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Models of Policy Making

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Applying an Implementation Lens
Balanced Scorecard as a Strategy for Performance Improvement
Building Coalitions
Bureaucratic Politics, Organizational Design and Decision-Making
Cognitive Biases
Defining Policy Problems and Policy Making Under Pressure
Developing Networks for Improvement
Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Instrument Choice
Financing and Fundraising in the Third Sector
Implementation and Policy
Implementation and Policy
Implementation and Risk
Implementation and the Budget Context
Implementation Environment
Implementing through Markets
Implementing with Partners
Improving Organizational Performance Through Competition
Learning as a Performance Strategy
Leveraging Diversity
Managing a Global Team
Managing Conflict
Managing Partnerships: Multi-Party Arrangements
Managing Risk: The “New” Way Forward in Managing?
Mission and Strategy
Models of Policy Making
Modernization of Public Sector Organizations
Multi-Level Governance
Network Assessment and Analysis
Operations and Marketing Strategy
Organizational Alignment
Organizational Behaviour
Organizational Culture
Organizational Performance and Management Reform
Organizing for Collaboration and Partnership
Organizing for Performance
Overview of Recent Trends in Public Administration
Performance Information as a Management Tool
Policy Analysis and Contemporary Governance
Policy Design and Instrument Choice
Policy Evaluation
Public Services in the Age of Restraint - new public service delivery models and the quest to do better with less
Public-Private Partnerships
Recent Trends from Comparative Public Administration
Rules vs. Discretion
The Crisis of “Governability” (1970s) and its Effects
The Meaning of Strategy in Public Management
The Role of Leadership in Strategy and Implementation
The Role of the Board and Strategic Governance in Third Sector Organizations
The Shift to Public Governance
Theories of Human Motivation and Decision Making: Rational Choice
Working in Teams


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.

Recommended Readings

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.


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