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PPA 503 – The Public Policy-Making Process. Lecture 8a - Implementation. Overview. Two conclusions. No one is clearly in charge of implementation. Domestic programs virtually never achieve all that is expected of them. Eight generalizations. No one individual or group is in charge.

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  • Two conclusions.
    • No one is clearly in charge of implementation.
    • Domestic programs virtually never achieve all that is expected of them.
  • Eight generalizations.
    • No one individual or group is in charge.
    • Domestic programs never achieve all that is expected of them.
    • The first two are true because of the political structure and conflicting values of the participants.
  • Eight generalizations (contd.).
    • Bureaucrats are the most influential actors, but do not control implementation.
    • Patterns of implementation vary depending on the different social purposes of policies.
    • Decentralization influences implementation.
    • The meaning of effective implementation varies across situations.
    • Effectiveness does not necessarily translate into desired impacts.
implementation in the policy process
Implementation in the Policy Process
  • Definition – the set of activities that follow statements of intent (laws, court decisions, executive orders) about program goals and desired results by government officials.
    • Implementation encompasses actions (and nonactions) by a variety of actors, especially bureaucrats, designed to put programs into effect, ostensibly in such a way as to achieve goals.
implementation in the policy process1
Implementation in the Policy Process
  • Actions
    • Acquire resources.
    • Interpret statutes, laws, decisions and plan activities.
    • Organize.
    • Extend benefits or restrictions.
the nature of implementation
The Nature of Implementation
  • Generalizations.
    • There are a very large number of external factors that can influence implementation.
    • For implementation to proceed without any major hitches, all or virtually all of these external factors must be supportive or at least neutral. Any one or few that are nonsupportive can derail the entire implementation process in a variety of ways.
    • There are also a large number of factors internal to implementation processes that inevitably provide obstacles to smooth implementation.
the nature of implementation1
The Nature of Implementation
  • Most important features.
    • Implementation processes involve many important actors holding diffuse and competing goals and expectations who work within a context of an increasingly large and complex mix of government programs that require participation from numerous layers and units of government and who are affected by power factors beyond their control.
the nature of implementation2
The Nature of Implementation
  • Many actors.
    • Number and identity.
      • The basic point is that executives, legislatures, bureaucrats, a variety of private or non-governmental groups and individuals, and courts at all of the three major territorial levels in the U.S. (federal, state, and local) can and do get involved in the implementation of domestic policies.
      • Actors in the implementation process (next slide).
the nature of implementation4
The Nature of Implementation
  • Many actors (contd.).
    • The role of private actors.
      • Interest groups.
        • Groups attempt to influence implementation. Influence does not stop with formulation and legitimation.
        • Not only can interests help create policies, but policies can create interests.
        • Bureaucracies will sometimes take the initiative in creating groups around the policies that they implement. Both allies and opposing groups.
      • The blurring of public and private sectors.
      • Advisory groups contribute to this phenomenon.
the nature of implementation5
The Nature of Implementation
  • Many actors (contd.).
    • The role of courts.
      • Decisions that limit, channel, mandate implementation.
      • Program administrators, sometimes.
    • Lack of hierarchy.
      • Promotes bargaining, competition, and compromise.
      • Even in hierarchies, this is true.
the nature of implementation6
The Nature of Implementation
  • Many actors (contd.).
    • Conflict and compromise.
      • Policy formulation and legitimation are typically characterized by some conflict over both goals and means to attain them.
      • Conflict reduced or resolved through series of compromises that allow legislation to pass.
      • Conflict does not end with the passage of the legislation. Carries over into implementation. Losers attempt to change the outcome; winners attempt to maintain advantage.
      • Multiple opportunities for influence and access.
      • No decisions are final.
the nature of implementation7
The Nature of Implementation
  • Goals and Expectations.
    • Goals embedded in programs are diffuse, numerous, and usually fuzzy.
      • No single clear goal – confusion.
      • Competition among goals.
      • Unexpected costs – unintended consequences.
  • Growth of government and complexity of programs.
    • Increases in budget outlays.
    • Increases in government expenditures as a percentage of GDP.
    • Slow increases in federal employment, rapid increases in state and local employment.
    • Greater use of nonprofit and private sector.
    • Rise of grants-in-aid to 1970.
  • External uncontrollable factors.
    • Economic changes.
    • Social changes.
policy implementation
Policy Implementation
  • Public policies are not self-executing.
    • Since people who formulate and adopt are usually not the same as those who implement, much room for slippage and distortion.
    • Policy implementation is the stage of policy making between the establishment of a policy and the consequences of the policy for the people it affects.
policy implementation1
Policy Implementation
  • Public policies are not self-executing (contd.).
    • Implementation activities.
      • Issue and enforcing directives.
      • Disbursing funds.
      • Making loans.
      • Awarding grants.
      • Signing contracts.
      • Collecting data.
      • Disseminating information.
      • Analyzing problems.
      • Assigning and hiring personnel.
      • Creating organizational units.
      • Proposing alternatives.
      • Planning for the future.
      • Negotiating with private citizens, businesses, interest groups, legislative committees, bureaucratic units, and even other countries.
policy implementation2
Policy Implementation
  • What are the conditions that produce effective or ineffective implementation?
    • Communication.
    • Resources.
    • Dispositions.
    • Bureaucratic structure.
  • First requirement for effective policy implementation is that those are to implement a decision must know what they are supposed to do. Policy decisions and implementation orders must be transmitted to the appropriate personnel before they can be followed. Naturally, these need to be accurate, and they must be accurately perceived. They must be clear, they must be consistent.
  • Transmission.
    • Implementers must be aware that the decision was made.
    • Obstacles.
      • Disagreement.
      • Multiple layers of bureaucracy.
      • Selective perception.
  • Clarity.
    • Vague laws.
      • Example – “maximum feasible participation.”
      • Vagueness allows leeway
      • Inhibits change, but can also expand it.
      • Finding the true intentions.
    • Reducing discretion can provide some remedy.
    • Ambiguous court decisions.
      • Death penalty.
      • Brown vs. Board of Education.
    • But, flexibility has some value.
    • Reasons for lack of clarity.
      • Complexity of policy-making.
      • Competing goals and the need for consensus.
      • Unfamiliarity of new programs.
      • Avoiding accountability.
      • Nature of court decisions.
  • Consistency.
    • Example – Economic Development Administration.
      • Help jobless by attracting or expanding industry.
      • Could not subsidize competitors to existing businesses.
    • Inconsistency can also lead to discretion.
    • Causes.
      • Increases as levels and offices increase.
      • Many of the conditions affecting clarity also affect consistency.
      • Desire to appear consistent while making a change can lead to inconsistent communication.
  • Adequate resources are essential.
  • Staff – most essential.
    • Size.
      • Most programs are understaffed.
      • 1968 HEW – supervise school desegregation with 48 enforcement officers in 23,000 school districts.
      • To avoid, feds have transferred implementation to state and local governments, which are also understaffed.
        • Michigan – Staff of 10 to consider funding requests of 462 school districts.
      • Example environmental protection.
        • 62,000 primary sources of water pollution plus sewers, irrigation, agriculture. 150 million polluting motor vehicles, 2,000 toxic dump sites, 2,000 to 40,000 sources of industrial air pollution, 50,000 pesticides.
        • State environmental protection agencies have 15 to 200 inspectors – and can examine 3 to 30 sources per day.
      • Why? Fear of totalitarian monster, allocate personnel for direct services. Scarcity of funds combined with zeal to create new programs.
  • Staff (contd.)
    • Skills.
      • Lack of skills critical.
      • Poorly trained staff can create hazards. Seven of ten nuclear power plant operator applicants in 1978 in Michigan failed licensing exam and were hired anyway.
      • Implementation by state agencies is also a problem.
      • Few management people with skills.
      • New programs.
      • Difficult to hire.
  • Information.
    • Knowing what to do.
      • Especially new or technical like air pollution.
      • Consequences.
        • Responsibilities not met.
        • Not met on time.
        • Inefficiency.
          • Mistakes.
          • Inappropriate.
    • Monitor compliance.
      • Information on compliance.
      • But, lack of staff critical.
      • Reliance on information from regulated industry.
      • Limited authority.
      • Reliance on private sector – private citizens.
  • Authority.
    • Authority to give aid, but less to constrain.
    • Limitations.
      • Exercising authority – many agencies simply do not have the authority. Or it exists only on paper.
        • Withdrawal of funds – potential weapon, rarely used. Why?
          • Embarrassing.
          • Antagonizes implementers.
          • Alienates members of Congress.
          • Intervention by powerful state and local authorities.
          • May hurt those it is designed to help.
          • May injure innocent persons – loss of jobs.
        • Sanctions can be useful. Gives agency excuse to comply.
      • Result: Service orientation – higher level officials ask for assistance rather than issue orders. Rarely challenge lower level decisions.
  • Facilities – Physical.
    • Building, equipment, supplies.
    • Shortage of sophisticated equipment.
      • Logistics system on one military base purchased from Radio Shack.
    • But many people oppose the building of facilities in their area (NIMBY).
dispositions attitudes
Dispositions (Attitudes)
  • Well-disposed to policy, more likely to be carried out according to intentions. If not, implementation more complicated. Since implementers have discretion, their attitudes can be obstacles.
dispositions attitudes1
Dispositions (Attitudes)
  • Effects.
    • Many policies fall in zone of indifference, will be implemented. Others excite opposition, will be more difficult.
    • Sources of parochialism.
      • In-breeding.
      • Careerism in one agency.
      • Narrow range of responsibility.
      • Reward distribution supports status quo.
      • Committee and interest group pressure.
dispositions attitudes2
Dispositions (Attitudes)
  • Effects (contd.).
    • Dispositions hindering implementation.
      • Opposition
        • Can prevent consideration of ideas.
        • Can defeat immediate goals.
        • But, can be beneficial if used to ignore orders issued in haste.
      • Competing policy interests.
      • Selective perception.
      • Differences in organizational outlook.
        • Between organizations.
        • Within organizations, between sections.
        • Outlooks that affect implementation.
          • Dominant opinion as to function.
          • Turf-building.
          • Program raids.
          • Protection of autonomy.
          • Private dispositions.
dispositions attitudes3
Dispositions (Attitudes)
  • If dispositions limit implementation, why not hire new personnel?
    • Time.
    • Politics.
    • Interest groups.
    • Internal opposition.
    • Lack of knowledge of skilled personnel.
    • Subcabinet discretion.
    • Civil service rules.
    • Bureaucratic complexity.
dispositions attitudes4
Dispositions (Attitudes)
  • Incentives.
    • Rewards and punishments can work, but generally only on individual projects.
    • Rewards.
      • Merit pay – rarely used
      • Promotion – usually seniority.
      • Peer group pressure can mitigate rewards.
    • Goal displacement – trying to beat system.
bureaucratic structure
Bureaucratic Structure
  • Standard operating procedures (SOPs).
    • Routines to handle everyday situations.
    • Reasons.
      • Save time.
      • Uniformity of application.
      • Lack of resources requires simplification.
      • “Tunnel” vision.
    • Problems.
      • Inhibit change.
      • Prevent acceptance of responsibility for new programs.
      • Delay.
      • Waste resources.
      • Undesired actions.
      • New policies more likely to be hindered.
      • But, SOPs can help change.
bureaucratic structure1
Bureaucratic Structure
  • Fragmentation.
    • Congress has created multiple programs and agencies to improve oversight, maximize intervention, and divide turf.
    • Agencies possessive of jurisdiction.
    • Interest groups favor status quo.
    • Consequences.
      • Diffusion of responsibility.
      • Lack of coordination.
problems and prospects
Problems and Prospects
  • Poorly communicated directives in the wrong structure can aggravate preexisting dispositions against the policy leading to wasted resources and ineffective implementation.
  • Policies apt to face difficulties in implementation.
    • New policies.
    • Decentralized implementation.
    • Controversial.
    • Complex.
    • Crisis.
    • Judicial decisions.
    • Combinations of the above factors.