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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…..


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