municipalities etc. Public policy is authoritatively determined, implemented and enforced by these institutions. 5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
  • 8. Institutional theory (ctd) • The relationship between public policy and government institution is close because a public policy can not become a public policy until it is opted, implemented and enforced by some government institutions. 5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
  • 9. Institutional theory(ctd) • Government institutions give public policy Legitimacy, Legal obligation that command loyalty of the citizens, Universality i.e Only government policies extend to all people in the society and Coercion/Force i.e the Government can legitimately imprison violators of public policy 5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
  • 10. Institutional theory(ctd) • It is precisely this ability of government to command the loyalty of its citizens, to enact policies governing the whole society, and to monopolize the legitimate use of force that encourages individuals and groups to work for enactment of their preferences into policy. 5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
  • 11. 2.Rational theory • According to Hanekom(1987:82), rational comprehensive model has its roots in the rational comprehensive decision making and implies that the policy maker has a full range of policy options to choose from. • Rational theory is one that achieves maximum social gain/benefit i.e. Government should choose policies resulting in gains to society that exceed costs by greatest amount 5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
  • 12. Rational theory (ctd) • The concept of maximum social gains means no policy should be adopted if its costs exceed its benefits and among policy alternatives, decision makers should choose the policy that produces the greatest benefits over costs. • So a policy is rational when the difference between the values 5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
  • 13. Rational theory(ctd) it achieves and the values it gets is positive and greater than any other policy alternatives. • Rationalism involves the calculation of all social political and economic values sacrificed or achieved by a public policy. Not just those that can be measured in terms of money 5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
  • 14. Rational theory (ctd) • In rationalism to select a policy maker must be able to know all the society value preferences their relative weight, Know all the policy alternatives available, Know all the consequences of each policy alternatives, Calculate the ratio of benefits to costs for each policy 5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
  • 15. Rational theory (ctd) • process for making logically sound decisions in policy making in the public sector, although the model is also widely used in private corporations. • Herbert A. Simon, the father of rational models, describes rationality as “a style of behavior that is appropriate to the achievement of given goals, within the limits imposed by given conditions and constraints 5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
  • 16. 3. Garbage-can model • The Garbage-Can Model emerged as a critique to the Rational Model saying that organizations do not function as computers in solving optimization problems. • This Theory advocates that organizations function like garbage cans into which a mix of problems and possible solutions are poured, with the precise mix determining the decision outcome. 5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
  • 17. 4.Incremental model/theory(ctd) • Under this model, policy is a continuation of previous policy with minimum changes • Existing programmes, policies and expenditures are considered as a base • Policy makers accept the legitimacy of previous policies because of uncertainty about the consequences of new policies 5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
  • 18. 4. Mixed scanning • This is a combination of the Rational and Incremental Theories.(this is try and error • Users of this theory integrate the characteristics of rational model and incremental (Hanekom, 1987:85) first by reviewing the overall policy and second by concentrating on a specific need , policy result or policy impact. 5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
  • 19. 5. Process model • Identification of a problem and demand for government action • Formulation of policy proposals by various parties • Policy Legitimation - Selection and enactment of policy • Implementation of the chosen policy • Evaluation of policy 5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
  • 20. 6. Group model • One of the main agents for policy change is the initiative by the interest groups. • They pressure and interact with the policy makers on preferences and self interest • Thus, the role of the political system is to establish and enforce compromise between various, conflicting interests in society 5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
  • 21. 7. Elite model/ the mass • This theory is based on the assumption that, a small, elite group (usually government) is solely responsible for policy decisions. • The elite group govern an ill-informed public • Public policies are viewed as preferences and values of governing elite • Policies flow down-ward from elites to masses; they do not arise from mass demands 5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
  • 22. 8. Game theory • It is a study of rational decisions in situations where two or more participants have choices to make and outcome depends on the choices made by each. • Game Theory is an abstract and deductive model of policy making. • It does not describe how people actually make decisions but rather how they should go about making decisions in competitive situations if they are rational. 5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
  • 23. 9. Public choice • The Theory Refers to policy as a collective decision making by self interested individuals. Individuals come together in politics for their own mutual benefits and by agreement (Contract) among themselves they can enhance their own well being. Therefore, people pursue their self interest in politics but even with a selfish motives they can mutually benefits through collective decision making. 5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
  • 24. Public choice • This model assumes that all political actors, voters, tax payers, legislatures, bureaucrats, political parties, etc. seek to maximize their personal benefits in politics as a market place. • Individuals come together in politics for their mutual benefit, just as they come together in a market place 5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
  • 25. Why public policy models are important? • They: • Create order and simplify reality • Identify what is significant • Can be congruent with reality • Can provide meaningful communication • Direct Enquiry and Research • Suggest Explanations 5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA
  • 26. Why public policy models are important? • Model are not competitive; anyone of the can not be judged as best • Each one provides a separate focus and each can help understand different things about public policy • Most policies are a combination of all models mentioned 5/19/2015 DENIS SANCHAWA