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American Public Policy. Numbers and Causes Political Science 316 Mark Stephan. Last Class and Today’s Class. Symbols – telling stories, using metaphors Numbers, Measurements Causal theories, the politics of causes. Numbers.

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american public policy

American Public Policy

Numbers and Causes

Political Science 316

Mark Stephan

last class and today s class
Last Class and Today’s Class
  • Symbols – telling stories, using metaphors
  • Numbers, Measurements
  • Causal theories, the politics of causes
numbers
Numbers
  • Why are numbers so important for problem definition? (standard view)
  • Categorizing
  • Numbers as metaphors, numbers as norms
counting is political
Counting is political?
  • You have a 75% chance of being crazy if you believe this is true…..
  • Agenda-setting
  • Clarity
  • Creating boundaries
  • Offering the promise of resolution
  • Symbols of Precision and Objectivity
measurements
Measurements
  • Measuring people versus peas, candy, or bombers
  • Evaluating “government performance”
  • “The power to measure is the power to control” – what does this mean?
  • If all of this is true, are numbers even useful? My take…….
causal theories
Causal Theories
  • Actions, Consequences
  • Mechanical
  • Intentional
  • Accidental
  • Inadvertent
  • Examples……..
causal theories1
Causal Theories
  • Complex Causes?
  • Complex Systems
  • Institutional
  • Historical
  • It was an “accident”……
politics of causes
Politics of Causes
  • Why does knowing the cause matter politically?
  • Examples
  • Policy implications
  • My take: politics, causes, and complexity
policy issues news flash
Policy issues…..News Flash
  • L.A. fires – what’s the cause
  • Rural poverty in 1960? Rural poverty now?
preview of next class
Preview of Next Class
  • Chapters 9 and 10
  • Give special attention to the idea of a “Hobson’s choice” and to the “free-rider problem”
if there s time
If there’s time……
  • My “hanging chad” email…..and my politics…..