Policy Analysis Techniques

Policy is a planned system of rules to guide certain activities and attain rational results. A policy is basically a legal statement of purpose and is typically implemented as a course or procedure. A number of formal policies exist around the world. The most common among them are those developed by the United Nations (UN), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Red Cross. In the US, there are many national level laws and regulations that govern private companies and public institutions.

The field of public administration covers many related subjects such as the functioning of the executive office, legislative bodies, courts, governing bodies and other bodies. Public policy has become increasingly important in recent times with the growth of global issues regarding the environment. Policy makers have to take into account many factors while developing and implementing policies. These include economic growth and development, environmental protection, health care and safety, immigration, labor and employment issues, social security, consumer protection and more. Policy makers have to ensure that policies developed are efficient in solving public concerns and are also in keeping with the provisions of the constitution and the rule of law. This article will focus on the application of public policy in the private sector.

Private organizations engaged in specific activities require a sound understanding of international affairs. An effective policy analysis is required for making informed decisions concerning specific projects undertaken by the organization. For this purpose, some of the important research fields in the world include political science, economics, sociology and management science. International business also requires a sound understanding of international affairs. The major areas of concentration in the field of public policy include health and medicine, tourism, information technology, engineering, agriculture, construction, environment, energy, transport, finance and technology, business, international trade, and political science.

There are 4 policy analysis techniques that help in the determination of policy effectiveness: the theory based policy cycle, the incremental policy cycle, the functional approach and the comparative policy cycle. The first technique is based on the prior search strategy. This enables the analysts to investigate previous government policies that have been implemented to determine the parameters for the policies in the immediate future. The second technique enlists the judgment of experts and the input of the subject matter experts. Thirdly, the time-tested techniques of successful implementation are considered. Finally, the resource pool approach is adopted to estimate the probable impact of policies in terms of desired effects on the domestic and external sector.

Policy analysis techniques may also include the use of public policies as base or foundation or development of policies to be further examined. It involves the collection and evaluation of data relevant to the public policies. This helps in the determination of the pros and cons of the existing polices and suggests alternative measures to improve the efficiency of public policies. It also facilitates the determination of the impact of new policy initiatives on the implementation strategies.

In the incremental policy cycle, the effect of each incremental policy change is tested using the past experience of the previous incremental policy to get a sense of the incremental change’s effects on policy effectiveness. For the incremental policy cycle, there is no fresh data to test policy effectiveness. Policy evaluation techniques that are applied in the incremental policy cycle include the traditional testing of policies with focus on impact and validity and the non-parametric approach of comparing the value of policies using various valuation methods. The last technique for policy analysis is the comparative policy analysis where a set of public policies is compared to the background policies to identify patterns. Evaluation techniques applied in this technique focus on identifying the shortcomings of the existing policies and finding ways to improve them. Evaluation also determines whether policies have succeeded in achieving the set goals, measures the achievement of goals and the extent to which they are successful in providing desired policy outcomes.

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