Systematic Policy Analysis

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Pages: 6

As far back as the end of World War II, the field of public administration has had significant importance to American society. The key interest in public administration lies within the organization, efficiency and effectiveness of government programs and the development of public policies. As public administration provides more services to people, it also engages in more extensive regulatory activities. Systematic policy analysis became a standard public administrative function in the 1960s and 1970s. Chiefly among the skills required for public administrators to achieve efficiency and effectiveness are critical thinking, problem solving, the ability to effectively analyze and evaluate public programs, and the development
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“Success in one process does not necessarily imply success in others” (Kingdon, 2012). The program has been evaluated, legislative staff and interest groups have prepared detailed analyses of need, costs, and projected effects of legislation and it has been drafted into a policy that has been meticulously crafted and is now ready for the legislative vote or a presidential decision and implementation when, suddenly, it’s nowhere to be found on the agenda. Why do politicians pay attention to one thing rather than another? We may never know the causes of this form of the public process; placement of prominent agenda items at the neglect of alternatives in favor of political considerations. Kingdon seeks to explain the complexities of this form of public policy process, consideration of prominent agenda items, and the neglect of alternatives as, “In general, two categories of factors might affect agenda setting and the specification of alternatives: the participants, who are active, and the processes by which agenda items and alternatives come into prominence” (Kingdon, 2012). He summarized that, contributors could be the inexorable march of problems pressing on the system; gradual accumulation of knowledge and perspectives among the specialists in a given policy area and political processes, such as, swings of national mood, vagaries of public opinion, election results; changes of administration, and turnover in Congress may also have powerful effects (Kingdon, 2012). Policy implementation can be problematic if too much discretionary authority is given to individual administrators. On the other hand, ideology, party policy, agenda, pet projects and perceived need for public spending in one's district are also considered determining factors in policy votes. Furthermore, legislators will also often vote for someone else's bill in compensation for support on their own legislation. Stone