Thursday, December 11, 2014

• Introduction to Western Methods of Policy Analysis, Diné Policy Institute

What is Policy?
§  “advice that relates to public decisions..” which are also “informed by social values.” (Weimer and Vining, p.23)
§  “Policy Analysis is client-oriented advice relevant to public decisions and informed by social values.” (Ibid. p.24)
§  “Policy analysis goes beyond personal decision making.” (Bardach, Intro)
§  Policy analysis is a social and political activity. (Bardach, Intro)
§  What is Policy?

§  “Policy” we need to understand what sorts of truth might be spoken, in what languages, and to what ends. (Bobrow, p.4)
§  The policy field includes work that seeks only to understand and explain the process of public policy making “knowledge of,” in Lasswell’s terms. (Bobrow, p.4)
§  The process of public policymaking includes the manner of which problems get conceptualized and brought to government for solution. (Sabatier, p.3)
§  Policy analysts are often required to give advice to policymakers in incredibly short periods of time. (Patton, p.2)
§  Policy making can be considered to be a set of processes, including at least (Kingdon, p. 2-3)
       The setting of the agenda
       The specification of alternatives from which a choice is to be made.
       and authoritative choice among those specified alternatives, as in a legislative vote or a presidential decision, and
       The implementation of the decision.
§  Policy is an agreed upon course of action, be it from a legal, political, educational, economic authority, or an agreed upon course of action of the basic unit of society – the family.
§  Policy can involve economics, statistics, ethics, sociology, psychology, health, politics, education, environment, and so forth.
Defining Policy Analysis
§  “Public Policy analysis can be defined as determining which of various alternative public or governmental policies will most achieve a given set of goals in light of the relations between the policies and the goals.” ( Nagel p. 71)
Elements of Policy Analysis:
1.   Goals, including normative constraints and relative weights for the goals.
2.   Policies, programs, projects, decisions, options, means, or other alternatives that are available for achieving the goals.
3.   Relations between the policies and the goals, including relations that are established by intuition, authority, statistics, observation, deduction, guesses, or by other means.
4.   Drawing a tentative conclusion as to which policy or combination of policies is best to adopt in light of the goals, policies, and relations.
5.   Determining what it would take to bring a second place or other alternative up to first.
Methods of Policy Analysis:
1.   How to draw a conclusion as to which policy to adopt from information on goals, policies, and relations.
2.   How to establish the relations between policies and goals.
3.   How to determine what policies are available for adoption and what goals are appropriate to consider.
Commonly used Non-Navajo method

Values implicit in the model:

World View
§   “set of implicit and explicit assumptions about the origin of the universe and the nature and purpose of human life.” (Chapra, 1992)
§  “Values are beliefs that ‘something good and desirable.’ Values define what is important and consequently what is worth striving for.” (Ibrahim)
§  Norms are “what is acceptable and appropriate behavior in particular circumstances.” (Ibrahim)
Western Worldview
1.   Western worldview is NOT monolithic, however, many if the values have been influenced by the Judeo-Christian tradition.
2.   West represent a continuum of values
Western values…
Certain fundamental beliefs can be noted:
a)   Democracy
b)   Liberalism
c)   Individualism
d)   Materialism
e)   Secularism
f)    Consumerism
Values implicit in the model:

§  With the emergence of pluralism, it is difficult to define the problem, because there is no ultimate “good or bad.”
§  In addition, with the values listed it is assumed that most things can be monetized (have a dollar value placed on it.)
Navajo Nation approach
Reactive-Crisis Model
§  We rely on what the Navajo Nation gives us to make a decision.”
§  “We do not look at the long term impact…if it looks good we do it.”
§  “There is no analysis of the issue.”
§  “Issue is made by the people, without any real information about the impact of the issue at hand.”
§  “Our policies consist of the Five Management system.”
§  “Chapters have no policy plans, they react to crisis, nobody wants to CHANGE.”
§  “ No one wants to come together and brainstorm issues.”
Current Policy-Making Practice at the Chapter Level (on the Navajo Nation)

Values implicit in the model:

§  Navajo Nation reacts to problems using a non-Navajo approach, but without any real analysis.
By Dr. Anwar Kawtharani

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