Policy Analysis and Social Capital

Public policy needs and success are determined through analysis.

The analysis is done through the collection of data, this might include expert opinions, surveys, examining specific instances of need or cost benefit analysis.

Larger scale public policy initiatives might require considering economic and social costs and a deep look into associated statistics.

Once a policy in enacted these same techniques can be used to evaluate its success. The systems discussed are used when developing policy in healthcare, such as the corona virus pandemic, employment, criminal justice, climate change and political reform.

A summary of the analytical framework of the CDC’s policy development is below.

  1. Identify the Problem or Issue - The first step is to clearly identify the problem or issue you are trying to address. Synthesize data on the characteristics of the problem or issue, including the burden (how many people it affects), frequency (how often it occurs), severity (how serious of a problem is it), and scope (the range of outcomes it affects).

  2. Identify Policy Options - Research possible policy options relevant to the problem or issue you have identified and described.

  3. Describe Policy Options - Answer the overarching questions to describe the process and structure as well as the questions for each of the three interrelated criteria: impact, feasibility, and economic and budgetary impacts

  4. Assess Policy Options - Assess each option independently against the criteria of impact, feasibility, and economic and budgetary impacts

  5. Prioritize Policy Options - On the basis of the ratings you assigned, evaluate policy alternative against each other and prioritize the policy option.

  6. Develop a Strategy for Adoption of Policy - Once a policy solution has been prioritized, the next step is to define a strategy for getting the policy enacted and implemented.

Citizens and Engagement in the Policy Process

Social Capital has been shown to be an important and often overlooked resource when creating public policy.

An individual’s network in the economic, political and social aspects of their community not only play a role what policy is created, but also the success of the policies.

Social capital allows additional participation in the government and influence on the various stakeholders.

Engagement in the policy process has a large impact on the eventual decisions.

In general, younger generations are less engaged than their older counterparts in politics and policy development.

There is also a recurring trend where there is less engagement during elections when there is no high-level executive branch on the ballot, such as president or governor.

Due to this, a minority of the population makes the decisions that impact the overall populace and the deciders are not representative of the population as a whole.

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