Models of Policy Making
This topic teaches students about alternative models or theories about the principal drivers of policy-making in contemporary democracies. Students are introduced to the “rational decision making” model of policymaking, Students also learn about potential complications to that model, and consider how cognitive, political, and other types of biases can lead to irrational policy outcomes.
Topic Learning Outcome: Students will be familiar with the rational decision making policymaking model and will also be able to explain the concept of “bounded rationality” and will understand the various reasons why governments sometimes arrive at irrational decisions.
Core Concepts Associated with this Topic: Quality Management; Rational Model; Rational Policy Analysis; Public Choice Model; Rational Choice Theory.
University of Toronto: PPPG-1001
Atkinson, Michael. “Policy, Politics, and Political Science.” Presidential address at the annual meeting of the Canadian Political Science Association, Victoria, BC, 5 June 2013.
Mansbridge, Jane. 2013. “What is Political Science For?” Presidential address at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Chicago, Illinois, 29 August.
Pierson, James and Naomi Schaefer Riley. 2013. “The Problem with Public Policy Schools.” The Washington Post (6 December).
Thaler, Richard. 2012. “Watching Behavior Before Writing the Rules.” The New York Times (7 July).
Forester, John. 1984. “Bounded Rationality and the Politics of Muddling Through.” Public Administration Review 1: pp. 23-31.
Lambert, Craig. 2006. “The Marketplace of Perceptions: Behavioral Economics Explains Why We Procrastinate, Buy, Borrow, and Grab Chocolate on the Spur of the Moment.” Harvard Magazine (March-April).
Sunstein, Cass R. 1997. “Behavioral Analysis of Law.” University of Chicago Law Review 64: pp. 1175-1195.
Henrich, John, et al. 2001. “In Search of Homo Economicus: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small-Scale Societies.” The American Economic Review 91, 2: pp. 73-78.
Renwick Monroe, Kristen and Kristen Hill Maher. 1995. “Psychology and Rational Actor Theory.” Political Psychology 16, 1: pp. 1-21.
Tversky, Amos and Daniel Kahneman. 1981. “The Framing of Decisions and the Psychology of Choice.” Science 211, 4481: pp. 453-458.
Wilson, Rick. 2011. “The Contribution of Behavioral Economics to Political Science.” Annual Review of Political Science 14: pp. 201-223.
NYU Wagner: CORE-GP.1022
Kraft, Michael E., and Scott R. Furlong. Public policy: Politics, analysis, and alternatives. London: Sage Publications, 2012. Chapter 3. Pp. 74-110.
Jenkins-Smith, Hank C., and Paul A. Sabatier. "Evaluating the advocacy coalition framework." Journal of public policy 14 (1994): 175-175.
Lindblom, Charles E. "The science of muddling through." Public Administration Concepts and Cases (2000): 225-36.
Schneider, Anne, and Helen Ingram. "Social construction of target populations: Implications for politics and policy." American political science review 87, no. 02 (1993): 334-347.
Kingdon, John W. Agendas, alternatives, and public policies. Boston and Montreal: Longman, 2011. Chapters 4-10. Pp. 5-41.
Baumgartner, Frank R., and Bryan D. Jones. Agendas and instability in American politics. University of Chicago Press, 2010. Chapters 1-2. Pp.1-38.
Sample Assessment Questions:
1.) What is meant by the term “bounded rationality?” Why is this an important concept in the field of public management?
2.) What is cognitive bias? Describe two common types of cognitive bias and describe, with an example (real or hypothetical) of how they can contribute to irrational policy chocies.
3.) Discuss, with an example (real or hypothetical) at least one way in which political considerations can contribute to irrational (from the perspective of maximizing public welfare) policy decisions?
Page Created By: Joshua Tan, 18 April 2015; edited by Ben Eisen.