Charles E. Lindblom, The Science of Muddling Through, 1959
Thesis: This article discusses about the various nuances related to choices in policy making and introduces two different approaches to workout choices for policymaking. The article discusses about the advantages and disadvantages of using different methods of policy making in Public Administration and tries to find out the best way to help create modifications in policies in accordance with the changing trends.
“It would not, as in the first method of policy-making, approximate a more mechanical process of choosing the means that best satisfied goals that were previously clarified and ranked.” (Page 159)
“Accordingly, I propose in this paper to clarify and formalize the second method, much neglected in the literature. This might be described as the method of successive limited comparison.” (Page 160)
“Decision-making is ordinarily formalized as a means-ends relationship: means are conceived to be evaluated and chosen in the light of ends finally selected independently of and prior to the choice of means.” (Page 163)
“The incremental character of political change in the United States has often been remarked.” (Page 164)
This article is an in depth discussion of the methods that administrators and people dependent on the administrators must follow to implement policy making and gives a comprehensive detail of the working methods of administrators in the present day. The author emphasizes on the fact that policies need to be drafted according to the need of the hour in a practical manner.
The article is a good read with working examples from comprehendible situations and is self-explanatory. The language used is fairly simple with very less use of jargon and hence has an easy flow all throughout.
Yehezkel Dror, Policy Analysis: A New Professional Role in Government Service, 1967
Thesis: This article by Dror lays emphasis on ways, methods and nuances of system analysis and decision making and the possible ways in which wrong or outdated methods of analysis can back fire. The article also describes remedial measures for these problems in a detailed manner.
“A main question is how to reap the full benefits of the economic approach and to improve public decision-making and policymaking while avoiding its pitfalls.” (Page 229)
“Policy analysis does not presume to bring about a radical change in policy making. It does not presume to create omniscient units” (Page 232)
“The main role of policy analysis is government-as parts of PPBS, in distinct high-level staff units, in separate independent advisory corporations, and in various other organizational locations-is to contribute to public decision-making a broad professional competence” (Page 232)
The article is a detailed discussion of policy analysis as an integrated function in public policy decision making and enumerates its importance in Public Administration, especially when drafting or modifying public policies. The article also enumerates the essentials of policy analysis emphasizing on its meaning and dismissing common beliefs regarding the process.
The article has a unique way of explanation with listed examples and criteria on which policy analysis can be implemented for the benefit of the people and policy makers at the same time. The article is a must read to understand the true meaning of Policy Analysis as it pertains to Public Administration
Theodore J. Lowi, The End of Liberalism: The Indictment, 1979
Thesis: This article by Theodore J. Lowi is a discussion of a form of government that has slowly become obsolete and at part ineffective, in the author’s perspective. The article is a summation of the counts and occurrences when the government should have been “indicted”
“Liberals are copious in plans but irresolute in planning.” (Page 277)
“The operative principles of interest-group liberalism possess the mentality of a world of universalized ticket fixing: Destroy privilege by universalizing it.” (Page 279)
“Democratic forms were supposed to precede and accompany the formulation of policies so that policies could be implemented authoritatively and firmly.” (Page 279)
The article provides an elaborate list of the reasons of the failure of liberal government and the pitfalls of the policy analysis and decision making in terms of Public Administration. It is, in a strict terminology, a discussion of liberalism in terms of public philosophy. The article is in a way, a documentation of the reasons why liberalism does not work in the case of larger demographics and trends that keep changing with the variations in the economic as well as judicial aspects of policy demands.
The article is an easy read and easy to understand because of its shortness and precise point to point explanation. The reader gets a gist of a very wide subject in a very short time and can develop a wide outlook towards policy making.
John W. Kingdon, How Does an Idea’s Time Come? Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies, 1995
Thesis: Kingdon in this article discusses about the implementation of ideas that may be called as too radical at times. The article is a discussion of the situations and the times in which such ideas become necessary to be implemented quoting examples of times that rose in the United States Administration when implementing radical ideas became necessary.
“In contrast to many areas of study in the social sciences, this one is particularly untidy.” (Page 454)
“One influence on agendas might be the inexorable march of problems pressing in on the system.” (Page 456)
“Swings of national mood, vagaries of public opinion, election results, changes of administration, and turnover in Congress all may have powerful effects.”(Page 457)
“Policy entrepreneurs, people who are willing to invest their resources in pushing their pet proposals or problems, are responsible not only for prompting important people to pay attention, but also for coupling solutions to problems and for coupling both problems and solutions to politics” (Page 459)
The article is a discussion of the various ways in which ideas find implementation and how these ideas come to light. Kingdon is articulate in explaining the various loop holes related to decision making in public administration and what brings such decisions.
Deborah Stone, Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision Making, 1997
Thesis: Stone in the article “Policy Paradox” presents various situations, in which the definitions of trivial topics in different sections of Public Administration laws come into conflict, tries to discuss the various causes of such conflicts and tries to find a solution or the methods to follow to get a firm solution.
“Paradoxes are nothing but trouble. They violate the most elementary principle of logic: Something cannot be two different things at once.” (Page 591)
“How can we make sense of a world where such paradoxes occur?” (Page 593)
“The fields of political science, public administration, law, and policy analysis have a common mission of rescuing public policy from the irrationalities and indignities of politics, hoping to make policy instead with rational, analytical and scientific methods.” (Page 593)
The article presents many examples from a conflict of two groups over a parade to conflicts rising between a real and a surrogate mother, where rights and definitions conflict with each other due to differing definitions in different portions of the law. The article also discusses about the measures that are taken to resolve these conflicts through law making that notes and drafts laws in a way that there are no conflicts arising due to the implementation of that particular law or policy.
The article forces the reader to think proactively with its situation based examples and tries to explain to the reader the importance of law making. The reader after reading this article comes to know about the fact that law making requires painstaking efforts to be conflict free.