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Government Institutions and Policy Actors. Growth of Government. Growth (area and population) Increased complexity of society Business regulation Protection of social welfare America’s international role Citizen demands. Policy Stalemate and Capacity. Stalemate (gridlock)

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Presentation Transcript
growth of government
Growth of Government
  • Growth (area and population)
  • Increased complexity of society
  • Business regulation
  • Protection of social welfare
  • America’s international role
  • Citizen demands
policy stalemate and capacity
Policy Stalemate and Capacity
  • Stalemate (gridlock)
    • When decision makers are unable or unwilling to compromise in a manner that permits public policy action
  • Policy capacity
    • A government’s ability to identify and evaluate public problems, and to develop policies to deal with them
the governance structure of policymaking
The Governance Structure Of Policymaking
  • Formal: complexity and fragmentation
    • Federalism
    • Separation of powers
  • Informal
    • Public opinion
    • Interest groups
    • Policy subsystems
  • Evolution of federalism
    • Pre-Civil War
    • Dual federalism
    • Cooperative federalism
  • Continuing controversies
    • money
    • (State) expectations
    • State variation in policy capacity
  • Devolution of authority to the states (The pros and cons)
separation of powers
Separation of Powers
  • What: power is shared among three branches
    • Legislative, executive, and judicial
  • Founders were concerned with possibility of government tyranny
  • Adds to the complexity of governing
  • Adds to the challenge of building consensus for policy action, especially between the legislature and executive
separation of powers policymakers
Separation of Powers: Policymakers
  • Legislature – lawmaking
    • Bicameral system (House & Senate)
    • Committee system (division & specialization of labor)
  • Executive – law enforcing
    • President/bureaucracy involved in policy development
    • Bureaucratic structure
  • Judicial – law interpreting
    • Reactive rather than proactive
    • Judicial review
organizational formats
Organizational Formats
  • Legislative organizations (e.g., committees, individual members, party leadership)
  • Executive branch organizations
    • Cabinet departments & their subagencies
    • Independent executive agencies (e.g., EPA, the various Executive Office of the President agencies)
    • Independent regulatory commissions
  • Courts (district, special jurisdiction, appellate, Supreme Court)
informal actors public opinion
Informal Actors: Public Opinion
  • Public opinion
    • Is important in a democratic system
    • Is fleeting
      • Many people are inattentive to politics and policy
    • Can be voiced in numerous ways
    • Can have an impact, if people are willing to take the time/make the effort
    • Can lead to interest group formation and activity
    • Salience and stability matter
informal actors interest groups
Informal Actors: Interest Groups
  • Important in politics, governance, and policymaking
  • Lobbying – all branches, both for/against policies
    • Money for elections
    • Use media
    • Information (substantive and political)
    • Litigation
    • Direct contact w/policymakers
    • Organize & mobilize
    • Influence & campaign
informal actors policy subsystems
Informal Actors: Policy Subsystems
  • Informal settings where policies are made
  • Have been called many different things
    • Subgovernments
    • Issue networks
    • Iron triangles
subsystems traditional iron triangles
Subsystems – Traditional “Iron Triangles”














subsystems today
Subsystems Today
  • Less autonomous than in the past
  • Greater visibility
  • More “outside” participation
  • More policy actors
  • Term “issue networks” used more now
    • Reflects evolution of U.S. policymaking
  • Still important, still provide avenues of participation for experts
policy stalemate and capacity revisited
Policy Stalemate and Capacity, Revisited
  • Why does stalemate occur?
    • Constitutional design and divided gov’t
    • Complex problems
    • Public opinion and consensus
    • Organized interests
    • Ineffective political leadership
    • Personal relationships
  • And, perhaps, less-than-desirable policy capacity