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Problems, Policy and Political Streams

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1 Problems, Policy and Political Streams
PA 5012 Anders Victor Willy Boulay

2 Agenda Garbage Can Model Stream Discussion
Problems, policies and politics Supplement: 'Recycling the Garbage Can' Example: Drone Policy Overview Three streams

3 Background Policy formation questions
How is the agenda set? How are alternatives specified? Why do these processes work like they do? Cohen, March & Olsen: Garbage Can Kingdon: Stream Model

4 The Garbage Can Model Organized Anarchies
Cohen, March & Olsen: Federal government Outcomes: function of mix of garbage in the can and how it is processed Heavily dependent on coupling of streams Source:

5 Kingdon: Three Streams
Recognize problems How and why do certain problems capture the attention of the government? Generate proposals for policy change Similar to solutions stream of Garbage Can model Engage in political activities National mood, elections, shifts of Congress, interest group campaigns

6 Problem Stream Indicators Focusing events Feedback Powerful=measurable
"Conditions become defined as problems when we come to believe that we should do something about them" Indicators Powerful=measurable Interpretation Focusing events Crisis & accompaniment Ex: I-35W bridge collapse Feedback

7 "There is no new thing under the sun"
Policy Stream The Policy Primeval Soup Policy communities Fragmentation Incentives Policy entrepreneurs Incentives: personal interests, ideology, 'policy groupies' Softening up Survival "There is no new thing under the sun"

8 "Important promoter or inhibitor of high agenda status"
Political Stream National mood Organized political forces Government Turnover, jurisdiction Consensus building "Important promoter or inhibitor of high agenda status"

9 'Recycling the Garbage Can'
"Formalization often helps science progress, but it is not a panacea. In this case a heavy price was paid, for the verbal theory and the computer model do not represent the same phenomena at all. Decision makers in the verbal theory confront a chaotic world in which they, solutions, and problems dance around one another, meeting by chance in choice arenas. But in the simulation, packs of decision makers-and often problems as well-march in lockstep from arena to arena. And solutions never move at all. This is ironic. The informal theory of the garbage can is famous for depicting a world that is much more complex than that described by classical theories of organizational choice. The latter's tidy image of goal specification, alternative generation, evaluation, and choice is replaced by a complex swirl of problems looking for solutions, solutions looking for problems, participants wandering around looking for work, and all three searching for choice opportunities. Yet, the simulation depicts almost none of this and in fact creates a world of remarkable order." Recycling the Garbage Can: An Assessment of the Research Program. Jonathan Bendor; Terry M. Moe; Kenneth W. Shotts. The American Political Science Review, Vol. 95, No. 1. (Mar., 2001), pp

10 Example: Drone Policy Source:

11 Current State of Drone Policy in U.S.
No publically released current drone use policy by the federal government Confirmed use of drone technology by United States Air Force and Central Intelligence Agency in multiple conflict areas Unconfirmed usage by domestic law enforcement agencies for surveillance of citizenry

12 Drone Policy Issues Oversight gaps Transparency
Ethical, legal, and societal implications of use Advanced development and expanded use Simply put: there is no concrete policy Source:

13 Capturing Attention and the Problem Stream
"Fairly often, problems come to the attention of governmental decision makers...because some more or less systematic indicator simply shows that there is a problem out there." Kingdon, p. 90 Indicators (must be pervasive, necessary, and powerful) Focusing events Defining the drone problem

14 The Drone Policy Stream
Fragmented Congressional community continually shifts the agenda Rand Paul's 13 hour filibuster The role of values and technical feasibility The short list of alternatives Source:

15 Powers that be: The Political Stream
"Flowing along independently of the problems and policy streams is the political stream, composed of such things as public mood, pressure group campaigns, election results, partisan or ideological distributions in Congress, and changes of administration." Kingdon, p. 145 National mood: Washington Post poll shows 79% approval for Rand Paul's stance on limiting domestic use of drones Turnover of Congress Jurisdiction: The struggle for control Tipping point

16 Questions Considering what we've learned about the three political streams, what is the outlook for the development of a concrete drone policy? Relating the Garbage Can model to drone policy, what streams are most likely to form couplings? Will these initial couplings serve to inhibit progress on the issue or encourage it?

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