So to define it. policy analysis is intended to inform some decision. but w ~ t h ate costs for group one and disproportionate benefits for group two. in either public or private settings. . which can be achieved with the greatest certainty through legislative strategy S. the majority o f policy anasuch advice. we hazard the following simple sion-making. Obviously. W e begin by requiring that the advice must relate to public decrsions and be informed by social values. we need to be more specific. With these cons~derations definition: policy analys~sis client-oriented advice relevant to public decisions and in-' formed by soc~al values. A t whatever extremes of depth and breadth. will result in agdisproport~ongregate social costs o f C and aggregate social benefits of B. they are provrd~ng lysts are to be found In government and non-profit organizations where day-to-day operations inherently involve public decisions. either implicitly (A will result in X) or explicitly (support A because it will result in X. Of course.What Is Policy Analysis? The product o f policy analysis may be advice as simple as a statement linking a proposed action to a likely result: passage o f bill A will result in consequence X. Because our interest centers on policy analysis as a professional activity. Businesses and trade associations often seek advice about proposed legislation and regulations that might affect their private interests-when their employees or consultants consider the full range o f social consequences in giving policy analysis. as well as in consultancies that serve these public and private organizations. not all advice is policy analysis. your constituency. have clients for their advice who can participate in public deciin mind. It may also be more comprehensive and quite complex: passage o f bill A. which is good for you. our definition requires that policy analysts. That is not to say that policy analysts do not work in private organizations. or your country).

Public formation that may be utilized in political settings to resolve policy Policy Analysis (Englewood Cliffs. then an awareness o f the importance o f learning the various techniques o f policy analysis and o f gaining an understanding o f political processes will naturally follow.: Prentice Hall. Social Policy Research and Analysrs (New York: American Elsevier Publishing Company. 6-17. city and regional planning. Ill: Dorsey Press. see Carry D. Perhaps you are reading this book as a student in an academic program in political science. 1976) and Norman Beckman. 2 A plethora o f definitions o f policy analysis already exists. xi. If w e keep central the idea o f providing useful advice t o clients. Yet you may instead aspire t o another profession. in which you may nevertheless be required to play the role o f policy analyst from time to time. p. N. 221-22. w e believe that economic efficiency deserves routine consideration as a social value not only because i t measures aggregate welfare fairly well but also because it tends t o receive inadequate weight in political systems. The Foundations of Policy Analysis ( H o m e w d . a broader conception o f policy analysis. These definitions. Social values can come into play even when advice seems purely predictive. By looking at consequences o f policies beyond those that affect the client. pp. 1977. Policy Analysts in the Bureaucracy (Berkeley: University o f California Press. economics. W e emphasize development o f a professional mind-set rather than the mastering o f technical skills.' W h y introduce this one? One answer is that it helps us keep our focus on the purpose o f this book: developing the practical approaches and conceptual foundations that enable the reader t o become an effective producer and consumer o f policy analysis.J. . ix. "Policy Analysis in Government: Alternatives to 'Muddling Through'. law. We hope t o put policy analysis in perspective by comparing it with some o f the related professions and activities with which you may be more familiar." Walter W~lliams. p. Vol. Dunn. 37. For an extended discussion o f the policy sciences. or political economy." Public Administration Revrew. then you probably already have a good sense o f w h a t policy analysis is all about-you have by your educational choice purposely selected the profession. business management. 1981). Another answer is that this definition also emphasizes the importance o f social values in policy analysis. no. pp. As will become clear in subsequent chapters. Brewer and Peter deleon. 1983). closest t o our definition are given by Arnold J. such as public administration. the analyst is implicitly placing a value on the welfare o f others. as do most. Meltsner. H o w does policy analysis differ from the older professions t o which it is related? Where are policy analysts to be found and what do they do? What skills are most essential for success? P O L I C Y ANALYSIS A N D RELATED PROFESSIONS If you are a student in a public policy analysis program. A n appropriate starting place for our study is an overview o f the profession o f policy analysis. or public health. 1971). 3.What Is Policy Analysis? Chap. Good policy analysis takes a comprehensive view o f consequences and social values. and "Policy analysis is an applied social science discipline which uses multiple methods o f inquiry and argument to produce and transform policy-relevant InWilllam N . lack the Descriptions o f policy analysis client orlentation that distinguishes policy analysis as a professionalactiv~ty. 'Some examples: "Policy analysis is a means o f synthesizing information including research results (the laying out o f alternative choices) and o f determining future t o produce a format for policy decls~ons needs for policy relevant information.

there may be little that the government can do to foster moral education within the home. the accumulation o f empirical evidence.. such as the certainty.~ academic research looks for relationships among the broad range o f variables describing behavior. I. 1972). For example. Vol. p p 53-78. pp. 3-30. eds. then Y will result. may take moral education as a given and focus instead on factors partially under government control. expanded t o include the study o f the policy process. Lasswell. is sometimes referred to as policy science. 'The Emerging Conception of the Policy Sciences." in Stephen Brooks and Alain-C. Polrcy. See Thomas S. Experts. and the States: The Case o f Macroeconomic Policy-Making in Britain." Policy Sciences. Because the client for the research is "truth. therefore. classical planning. "Policy Paradigms. the social science disciplines have attempted to develop rigorous methods for logically specifi-ing theories and empirically testing hypotheses derived from them. however. and general weaknesses. I. can be described as policy r e s e ~ r c hWhereas . see James S Coleman. Gagnon. 1. and the associated rise and fall o f competing theories eventually influence the "world views" of policy makers outside of the academy. The comparison o f paradigms emphasizes differences. Policy Research .n the Sociol Scrences (New York: General Learning Press. Sociol Scientists. client orientation. no. academic research into the causes o f cnme might identifi moral education within the family as an important factor. Hall. For a discussion o f a paradigm shift in political context. a discussion of policy research. however. As our discussion indicates. Harold D. which often directly employs the methods o f the social science disciplines.' Although academic research only fortuitously contributes to the debate over any particular policy issue. swiftness. The policy researcher may then be willing to make a prediction (a hypothesis to be tested thin disciplines. The new theory or clever empirical test earns respect from social scientists whether or not it is immediately relevant to public policy. o or . The policy researcher. 1990). the professions o f planning and public admjnistration have moved much closer to the policy analysis paradigm in recent years. Policy research. journalism. time constraints. acceptance o f new theories that better explain empirical anomal~es often occurs only after repeated failures o f the older theories over an extended period. W e focus our attention on similarities and differences in characteristics such as major objectives. The common experience o f higher education gives us all at least some familiarity with academic research in the social sciences." at least as recognized by other scholars. This research. Kuhn. 1970. Progress in the social sciences proceeds as much from the idiosyncrasy o f researchers as from the demands of the larger society. and severity o f punishment for those who commit crimes. Because our political system places much o f family life outside the sphere o f legitimate public intervention. and the State (New York: Praeger. policy research focuses on relationships between variables that reflect social problems and other variables that can be manipulated by public policy. The desired product o f policy research is a more-or-less verified hypothesis o f the form: If the government does X. the development of social science knowledge forms a base for more narrowly specified research of greater potential relevance. Nevertheless. 1970). The Structure oJScientifc Revolutions (Chicago: Univers~ty of Chicago Press.Policy Analysis and Related Professions 29 A comparison o f policy analysis with five other paradigms-academic social science research. see Peter A. common style. and the "old" public administratiow-appears in Table 2. Its major objective is the development o f theories that contribute to a better understanding o f society. policy research.

perhaps mitigated by issue recurrence Difficulty in translating findings into government action Classical Planning Defining and achiev.. specification of goals and objectives Managerial and legal 1 Time constraints Rarely external time constraints General Often irrelevant to information needs of decision makers - Actors in the policy arena:the related disciplines Sometimes deadline pressure.1 Policy Analysis in Perspective 1 Academic Social Science Research Policy Research Major Objective Construct theories for understanding society Predict impacts of changes in variables that can be altered by pubiic policy "Truth" as defined by the disciplines: other scholars - Common style Rigorous methods for constructing and testing theories."Public interest" as professionally ing desirable future defined state of society Little immediate time Wishful thinking in pressure because plans when political deals with long-term processes ignored future Time pressure tied to routine decision maklng such as budget cycles Strong deadline pressure-strike while issue is topical Strong deadline pressure-completion of analysis usually tied to specific decision Exclusion of alternatives external to program Lack of analytical depth and balance Myopia resulting from client orientation and time pressure The "Old" Public Administration Efficient execution of programs established by political processes Focusing public attention on societal problems Systematic comparison and evaluation of alternatives avaiiable to public actors for solving social problems 'Public interest" as embodied in mandated program Journalism 1 General pubiic Descriptive Policy Analysis Synthesis of existing Specific person or institution as decision research and theory to predict consemaker quences of alternative policies .Table 2. usually retrospective Application of formal methodology to policy-relevant questions: prediction of consequences Established rules and professional norms.

.

however. Nordhaus. 179-200. Jorgen Randers. 4. The analytical objective is to maximize. planning schools now require coursework in policy analysis. 26. leading to a dramatic decline in world living standards. Further.' A n apparently rigorous model. see Ida R. Systems Analysis in Public Poliv: A Critique (Berkeley: University o f California Press. Simon and Herman Kahn. Behrens Ill. eds. 'For critiques o f the Club o f Rome approach." in Robert W." Econorn. 6For critiques of systems analysis. certain variables that represent goals by altering other variables that can be manipulated by government. Cost-Benefit Analysis. Dennis L. see Yehezkel Dror. the public attention given t o the report o f the Club o f Rome on the limits to world growth7-a report based on a model with virtually no empirical links to the real world.. 2. Witness." Public Administration Rewew. the mystlque o f quantification may give simplistic models more attention than they deserve. 332. Systems Analysis. for example. 2 goals and objectives. "Growth Models and Limits-to-Growth Models as a Base for Public Policymaking in Economic Development. Meadows. 'For example. Val. Chi-Yuen Wu. Analysts: A N e w ProFessional Roie in Government Service. For a comparison ofsystems analysis and policy analysis. 'World Dynamics: Measurement Without Data. Meadows. by the autonomy of local governments that do not fully accept the professionally specified goals and objectives. 292-310." Polrcy Sciences. pp. no." Public Administration Review. many planners have urged their profession t o adopt a more active interventionist role in public decision m a k i q 5 Consequently. 191-211: and Julian L. In particular. and Willlam W . 1967. 115&1183. pp. 1984).: The Center for Urban Policy Research. Burchell and George Sternlieb. 27. which attempted to extend the techniques o f operations research beyond narrow applications The basic approach of systems analysis involves the construction o f quantitative models that specify the links among the multitude of variables o f interest in social or economic systems. Woos. no. 1966. "The Political Economy of Effciency. pp. N. see Wllliam D.. 'Donella H. 'The Planner as Interventionist In Public Policy Issues. by the dynamic o f local economic growth that often takes unanticipated forms. 5 . By identifying the many possible interactions. 1978). the systems analyst hopes t o avoid the myopia o f incremental political decision making But systems analysis has tended to be both overambitious and reduction~st. no. 1974. 1974). the analyst's choice may cloak value judgments In apparent objectivity. and by a narrow emphasis on physical structure rather than broader issues of social behavior.~Journol. Additionaliy. no. and Aaron Wildavsky. eds. see Jerome L. the appropriate weights t o place on the multiple goals that characterize public issues are usually not obvious. and Progrm Budgeting. 3. not all important factors are readily subject to quantification. . Kaufman. Zoning and land-use ordinances were to serve as the mechanisms for implementing the master plans.' Rarely is there adequate theory or data for the construction of reliable comprehensive models. pp. The Resourceful Earth: A Response to Global 2000 (New York: Basil Blackwell. Vol. or at least achieve lower bounds on. 197-203.What Is Policy Analysis? Chap. 1973. 83. Vol. it purported t o show that continued economic growth would soon be unsupportable. Vol. pp. 1972). Recognizing the incongruence of the classical planning paradigm with the reality of democratic politics. many urban and reg~onal A more recent manifestation o f the planning paradigm was systems analysis. The impact of urban planning has been limited.J. The LimIts to Growth: A Report fw the Club of Rome's Proiect on the Predicament of Mankind (New York: Universe Books. Plonninq Theory m the 1980s: A Search for Future Directions (New Brunswick.

Budgeting: A Cornparatrve Theory of Budgetary Processes (Boston. no. public administrators turn their attention to the routine decisions concerning personnel. 197-222. when and if it is allowed to get that fa? in Aaron Wildavsk~. The words of Woodrow Wilson provide an unequivocal statement o f the basic premise of the old public administration: ". Vol."'^ The ideal is a skillful and loyal civil service free from political interference and dedicated to the implementation and eficient administration o f politically mandated programs according to sound principles o f management. Even this limited form of planning placed too great a strain on available knowledge and analytical resource^. "The Study of Administration. 1887. the science of management was insulatedfrom the art o f politics. The basic approach of PPBS is to identjfy all programs that have common objectives so that budget allocations to those programs can be compared in terms o f their effectiveness in achieving the objectives. p 354. "A Death ~nthe Bureaucracy. 146156. administration lies outside the proper sphere of politics. Also see Allen Schick. .Policy Analysis a n d Related Professions 33 Despite numerous arbitrary and questionable assumptions. . and operating procedures that help determine how well the programs will meet their mandated goals. which shares some characteristics with policy analysis.cal Scrence Quarterb. the Club o f Rome report was embraced by many whose worldview associated continued economic growth with unavoidable environmental degradation. no. A more focused application o f systems analysis is the planning." Public Adminrstration Revrew. Administrative questions are not political questions. One focuses exclusively on doing well what has been chosen. The Demise o f Federal PPB. After some apparent success in the Defense Depaitment. budgeting system (PPBS). Public administration has gradually come to include policy analysis among its professional activities. it should not be suffered to manipulate its office^. pp. however. The formality o f the model tended to divert attention from its implicit assumptions. budgets. Although policy analysts must concern themselves with questions o f organizational design and administrative feasibility. . 2. Brown. 1973. programming. they seek to influence the choice of programs by the political process. 1975). Vol 2. One reason is that the large bureaus and vague legislative mandates associated with an expanded public role in society require administrators 'consider the following assessment: "Although it may fail for many other reasons. Once organizational structures for programs have been created. I. Both the old public administration and policy analysis are intended to bring greater expertise into public endeavors.Little. Its advocates sought to separate the management function from what they saw as the corruption of politics. In other words. its son ordered its use throughout the federal government in 1965. the other also considers the choice of what is to be done." Po1It. It differs in its attempt to force comprehensive and quantitative compansons over a wide range of programs. 33. such as lack of political support or trained personnel. PPBS is like policy analysis in that it is directed at influencing specific decisions in the budget cycle. '%Vccdrow Wilson. pp.^ The goal of the 'oid"pu6iic administration was more modest than that of planning: the eficient management of programs mandated by the political process. Although politics sets the tasks for administration. In 1971 use was formally abandoned by President Richard Nixon's Office of Management and Budget. President Lyndon John. it always fails for lack of knowledge.

like journalists.irnmistratron (Scranton.r Pl. therefore. Because news quickly becomes stale. Files o f background information and networks o f knowledgeable people often serve as extremely valuable resources. they are rarely called upon to make predictions about the future. Comparing policy analysis with journalism may at first seem strange. Irl F ~ ~ ?... communication is a primary concern.sientl>. 314. The administrator must be able to secure resources and defend implementation decisions within the political process. Effecti\/e communication requires clear .it. Professional training. and villains catch readers' interest more effectively than nuanced discussions o f competing social values. The 'hew" public odmin~stration explicitly abandons the notion that administration should be separate from politics.i. Finally. dates i3 i^fl. no matter how sophisticated and convincing. Narratives with victims.. When they write about public policy. is more often introducing policy problems to the public agenda than providing systematic comparisons -. and administrati\!e feasibility of policy alternatives when time does not permit systematic investigation.. Woodrow Wilson's vision notwithstanding. political.ally lmpl-o. but may also provide information useful for assessing technical. Journalists typically concern themselves with recent events. work. "Toward a New' Public A. n . Policy analysis may help accomplish these tasks.r . but to both ~nfluenceand execute policies which more qualit" of life fQr all. Policy analysts must do the same for their clients. Journalists must be able to put their stories into words that will catch and keep the interest o f their readers.dsiue of accumulated i a l $ . of alternative solutions.b/s A.. they often face the prospect o f not being able to publish unless they make the next edition." I t s practitioners seek to influence the adoption as well as the implementation o f policies. issue regulations. t. the need to attract a wide readership often leads them to focus on the unusual and the sensational rather than the routine and the mundane.'Mew Public Administration seeks not only to carry out legislative lm~onsider follcwlng. Order kV.thout DesW (palc 41to"0." t i .on.. the advice o f policy analysts. P. . Similarly. 1971).. Rarely will it be the case o f better late than never. Their contribution to the political process.What Is Policy Analysis? Chap. 148s). Feldrnan. They may enable journalists to put events quickly in context.c . or otherwise make decisions. must include methods both for predicting the consequences o f alternative policies so that informed choices can be made and for effectively participating in the political process so that the choices can be realized. heros. hdbr d Uni.e fi. They play a sim~lar role for policy analysts.bt. see Martha S.d economically as possible.George Frederickson. Another reason lies in the usual absence of a clean separation between politics and administration. Tight deadlines drive much o f journalist.drninistragenel. Nevertheless. Training in public administration thus often includes course work in policy analysis even though its primary focus remains management and operational decision making. 2 to choose among alternative policies-they thus become consumers and producers of policy analysis relevant to their own agencies.. ~ ~~~~~~d~ ! ~ /verr. Tight deadlines lead journalists and policy analysts to develop similar strategies for gathering information.esc.. policy analysts and journalists share severa1 goals and constraints..: Chandler. will be useless i f it is delivered to clients after they have had to vote.12 Policy analysts. therefore. Pa. wisely cultivate their information sources.

. - - - ~ ~ POLICY ANALYSIS AS A PROFESSION Until the 1980s few of those actually doing policy analysis would have identified themselves as members of the policy analysis profession. AIIVIS. ~ ( !i. 20036-8736 infcricati?n about mernbershjr. We consider the Val-ioils analytical styles and thelj. i ' \. In recent years. the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. ." Many who do policy analysis held.en=u~l :an b r r. the profession is still young and those who consider themselves members represent only a fraction o f those actually practicing the craft ofpolicy analysis.:the f c l i o w ~ n ~ Worid Wide \...I3 even he less. l%ssaca~ion for IJublic F'r-iiw 1ri"l:n.. :3. Practicing policy analysts work in a variety o f organizational settings.context.ia. For settlnps in which pci~cy analysts now. Policy analysis is neither so narrow in scope as the old public administration nor so broad in scope as classical planning.1er:!~:. let us look at a few examplci of o~pnizational work.sthical implicrtiims in detail in the next chapter. program evaluators. ESSir (1.el .. Yet planners and public administrators who explicitly recognize participation in the political process as professionally legitimate may at times become advice givers to various political actors. consult~ng tirms: research institutes. thus playing the role o f policy analysts. Also. budget analysts.>ns. e d . even fewer were filling positions labeled "policy analyst.. policy analysis requires skills in information gathering and communication. and business and nonprofit corporations. i

~lliam?!lLir.. 1987.. Many practicing analysts trained in a variety of disciplines have joined with academics to form a professional organization.. we gain a perspective on policy analysis by comparing it to related professions. \ve should exper: to see a wide range d'analytical styles.vJ/ " ~ a rinterna~~onal conipa~-i.Url: ... and continue to hold. Becau:~those relationships and roles vary greatly acrgss organirations.: Yar~a~erncnt. and statisticians.. Black\vell. writing must be concise and convincing to be effective -. positions as economists. operations researchers. ? . state.. 2nd a i . Like journalism." The way a:rysti praccice their craft is greatly influenced by the nature o f their relationships i \ ~ their i cl~ents ~and by the roles played by the clients in the political process. Like policy research. however. W e focus here primarily on the US.. the policy analysis profession has emerged as an established profession. Positions labeled policy analyst are now more common in government agencies.!~ ( 7 r?U!tr: ~ 0. but policy analysts can he h u n d in s~milarsettlngs in all the major industrialized countries.. and local agencies and legislatures.Jshlno~or.c. o i i ~ . In summary.lle'et sdcl~r-si:asit ... .p.r. conC-. including federal.. trade assoc!ations and other organizations representing interest groups. PC i . because the attention and time o f clients are be understood by the~r scarce resources. .-rc(! -. nr.~. planners. policy analysis employs social science theoly and empirical methods to predict the consequences o f alternative policies.~ ~ ..Policy Analysis as a Profession 35 writing-analysts must be able to explain their technical work in language that can clients. and often these positions are filled by people who have been trained in graduate programs in p i i c y analysis.

it also often leads the analysts t o emphasize budgetary costs over social costs and benefits. 173-77." "administration. Also see Robert H. Vol. 8. 38." Journolof€conomic Perspecti\. . 395110 in the same issue. and Analysis Ofice. Princeton University Press. 3. 10. Policy analysts work for Congress "For a d~scussion o f the inst~tutional role o f O M B . Planning. pp. t o a lesser extent. w e briefly consider policy analysls in the Department of Health and Human Services t o illustrate the sorts of functions analysts perform in federal agencies. Later in this chapter. the Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) also play coordinating roles in the federal government. In addition t o small personal staffs." Often. Nelson. 3. 379-94. a t various times. Vol. 2 First." and "budget. 1989. no. .^" Policy analysts work throughout the federal agencies. 80-98. on the role of analys~s at the State Department. "The Office of Policy Analys~s in the Department o f the Interior. Where would w e find policy analysts? Beginning with the executive branch. pp." "evaluation. "A Successful Accident: Recollections and Speculations about the CEA." Journal of Polrcy Analysis and Managemenr.36 . The Ofice o f Management and Budget and the Presidency 1921-1979 (Princeton. Meltsner. no." These ofices have a variety of names that usually include some combination of the words "policy. substantive responsibilities. see Larry Berman. Policy Analysts in the Bureaucracy (Berkeley: University ofCalifornia Press." "planning. I S ~recently s as the mid-1970s only a small fraction of the ofices responsible for doing policy analysis actually had ''policy'' or "policy analysis" In their names." pp. 1979).'"8 For example. federal government. They often coordinate the work of policy analysts in other parts of the executive branch.15Analysts on the C E A d o not play as direct a role in the budgetary process and therefore retain greater freedom t o adopt the broad perspective of social costs and benefits. see Hugh Heclo. Analysts in O M B are responsible for predicting the costs t o the federal in the evaluation of particular government of changes in policy.J.S. N. Policy analysts also abound in the leg~slativebranch. they generally share closely the philosophy and goals of their administration. agency heads usually have analytical ofices reporting directly t o them. no. however. pp. Berliner. consequences of policy options. T h e O 6 c e of Management and Budget (OMB) and. pp. W h a t Is Policy Analysis? Chap. w e could start our search right in the White House. a s well a s economic and social. They also part~cipate programs. 3-21." Public Interest. Arnold J." "economic. IbHerbert Stein. Their advice concerns the political. Without direct leverage over the agencies. 1975. their influence derives largely from the percept!on that their advice is based on the technical expertise of the discipline of economic^. see Lucian Puzliaresi and Diane T . Both the Congress as a whole and its individual members serve as clients. 1996. where w e would find small but influential groups of analysts in the National Security Council and Policy Development staffs. For a history o f O M B . T h e major role that O M B plays in the preparation of the administration budget gives its analysts great leverage in disputes with the federal agencies. "For example.es. the heads of agency subdivisions have analytical staffs that provide advice and expertise relevant t o their . "Pol~cy Analys~s at the Department o f State: The Policy Flanning Staff. " O M B and the Presidency: The Problem of Neutral Competence. consider the U. the central analytical ofice in the Department of Energy has been called the "OfFice of the Assistant Secretary for Policy and Evaluatton" and the "Policy. A s presidential appointees in politically sensitive positions. 1976).

even though often trained as lawyers-number in the thousands. UnelectedRepresentatives(New York: Basic Books. Vol. . w e find a similar pattern.." The analytical agendas o f these offices are set primarily by the congressional leadership. 1977. until its recent elimination. the forerunner o f OMB. see Bruce Bimber. including legislative analysts. no. the Office o f Technology Assessment (OTA). Jr. Most states Perhave budget offices that play roles similar t o that o f OMB at the federal sonal and committee staffs provide analysis in the state legislatures. must be politically sensitive if they are t o maintain their positions and influence. Lee. p 181. 395-405. Malbin. Of course. Most o f the analysis and formulation of legislation. Vol. Staff: and the Search for InJormation (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press. 3.n Congress: Members. 3. and because its reports are generally public. clearly indicate that policy analysis clearly does flow through congressional communication networks. "see Carol H. often recruited from the campaign and personal staffs o f members of congress. is done by committee staffs that report t o committee chairs and ranking minority r n e m b e r ~ . " ~ i c h a e lJ.Policy Analysis As a Profession in the General Accounting Office (GAO). . however. I 9 ~ h General e Accounting Office and the Bureau o f the Budget. Mosher. 'O~oran account o f the elimination o f the O T A and a comparison with the larger congressional support agencies that survived." Journal o f PaIiv AnalySisandManagement. Communtcation . members o f congress have their own personal staffs. p p 252-56. analytic information played a significant role in congressional de~iberations. Turning t o state governments. 1984). were established in 1921 with the creation ofan executive budget system. see Robert D. and Raymond J. In the late-1960s. A Tale o f Two Agencies: A Comporotiw Analysis o f the General Accounting Ofice and the Ofice of Manapment and Budget (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. In three of the four issues examined. GAO became a major producer o f policy analys~s in the form o f program evaluations with recommendations for future actions. . however. 1996). Congressional staff involved with legislation-and therefore t o some extent working as policy analysts. 1989.22 H o w influential is policy analysp in policy formation and choice in Congress? surrounding four policy issues in the Based on his detailed study o f commun~cat~on areas o f health and transportation. the legislatures have offices much like the Congresshnal Budget Office t o analyze the impact o f proposed legislation. it faces stronger incentives t o produce politically neutral analyses than OMB. avid Whiteman. no. Da'hfWhiteman concludes: "The results . During much o f its history. and. The Politics o f Expertrse tn Congress: The R~se and Fall o f the Ofice o f Technology Assessment (Albany: State University o f N e w York Press." Poliv Analysis. the Congressional Research Service (CRS). in some states such as California. 1995). Staffeldt. but sometimes by the requests o f individual congressional members as well." see Frederick C . 1980). 8. Governors and agency heads usually have staffs o f advisors who do policy analysis. "Congressional Committees as Users o f Analysis.I9 the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). 24~o arsurvey. Weiss. "Executive and Legislative Use of Policy Analysis in the State Budgetary Process: Survey Results. Because GAO must serve both parties and both legislative houses.Committee ~' staffers. For a comparative history of these "twins. GAO devoted its efforts primarily to auditing government activities."~~ Much o f the communication takes place through discussions between congressional staffers and analysts in government offices and think tanks rather than as formal written reports. p p 411431. 3. pp.

26Fora . Consequently. which focuses on population issues. but also as routine supplements to their own staff resources. Fall 1997) lists 114 think tanks in the Washington area (pp. In extreme cases. to the Worldwatch Institute. 1979). then they must analyses that the clients percetve as useful. such as the construction o f new facilities or major reorganizations. see James tants Can Help (Lexington. which focuses on environmental issues. The Capital Source (Washington. Marver. they often lack the time. Although their work is usually not directly tied to specific policy decisions." and policy research institutes also provide consulting services. and they will be able to find replacement business elsewhere if necessary. Except in the most populous jurisdictions. the Institute for Defense Analyses. provide very specialized skills. G. more and more issues attract policy analyses from think tanks. Consul- *'For instance. or enjoy a reputation for providing balanced analysis. the consultants are paid to produce specific products. Consultants who pander to the prejudices o f their clients at the expense o f analytical honesty are sometimes described as "hired guns" or "beltway bandits. Resources for the Future. or to meet evaluation requirements imposed by intergovernmental grant programs.27Many of the newer think 25Thereare some exceptions See Gale March 1977). Researchers in academia. Whiteneck. and the lnstitute for Research on Public Policy (Canada) sometimes do produce analyses o f narrow interest for specific clients.tudy o f the use o f consultants by the federal government. and resources for conducting analyses o f great technical sophistication.onPract. With the explosion in the number o f think tanks in recent years. Assessment o f State and Local Government Ei~aluat. they will not suffer greatly from the loss o f any one client. and because they can often observe the consequences o f their recommendations firsthand. the Brookings Institution. Federal agencies not only use consultants for special studies. Usually.25 planning offices.ces: A n h. however. . What do public agencies do i f their own personnel cannot produce a desired or mandated analysis? I f they have funds available. the American Enterprise lnstitute for Public Policy Research.oluation Unit Profle (Denver: Denver Research InstituteIUniversity o f Denver. If they wish to be rehired in the future by their clients. legislative bodies rarely employ persons Executive agencies. 2 At the county and municipal levels. the Urban Institute. D C : The National Journal. It is often difficult in practice to determine whether these researchers better fit the policy analysis or the policy research paradigms presented above. then the agencies can purchase analysis from consultants. Local and state agencies commonly turn to consultants for advice about special issues. Nevertheless. researchers at places like the Rand Corporation. Mass : Lexington Books. 73-75) from the Alan Guttmacher Institute. consulting firms may serve as "body shops" for government ofices. D. because they often have direct access to decision makers." Consultants best able to resist the temptation to pander are probably those who have a large clientele.What Is Policy Analysis? Chap. providing the services o f analysts who cannot be hired directly because o f civil service or other restrictions2' The importance o f the relationship between client and analyst is extremely apparent to consultants. including budget and who work primarily as policy analysts. expertise. usually do have some personnel whose major responsibility is policy analysis. most analysis is done by persons with line or managerial duties. policy analysts at the local level can find their work professionally gratifying despite the resource constraints they face. "think tanks.

governments. fighting. have predispositions toward articular policies that often interfere with the professional validity o f the analyses they provide. nor sell their services to. . and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. trade associations. and labor unions would seek analysis to help determine the impact o f the proposed change on the pattern and cost of employee benefits. the Health Care Financing Administration. in trade as ociations and national labor unions concerned with particular areas of legislation. They often work in profit-seeking firms in industries heavily regulated by govemment. commercial insurers. such as the Food and Drug Administration. such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield. itself . however. . D H H S i s very large by any measure. The American Medical Associat~on would seek analysis o f the impact on the demand for physician services. DHHS is o f such size and scope that the Office of the Secretary (OS). In fiscal year 1997. For e x ~ . In the subsequent chapters.A Closer Look at Analytical Functions 39 tanks with strong ideological ident~fications. Private firms. and health maintenance organizations. Rather than describe these inclusive functions in the abstract. This is the most appropriate pedagogic approach because it encompasses the range o f functions that analysts commonly perform. . But what sorts o f functions do analysts actually in their organizations? A CLOSER LOOK AT ANALYTICAL FUNCTIONS At the beginning o f this chapter. would want predictions o f the effect of the change on the demand for the? plans and the cost o f medical care. It oversees many specialized agencies. or modiQing the proposal as it moves through the political process.e l econsider . large numbers o f analysts neither work for. . it is one o f the largest and most complex bureaus in the world. Health insurance providers. and employed more than 130. By mastering it. we present a brief overview of some o f the policy analytic functions identified by the Department o f Health and Human Services (DHHS). As such. a proposal to make health insurance premiums aid by employers count as taxable income for employees. it administered spending o f over $340 billion. it is a very large federal agency with responsibilities that demand the full range of analytical functions Second. analysts not only prepare themselves for performing the inclusive functions but also gain a useful framework for putting what they are doing into wrswctive. First. These interests might also ask their analysts how to develop strategies for supporting. DHHS has written down what i t sees to be the important functions o f its policy analysts. bnd in nonprofit corporations that have public missions in their charters. the central coordinating ofice for HHS. we pointed out that the nature o f policy analysis can vary widely. Finally. we set out a framework for doing comprehensive policy analysis-how an individual analyst should go about producing a structured analysis that assesses problems presented by clients and systematically compares alternatives for solving them. to name just a few. It should be obvious from our brief survey that policy analysts work in a variety of organizational settings on problems ranging in scope from municipal refuse collection to national defense. issued more grants than any other federal agency. the National Institutes of Health. W e single out DHHS for two reasons.000 people nationwide in its constituent units.

A n ASPE orientation document specjf. This is important to D H H S because ASPE resources "constitute some o f the few flexible analytic resources in the Policy development often involves special initiatives within DHHS. For example. The purpose o f the O S includes providing independent advice and analysis concerning program issues. Third. analysts perform a policy research and oversight function. . lalbid.cally alerts new analysts to four major functions that they will be likely to perform:" First. help formulate and justify plans for allocating evaluation funds. there is no While much o f what the OS does involves administrat~on clear separation o f these tasks from policy analysis. Although policy analysts can be found throughout DHHS. Pollcy and Evaluat~on. ASPE analysts also participate in reviews o f the research plans of other agencies.. talking with the staff about issues and options before they reach decision points. analyzing trade-offs among programs. to preparing an instant briefing for congressional ~- '8Ass~stantSecretary. ''lbid. analysts perform a "firefighting" funct~on. E-2. . "going out to the agency.) ASPE analysts perform a varifices often work together on ~ o l i c y etv -.. like many other government agencies. Second. Fires can be "anything from a request from the White House to review the statement o f administration accomplishments on welfare reform . desk officers can provide quick assessments of proposed policy changes in their areas.I of -~functions. . because it has the clearest and most direct mandate for doing policy analysis.What Is Policy Analysis? Chap. and knowing what issues are moving and what are not. and monitoring. and developing common policies across agencies. analysts perform a policy development function. it is useful t o focus on the Office of the Assistant Secretary. therefore analysts at ASPE are both consumers and praducerr o f policy research and analysis. analysts play a "desk officei' function that involves coordinating policy relevant to specific program areas and serving as a contact for the line agencies within DHHS that have responsibilities in these areas. a desk officer research issues and work closely with analysts and other permight cover biomed~cal sonnel at the National Institutes o f Health. and serve on agency ~anels that award research contracts and grants. contracts out a considerable amount o f policy-relevant research. 2 employs approximately twenty-four hundred people. E-I. These initiatives often result in policy option papers or specific legislative proposals. Planning and Evaluation (ASPE). Desk oficers serve as the eyes and ears of the department. ''ASPE spends approximately $20 million a year in both policy research and evaluation funds" to carry out this core function3' I t is important to emphasize that D H H S . By staying on top of issues. "All About APSE: A Guide for APSE Staff. but with greater emphasis on budgetary and cost issues: the two ofanalysis projects.''29Desk officers are also expected to reach outside of D H H S to identlfy concerns and ideas from academics and those who deal with the programs in the field." no date.. Fourth. 3'lbid. Management and Budget has closely related policy analysis responsibilities. (The Office o f the Assistant Secretary.E-2. but it can also be done through task forces that include personnel from other departments.

What sorts o f basic skills help analysts prepare for this diversity o f tasks? 1 BASIC PREPARATION FOR POLICY ANALYSIS Policy analysis is as much an art and a crafi as a science." Just as the successful portrait~st must be able to apply the skills of the crafi o f painting within an aesthetic perspective. the likely costs and benefits o f alternative solutions and communicate these assessments t o their clients. the analyst needs a perspective that includes governmentjiilure as well as market failure. I hese four categories o f functions show the great variety o f tasks that analysts are routinely called upon to perform. Chapter 10 focuses on the development o f these basic informational skills. and 7 analyze the various market failures and other rationales that have been identified. Sufficiency requires that the form o f the intervention not involve consequences that would inflict greater social costs than social benefits.pp. . organize."32 The term "firefighting" conveys the urgency of the task-analysts drop whatever else they are doing until the fire is put out! -. others extend for long periods. should be viewed as only necessary conditions for appropriate government intervention. Chapter 8 discusses the systematic ways that government interventions tend to lead to undesirable social The Art and Crafi o f Policy Analysis 3 3 ~ oan r excellent statement o f this vtewpoint. [the] Office of the Secretary prepare for a meeting with a key outside group tomorrow. But market failures. 385406. to helping . preparation in five areas is essential. Brown. Second.Someinvolve topics o f great fmiliarity. They must be able to develop strategies for quickly understanding the nature o f policy problems and the range o f possible solutions. When is it legitimate for government to intervene in private affairs? In the United States. . 1979). at least qualitatively. analysts must know how to gather. Identification o f these costs o f intervention is facilitated by an understanding of the ways collective action can fail. Some have short deadlines. The six chapters of Part II provide such a perspective. In order to integrate effectively the art and crafi of policy analysis. others present novel i r sues.Basic Preparation for Policy Analysis 41 staff because a key committee is preparing to mark up a bill. First. others are episodic. Some of these tasks are ongoing. such as greater equity in the distributions o f economic and political resources. In other words. Speoktng T r o h (Boston: Little. others require interaction with external analysts and decision make~s. the successful policy analyst must be able to apply basic skills within a reasonably consistent and realistic perspective on the role o f government in society. to Power: . analysts need a perspective for putting perceived social problems in context. 6. see Aaron Wildavsky. and communicate infonnation in situations in which deadlines are strict and access to relevant people is limited. They must also be able to identify. 5. the normative answer to this question has usually been based on the concept of market failure-a circumstance in which the pursuit o f private interest does not lead to an eficient use o f society's resources or a fair distribution o f society s goods. Chapters 4. or widely shared nonnative claims for the desirabili y of social goals other than eefciency. Some are internal to the analysts' organizations.

analysts must have an understanding o f political and organizational behavior in order t o predict. ina ail^. There are three reasons why a solid ground~ng In economics and statist~cs is important for the professional policy analyst: (I) the techniques o f these disciplines are often directly applicable to policy problems: (2) researchers who use economic models and statistical techniques are important sources of policy research-the abil~ty t o iriterpret the~r work is therefore valuable: and (3) analytical opponents may use or abuse these techniques-self-protection requires a basic awareness of the strengths and limitat~ons of the techniques. understanding the worldviews o f clients and potential opponents enables the analyst t o marshal evidence and arguments more effectively. Approaches t o the development o f professional ethics for policy analysts is the subject o f the next chapter. those readers who envision careers in policy analysis would the follow~ng be well advised t o take courses devoted t o these subjects. These chapters provide a "capital stock o f ideas for categorizing and understanding social problems and proposing alternative policies for dealing with them. analysts need technical skills to enable them t o predict better and to evaluate more confidently the consequences o f alternative policies. and government failure (Chapter 8). and statistics in chapters. Although w e introduce some important concepts from microeconomics. the subject of Chapter 12. Fourth. and in the case Cha~ter 15). Also. Therefore. the feasibility o f adoption and successful implementation o f policies. and perhaps influence. studies (es~eciallv a n i l y s t s ' ~ h o ~ lhave d an ethical framework that explicitly takes account o f their relationships t o clients. Analysts often face dilemmas when the private preferences and interests o f their clients diverge substantially from their own perceptions o f the public interest. W e assume that readers have a basic familiarity with democratic political systems. 34 . practical applications o f theories o f political and organizational behavior are ~ntegrated with subject matter throughout the text.34Even an introduction t o policy analysis. should include the basics o f benefit-cost analysis. The disciplines o f economics and statistics serve as primary sources for these skills. however. informationgathering skills (Chapter lo). but particularly in the context o f thinking strategically about attaining goals (Chapter 13). public finance. Third.62 What Is Policy Analysis? Chap. Chapters 15 and I6 illustrate the application o f benefit-cost analysis and related techniques. 2 outcomes: and Chapter 9 reviews generic policy solutions for correcting market and government failures.

Related Interests

~lliam?!lLir.. 1987.. Many practicing analysts trained in a variety of disciplines have joined with academics to form a professional organization.. we gain a perspective on policy analysis by comparing it to related professions. \ve should exper: to see a wide range d'analytical styles.vJ/ " ~ a rinterna~~onal conipa~-i.Url: ... and continue to hold. Becau:~those relationships and roles vary greatly acrgss organirations.: Yar~a~erncnt. and statisticians.. Black\vell. writing must be concise and convincing to be effective -. positions as economists. operations researchers. ? . state.. 2nd a i . Like journalism." The way a:rysti praccice their craft is greatly influenced by the nature o f their relationships i \ ~ their i cl~ents ~and by the roles played by the clients in the political process. Like policy research. however. W e focus here primarily on the US.. the policy analysis profession has emerged as an established profession. Positions labeled policy analyst are now more common in government agencies.!~ ( 7 r?U!tr: ~ 0. but policy analysts can he h u n d in s~milarsettlngs in all the major industrialized countries.. and local agencies and legislatures.Jshlno~or.c. o i i ~ . In summary.lle'et sdcl~r-si:asit ... .p.r. conC-. including federal.. trade assoc!ations and other organizations representing interest groups. PC i . because the attention and time o f clients are be understood by the~r scarce resources. .-rc(! -. nr.~. planners. policy analysis employs social science theoly and empirical methods to predict the consequences o f alternative policies.~ ~ ..Policy Analysis as a Profession 35 writing-analysts must be able to explain their technical work in language that can clients. and often these positions are filled by people who have been trained in graduate programs in p i i c y analysis.

it also often leads the analysts t o emphasize budgetary costs over social costs and benefits. 173-77." "administration. Also see Robert H. Vol. 8. 38." Journolof€conomic Perspecti\. . 395110 in the same issue. and Analysis Ofice. Princeton University Press. 3. 10. Policy analysts work for Congress "For a d~scussion o f the inst~tutional role o f O M B . Planning. pp. t o a lesser extent. w e briefly consider policy analysls in the Department of Health and Human Services t o illustrate the sorts of functions analysts perform in federal agencies. Later in this chapter. the Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) also play coordinating roles in the federal government. In addition t o small personal staffs." Often. Nelson. 3. 379-94. a t various times. Vol. 2 First." and "budget. 1989. no. .^" Policy analysts work throughout the federal agencies. 80-98. on the role of analys~s at the State Department. "The Office of Policy Analys~s in the Department o f the Interior. Where would w e find policy analysts? Beginning with the executive branch. pp." "evaluation. "A Successful Accident: Recollections and Speculations about the CEA." Journal of Polrcy Analysis and Managemenr.36 . The Ofice o f Management and Budget and the Presidency 1921-1979 (Princeton. Meltsner. no." These ofices have a variety of names that usually include some combination of the words "policy. substantive responsibilities. see Larry Berman. Policy Analysts in the Bureaucracy (Berkeley: University ofCalifornia Press." "planning. I S ~recently s as the mid-1970s only a small fraction of the ofices responsible for doing policy analysis actually had ''policy'' or "policy analysis" In their names." pp. 1979).'"8 For example. federal government. They often coordinate the work of policy analysts in other parts of the executive branch.15Analysts on the C E A d o not play as direct a role in the budgetary process and therefore retain greater freedom t o adopt the broad perspective of social costs and benefits. see Hugh Heclo. Analysts in O M B are responsible for predicting the costs t o the federal in the evaluation of particular government of changes in policy.J.S. N. Policy analysts also abound in the leg~slativebranch. they generally share closely the philosophy and goals of their administration. agency heads usually have analytical ofices reporting directly t o them. no. however. pp. Berliner. consequences of policy options. T h e O 6 c e of Management and Budget (OMB) and. pp. W h a t Is Policy Analysis? Chap. w e could start our search right in the White House. a s well a s economic and social. They also part~cipate programs. 3-21." Public Interest. Arnold J." "economic. IbHerbert Stein. Their advice concerns the political. Without direct leverage over the agencies. 1975. their influence derives largely from the percept!on that their advice is based on the technical expertise of the discipline of economic^. see Lucian Puzliaresi and Diane T . Both the Congress as a whole and its individual members serve as clients. 1996. where w e would find small but influential groups of analysts in the National Security Council and Policy Development staffs. For a history o f O M B . T h e major role that O M B plays in the preparation of the administration budget gives its analysts great leverage in disputes with the federal agencies. "For example.es. the heads of agency subdivisions have analytical staffs that provide advice and expertise relevant t o their . "Pol~cy Analys~s at the Department o f State: The Policy Flanning Staff. " O M B and the Presidency: The Problem of Neutral Competence. consider the U. the central analytical ofice in the Department of Energy has been called the "OfFice of the Assistant Secretary for Policy and Evaluatton" and the "Policy. A s presidential appointees in politically sensitive positions. 1976).

even though often trained as lawyers-number in the thousands. UnelectedRepresentatives(New York: Basic Books. Vol. . w e find a similar pattern.." The analytical agendas o f these offices are set primarily by the congressional leadership. 1977. until its recent elimination. the forerunner o f OMB. see Bruce Bimber. including legislative analysts. no. the Office o f Technology Assessment (OTA). Jr. Most states Perhave budget offices that play roles similar t o that o f OMB at the federal sonal and committee staffs provide analysis in the state legislatures. must be politically sensitive if they are t o maintain their positions and influence. Lee. p 181. 395-405. Malbin. Of course. Most o f the analysis and formulation of legislation. Vol. Staff: and the Search for InJormation (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press. 3.n Congress: Members. 3. and because its reports are generally public. clearly indicate that policy analysis clearly does flow through congressional communication networks. "see Carol H. often recruited from the campaign and personal staffs o f members of congress. is done by committee staffs that report t o committee chairs and ranking minority r n e m b e r ~ . " ~ i c h a e lJ.Policy Analysis As a Profession in the General Accounting Office (GAO). . however. I 9 ~ h General e Accounting Office and the Bureau o f the Budget. Mosher. 'O~oran account o f the elimination o f the O T A and a comparison with the larger congressional support agencies that survived." Journal o f PaIiv AnalySisandManagement. Communtcation . members o f congress have their own personal staffs. p p 252-56. analytic information played a significant role in congressional de~iberations. Turning t o state governments. 1984). were established in 1921 with the creation ofan executive budget system. see Robert D. and Raymond J. In the late-1960s. A Tale o f Two Agencies: A Comporotiw Analysis o f the General Accounting Ofice and the Ofice of Manapment and Budget (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. In three of the four issues examined. GAO became a major producer o f policy analys~s in the form o f program evaluations with recommendations for future actions. . however. 1996). Congressional staff involved with legislation-and therefore t o some extent working as policy analysts. 1989.22 H o w influential is policy analysp in policy formation and choice in Congress? surrounding four policy issues in the Based on his detailed study o f commun~cat~on areas o f health and transportation. the legislatures have offices much like the Congresshnal Budget Office t o analyze the impact o f proposed legislation. it faces stronger incentives t o produce politically neutral analyses than OMB. avid Whiteman. no. Da'hfWhiteman concludes: "The results . During much o f its history. and. The Politics o f Expertrse tn Congress: The R~se and Fall o f the Ofice o f Technology Assessment (Albany: State University o f N e w York Press." Poliv Analysis. the Congressional Research Service (CRS). in some states such as California. 1995). Staffeldt. but sometimes by the requests o f individual congressional members as well." see Frederick C . 1980). 8. Governors and agency heads usually have staffs o f advisors who do policy analysis. "Congressional Committees as Users o f Analysis.I9 the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). 24~o arsurvey. Weiss. "Executive and Legislative Use of Policy Analysis in the State Budgetary Process: Survey Results. Because GAO must serve both parties and both legislative houses.Committee ~' staffers. For a comparative history of these "twins. GAO devoted its efforts primarily to auditing government activities."~~ Much o f the communication takes place through discussions between congressional staffers and analysts in government offices and think tanks rather than as formal written reports. p p 411431. 3. pp.

26Fora . Consequently. which focuses on population issues. but also as routine supplements to their own staff resources. Fall 1997) lists 114 think tanks in the Washington area (pp. In extreme cases. to the Worldwatch Institute. 1979). then they must analyses that the clients percetve as useful. such as the construction o f new facilities or major reorganizations. see James tants Can Help (Lexington. which focuses on environmental issues. The Capital Source (Washington. Marver. they often lack the time. Although their work is usually not directly tied to specific policy decisions." and policy research institutes also provide consulting services. and they will be able to find replacement business elsewhere if necessary. Except in the most populous jurisdictions. the Institute for Defense Analyses. provide very specialized skills. G. more and more issues attract policy analyses from think tanks. Consul- *'For instance. or enjoy a reputation for providing balanced analysis. the consultants are paid to produce specific products. Consultants who pander to the prejudices o f their clients at the expense o f analytical honesty are sometimes described as "hired guns" or "beltway bandits. Resources for the Future. or to meet evaluation requirements imposed by intergovernmental grant programs.27Many of the newer think 25Thereare some exceptions See Gale March 1977). Researchers in academia. Whiteneck. and the lnstitute for Research on Public Policy (Canada) sometimes do produce analyses o f narrow interest for specific clients.tudy o f the use o f consultants by the federal government. and resources for conducting analyses o f great technical sophistication.onPract. With the explosion in the number o f think tanks in recent years. Assessment o f State and Local Government Ei~aluat. they will not suffer greatly from the loss o f any one client. and because they can often observe the consequences o f their recommendations firsthand. the Brookings Institution. Federal agencies not only use consultants for special studies. Usually.25 planning offices.ces: A n h. however. . What do public agencies do i f their own personnel cannot produce a desired or mandated analysis? I f they have funds available. the American Enterprise lnstitute for Public Policy Research.oluation Unit Profle (Denver: Denver Research InstituteIUniversity o f Denver. If they wish to be rehired in the future by their clients. legislative bodies rarely employ persons Executive agencies. 2 At the county and municipal levels. the Urban Institute. D C : The National Journal. It is often difficult in practice to determine whether these researchers better fit the policy analysis or the policy research paradigms presented above. then the agencies can purchase analysis from consultants. Local and state agencies commonly turn to consultants for advice about special issues. Nevertheless. researchers at places like the Rand Corporation. Mass : Lexington Books. 73-75) from the Alan Guttmacher Institute. consulting firms may serve as "body shops" for government ofices. D. because they often have direct access to decision makers." Consultants best able to resist the temptation to pander are probably those who have a large clientele.What Is Policy Analysis? Chap. providing the services o f analysts who cannot be hired directly because o f civil service or other restrictions2' The importance o f the relationship between client and analyst is extremely apparent to consultants. including budget and who work primarily as policy analysts. expertise. usually do have some personnel whose major responsibility is policy analysis. most analysis is done by persons with line or managerial duties. policy analysts at the local level can find their work professionally gratifying despite the resource constraints they face. "think tanks.

governments. fighting. have predispositions toward articular policies that often interfere with the professional validity o f the analyses they provide. nor sell their services to. . and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. trade associations. and labor unions would seek analysis to help determine the impact o f the proposed change on the pattern and cost of employee benefits. the Health Care Financing Administration. in trade as ociations and national labor unions concerned with particular areas of legislation. They often work in profit-seeking firms in industries heavily regulated by govemment. commercial insurers. such as the Food and Drug Administration. such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield. itself . however. . D H H S i s very large by any measure. The American Medical Associat~on would seek analysis o f the impact on the demand for physician services. DHHS is o f such size and scope that the Office of the Secretary (OS). In fiscal year 1997. For e x ~ . In the subsequent chapters.A Closer Look at Analytical Functions 39 tanks with strong ideological ident~fications. Private firms. and health maintenance organizations. Rather than describe these inclusive functions in the abstract. This is the most appropriate pedagogic approach because it encompasses the range o f functions that analysts commonly perform. . But what sorts o f functions do analysts actually in their organizations? A CLOSER LOOK AT ANALYTICAL FUNCTIONS At the beginning o f this chapter. would want predictions o f the effect of the change on the demand for the? plans and the cost o f medical care. It oversees many specialized agencies. or modiQing the proposal as it moves through the political process.e l econsider . large numbers o f analysts neither work for. . it is one o f the largest and most complex bureaus in the world. Health insurance providers. and employed more than 130. By mastering it. we present a brief overview of some o f the policy analytic functions identified by the Department o f Health and Human Services (DHHS). As such. a proposal to make health insurance premiums aid by employers count as taxable income for employees. it administered spending o f over $340 billion. it is a very large federal agency with responsibilities that demand the full range of analytical functions Second. analysts not only prepare themselves for performing the inclusive functions but also gain a useful framework for putting what they are doing into wrswctive. First. These interests might also ask their analysts how to develop strategies for supporting. DHHS has written down what i t sees to be the important functions o f its policy analysts. bnd in nonprofit corporations that have public missions in their charters. the central coordinating ofice for HHS. we pointed out that the nature o f policy analysis can vary widely. Finally. we set out a framework for doing comprehensive policy analysis-how an individual analyst should go about producing a structured analysis that assesses problems presented by clients and systematically compares alternatives for solving them. to name just a few. It should be obvious from our brief survey that policy analysts work in a variety of organizational settings on problems ranging in scope from municipal refuse collection to national defense. issued more grants than any other federal agency. the National Institutes of Health. W e single out DHHS for two reasons.000 people nationwide in its constituent units.

A n ASPE orientation document specjf. This is important to D H H S because ASPE resources "constitute some o f the few flexible analytic resources in the Policy development often involves special initiatives within DHHS. For example. The purpose o f the O S includes providing independent advice and analysis concerning program issues. Third. analysts perform a policy research and oversight function. . lalbid.cally alerts new analysts to four major functions that they will be likely to perform:" First. help formulate and justify plans for allocating evaluation funds. there is no While much o f what the OS does involves administrat~on clear separation o f these tasks from policy analysis. Although policy analysts can be found throughout DHHS. Pollcy and Evaluat~on. ASPE analysts also participate in reviews o f the research plans of other agencies.. talking with the staff about issues and options before they reach decision points. analyzing trade-offs among programs. to preparing an instant briefing for congressional ~- '8Ass~stantSecretary. ''lbid. analysts perform a "firefighting" funct~on. E-2. . "going out to the agency.) ASPE analysts perform a varifices often work together on ~ o l i c y etv -.. like many other government agencies. Second. Fires can be "anything from a request from the White House to review the statement o f administration accomplishments on welfare reform . desk officers can provide quick assessments of proposed policy changes in their areas.I of -~functions. . because it has the clearest and most direct mandate for doing policy analysis.What Is Policy Analysis? Chap. and knowing what issues are moving and what are not. and monitoring. and developing common policies across agencies. analysts perform a policy development function. it is useful t o focus on the Office of the Assistant Secretary. therefore analysts at ASPE are both consumers and praducerr o f policy research and analysis. analysts play a "desk officei' function that involves coordinating policy relevant to specific program areas and serving as a contact for the line agencies within DHHS that have responsibilities in these areas. a desk officer research issues and work closely with analysts and other permight cover biomed~cal sonnel at the National Institutes o f Health. and serve on agency ~anels that award research contracts and grants. contracts out a considerable amount o f policy-relevant research. 2 employs approximately twenty-four hundred people. E-I. These initiatives often result in policy option papers or specific legislative proposals. Planning and Evaluation (ASPE). Desk oficers serve as the eyes and ears of the department. ''ASPE spends approximately $20 million a year in both policy research and evaluation funds" to carry out this core function3' I t is important to emphasize that D H H S . By staying on top of issues. "All About APSE: A Guide for APSE Staff. but with greater emphasis on budgetary and cost issues: the two ofanalysis projects.''29Desk officers are also expected to reach outside of D H H S to identlfy concerns and ideas from academics and those who deal with the programs in the field." no date.. Fourth. 3'lbid. Management and Budget has closely related policy analysis responsibilities. (The Office o f the Assistant Secretary.E-2. but it can also be done through task forces that include personnel from other departments.

What sorts o f basic skills help analysts prepare for this diversity o f tasks? 1 BASIC PREPARATION FOR POLICY ANALYSIS Policy analysis is as much an art and a crafi as a science." Just as the successful portrait~st must be able to apply the skills of the crafi o f painting within an aesthetic perspective. the likely costs and benefits o f alternative solutions and communicate these assessments t o their clients. the analyst needs a perspective that includes governmentjiilure as well as market failure. I hese four categories o f functions show the great variety o f tasks that analysts are routinely called upon to perform. Chapter 10 focuses on the development o f these basic informational skills. and 7 analyze the various market failures and other rationales that have been identified. Sufficiency requires that the form o f the intervention not involve consequences that would inflict greater social costs than social benefits.pp. . organize."32 The term "firefighting" conveys the urgency of the task-analysts drop whatever else they are doing until the fire is put out! -. others extend for long periods. should be viewed as only necessary conditions for appropriate government intervention. Chapter 8 discusses the systematic ways that government interventions tend to lead to undesirable social The Art and Crafi o f Policy Analysis 3 3 ~ oan r excellent statement o f this vtewpoint. [the] Office of the Secretary prepare for a meeting with a key outside group tomorrow. But market failures. 385406. to helping . preparation in five areas is essential. Brown. Second.Someinvolve topics o f great fmiliarity. They must be able to develop strategies for quickly understanding the nature o f policy problems and the range o f possible solutions. When is it legitimate for government to intervene in private affairs? In the United States. . 1979). at least qualitatively. analysts must know how to gather. Identification o f these costs o f intervention is facilitated by an understanding of the ways collective action can fail. Some have short deadlines. The six chapters of Part II provide such a perspective. In order to integrate effectively the art and crafi of policy analysis. others present novel i r sues.Basic Preparation for Policy Analysis 41 staff because a key committee is preparing to mark up a bill. First. others are episodic. Some of these tasks are ongoing. such as greater equity in the distributions o f economic and political resources. In other words. Speoktng T r o h (Boston: Little. others require interaction with external analysts and decision make~s. the successful policy analyst must be able to apply basic skills within a reasonably consistent and realistic perspective on the role o f government in society. to Power: . analysts need a perspective for putting perceived social problems in context. 6. see Aaron Wildavsky. and communicate infonnation in situations in which deadlines are strict and access to relevant people is limited. They must also be able to identify. 5. the normative answer to this question has usually been based on the concept of market failure-a circumstance in which the pursuit o f private interest does not lead to an eficient use o f society's resources or a fair distribution o f society s goods. Chapters 4. or widely shared nonnative claims for the desirabili y of social goals other than eefciency. Some are internal to the analysts' organizations.

analysts must have an understanding o f political and organizational behavior in order t o predict. ina ail^. There are three reasons why a solid ground~ng In economics and statist~cs is important for the professional policy analyst: (I) the techniques o f these disciplines are often directly applicable to policy problems: (2) researchers who use economic models and statistical techniques are important sources of policy research-the abil~ty t o iriterpret the~r work is therefore valuable: and (3) analytical opponents may use or abuse these techniques-self-protection requires a basic awareness of the strengths and limitat~ons of the techniques. understanding the worldviews o f clients and potential opponents enables the analyst t o marshal evidence and arguments more effectively. Approaches t o the development o f professional ethics for policy analysts is the subject o f the next chapter. those readers who envision careers in policy analysis would the follow~ng be well advised t o take courses devoted t o these subjects. These chapters provide a "capital stock o f ideas for categorizing and understanding social problems and proposing alternative policies for dealing with them. analysts need technical skills to enable them t o predict better and to evaluate more confidently the consequences o f alternative policies. and government failure (Chapter 8). and statistics in chapters. Although w e introduce some important concepts from microeconomics. the subject of Chapter 12. Fourth. and in the case Cha~ter 15). Also. Therefore. the feasibility o f adoption and successful implementation o f policies. and perhaps influence. studies (es~eciallv a n i l y s t s ' ~ h o ~ lhave d an ethical framework that explicitly takes account o f their relationships t o clients. Analysts often face dilemmas when the private preferences and interests o f their clients diverge substantially from their own perceptions o f the public interest. W e assume that readers have a basic familiarity with democratic political systems. 34 . practical applications o f theories o f political and organizational behavior are ~ntegrated with subject matter throughout the text.34Even an introduction t o policy analysis. should include the basics o f benefit-cost analysis. The disciplines o f economics and statistics serve as primary sources for these skills. however. informationgathering skills (Chapter lo). but particularly in the context o f thinking strategically about attaining goals (Chapter 13). public finance. Third.62 What Is Policy Analysis? Chap. Chapters 15 and I6 illustrate the application o f benefit-cost analysis and related techniques. 2 outcomes: and Chapter 9 reviews generic policy solutions for correcting market and government failures.

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