Public Policy Key Concepts Part 1

  1. Adoption
    The step in the policy process that involves action by some official person or body to select, modify or reject a preferred policy alternative.
  2. Agenda Setting
    The step in the policy process whereby policy actors attempt to get an issue seriously considered for public action.
  3. Cooperative Federalism
    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.
  4. Cost-Benefit Analysis
    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.
  5. 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.
  6. Creative/Regulated Federalism
    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.
  7. Decision Analysis
    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.
  8. Delegated Powers
    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.
  9. Devolution
    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.
  10. Direct Democracy
    All power is exercised directly by the people. Complete and simple majority rule.
  11. Distributive Policy
    A policy that provides services or benefits to particular persons, groups or communities.
  12. Dual Federalism
    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.
  13. Economics
    The study of how society chooses to allocate scarce resources.
  14. Effectiveness
    An analytical criterion that refers to whether a current or proposed policy has or will achieve its proposed goals.
  15. Efficiency
    An analytical criterion that refers to whether a current or proposed policy will achieve the greatest possible benefits based upon the costs incurred.
  16. Elite Theory
    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.
  17. Equity
    An analytical criterion that refers to whether a current or proposed policy’s results are fairly distributed to those affected by the policy.
  18. Evaluation
    The step in the policy process where implemented policies are assess to determine whether the policy is achieving the previously developed goals.
  19. Expropriation
    Seizing private property for government use; the owner is compensated but must relinquish.
  20. Externality
    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.
  21. Federalism
    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).
  22. Formulation
    The step in the policy process where proposed courses of action or alternatives for dealing with public problems are developed.
  23. Government
    Comprised of institutions and processes that rulers establish to strengthen and perpetuate their power or control over a territory and its inhabitants.
  24. Implementation
    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.
  25. Incremental Policymaking
    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.
  26. Institutionalism
    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.
  27. 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.
  28. Market Failure
    A situation such that private markets do not efficiently or effectively allocate goods and services. It is often a justification for government intervention.
  29. Mercantilism
    The wealth of a nation was considered to be based upon the amount of gold typically controlled by the state.
  30. Merit Good
    A good or service to which people are entitled as a right.
  31. Monarchy
    Political system where a hereditary individual has absolute power. There was no freedom in economic or political sphere.
  32. New Federalism
    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.
  33. Oligarchy
    A form of government in which the right to participate is conditioned on the possession of wealth, social status, military position or achievement.
  34. Opportunity Costs
    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.
  35. Pareto Optimal Solution/Improvement
    An improvement or solution where the policy helps one or many without harming any others.
  36. Pareto Optimal Situation
    A reallocation of resources causes at least one person to be better off without making anyone else worse off.
  37. Pluralism
    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
  38. Policy Analysis
    The examination of components of public policy, the policy process, or both.
  39. Political Economy
    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.
  40. Political Feasibility
    A calculation of the likely acceptability to policymakers of a proposed policy idea or alternative.
  41. Political Ideology
    A cohesive set of beliefs that form a general philosophy about the role of government.
  42. 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.
  43. Politics
    The study of the authoritative allocation of values.
  44. 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.
  45. Public Goods
    A type of market failure in which a good is defined by its ability to be jointly consumed and for exclusion is not feasible.
  46. Public Policy
    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.
  47. Rational Choice
    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.
  48. Redistributive Policy
    A policy that shifts resources among broad groups of people.
  49. Regulated Federalism
    See Creative Federalism.
  50. Regulatory Taxation
    Taxes used as a means to affect behavior, not merely to collect revenues.
  51. Representative Democracy
    Public decisions are made by a small group of individuals chosen by the rest of society.
  52. Reserved Powers
    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
  53. Resources
    A good or service used to produce goods or services that can be used to satisfy human wants.
  54. 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.”
  55. Unitary System:
    System of government where the local and regional governments derive all authority from a strong national government.
Card Set
Public Policy Key Concepts Part 1
Terms and definitions of key concepts of Intro to Public Policy