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Module goal: master students will get accustomed to the main public policy
elaboration mechanisms.
Objectives set: At the end of this module, the master students must:

Identify the characteristics of a public policy

Identify public policy issues
Design a policy cycle
Analyze the elements of a public policy
Differentiate between the different types of structures associated with public

1.1 The concept of public policy: premises, definitions, interpretations.

Public policies represent an actuality subject of the Romanian administrations

reality. Public policy represents the defined manifestations and orientations of the state
authorities, as public powers, central or local, for essential fields or activities taking place
either at the national level, or at territorial-administrative levels; in other words,
political decision in favor of a certain desired stat, including the options in favor of
certain means considered adequate for reaching the objectives designed (L.G. Popescu,
In broad sense, public policy is that path of action adopted by a representative of
a public authority in order to solve a problem that reflects the interest of a community or
of a particular segment of society (R. A. Buchholz, Anderson, Bullock, Brady, 2004)
Stricto sensu, public policy represents a path of action in agreement with a public
interest, a process in which society (by means of its elected representatives) makes
decisions regarding the assignment of resources, in order to reach a goal.
Public policy is a path of action that is not confused with the intentions or
statements of intention regarding the achievement of a goal or with the political process
(through which is understood the process of organizing the individual effort in order to
achieve a collective goal, or to achieve an objective that individuals or groups of interests
find difficult to achieve by their own resources).
Categories of public policy may be:
laws or other regulations (institutional change measures);
organizational change measures;
measures for strengthening the institutional capacity;
programs and projects;

The public policy research field represents a border field between several
classical disciplines, such as political science, social psychology, legal or economic
sciences. The study of public policies represents the most recent direction of political
science. In what concerns the research techniques and methods, they are borrowed from
different social disciplines and adapted to the instrument needs for each separate study.
Until the 1960s, political science was not especially interested in the study of
what is happening within the government and in the study of government mechanisms.
The specialty studies were focused extensively on the electoral process, on the study of
the political organizations, on the analysis of the framework concepts in political science
etc. After the 1960s, interest grows for what is happening within the government; the
concern for increasing the efficiency of decision in matters of assignment of public funds
intensifies and, hence, the interest for studying the modalities in which the political-
administrative decisions are made. Since the 1980s, the discussions intensify in terms of
government reform, emphasizing the need for increasing performance in public funds
management, for improving the relationship between the State and the Citizen, between
the Government and Civil Society.
The field of public policies (research and analysis in the field) may be defined as
being concerned with the study of the political-administrative decisions regarding the
assignment of the different forms of resources (human, material, financial, know-how,
Public policies represent actions performed by the government (central or local)
as answer to the issues raised by the society/ local community.
By means of the public policy is targeted the behavioral change of individuals,
organizations and institutions.
Analyzing the definition above, a series of elements are derived, which give
substance to the concept of public policy1.
First of all, a public policy is formed by an ensemble of concrete measures, which
give substance to the public policy. The constitutive route of a public policy is marked by
different decisions.
Hence, a second element is given by the fact that a public policy is defined by
these decisions (forms of assigning resources), whose nature is more or less authoritarian,
but in which coercion is always present.
Thirdly, a public policy is circumscribed in a general action framework, which
allows us to distinguish between a public policy and simple isolated measures. In this
action frame, a public policy has established objectives and goals, depending on values,
norms and interests. This would be the fourth element.
And the last, the fifth, is given by the fact that a public policy has an audience,
meaning individuals and groups whose situation is affected by the decisions made in the
public policy in question.
The object of this discipline knows varied definitions, which, however, agree on
an essential aspect: public policies are the effect of the decisions made by the
In order to better understand this concept, we take into consideration the
following additional definitions.
According to the definition given by Thomas Dye, public policies represent all
that a government decides to do or not do. From the analysis of this definition it derives that:
Thoenig, Jean-Claude. In Traite de Science Politique coordinated by M. Grawitz and Jean Lecca, vol.
IV. PUF 1992
(a) The Public Policy Agent is the government; although the actions of the social
groups may, and certainly do, influence governmental decisions, the decisions and actions
of those groups are not public policies.
(b) Public policy implies the governments choice to intervene or not in the course of
an action. More difficult is the understanding of the concept of non-decision, meaning the
governments decision to not act or to preserve the status quo2. Ex: maintaining the level
of taxes.
A second definition discussed is that belonging to William Jenkins (1978):
public policies are a set of interrelated decisions, made by a political actor or by a
group of actors, regarding a series of goals and means necessary to be achieved in a
given situation.
According to this definition, public policies are decisions made by a government,
which define an objective and establish the means of reaching it.
A second very important aspect is that is makes the connection between the
government action and the perception of the existing problem or the necessary action.
This perspective of solving the problem is an important aspect of the definition
formulated by W. Jenkins.
Other specificities of the approach offered by W. Jenkins are the following:
public policy is interpreted as a process, unlike T. Dye in whose approach public
policies are governmental choices/options;
Jenkins also introduces the governments capacity to implement the decision,
which has a significant role through the fact that it may affect all types of
decisions undertaken;
W. Jenkins recognizes the governments limited capacity to have achievable
options in the area of a public policy;
The internal and external constraints represent an important challenge at the
governmental level;
The governments choice is limited by the lack of resources and/or
arrangements, agreements, international treaties and conventions;

Dye, Thomas R. "Understanding Public Policy Prentice-Hall, 2005
Jenkins introduces the idea of result-oriented policy, idea which refers to the
standards by means of which the public policies will be evaluated.
These definitions underline the key elements of public policy analysis: the
political decision, made by political actors, to use certain means in order to solve a
problem. Hereinafter we shall discuss each of these aspects: who makes the decision, how
is decided which problem must be solved and how the solution is formulated and which
the means that can be used are. The interest for discovering what is happening within the
government increases the concern for increasing the efficiency of decisions related to the
assignment of public funds and, hence, the interest for studying the manner in which the
political-administrative decisions are made.

1.2. Public policy problems

Older studies regarding the formulation of the public policy give less attention to
the problem nature and defining in public policy. Problems are considered given and the
analysis would start at this point. Why certain problems are solved, while others are
neglected? Why some problems are defined in one way, and others in a different manner?
Problem-defining helps in locating the power points within the political system. If a
problem is of an internal or external nature, if it represents a new situation or is a
consequence of a current public policy, if it is limited or wide as goal, all these contribute
to the modeling of the type of emerging public policy. In assessing the public policy
information is necessary regarding the substance and the dimension of the target-
problem, in order to precisely determine its efficiency.
For our goal, a public policy problem may be defined as that condition or
situation which generates needs or dissatisfaction, for whose correction the governmental
action is needed. Conditions such as polluted air, spoiled food, congestion in prisons,
urban agglomeration constitute situations which could constitute potential problems in
the conditions in which dissatisfaction and discomfort increase. The discomfort or
dissatisfaction degree (which imposes governmental intervention) is measures by people
in relation to a standard or a criterion; if they consider a certain situation as normal,
inevitable or under the own responsibility, no governmental action will be initiated
because the respective situation is not problematic.
Not every situation becomes a public policy problem:
o Situations do not transform into problems, except to the extent to which they are
perceived as such, articulated and brought to the attention of the authorities; this
type of action is frequently used by officials, parliamentarians looking for
o The situation becomes problematic if it identifies with a state intervention field,
for which a governmental solution is possible. Professor Aaron Wildavsky stated
that the authorities will rather ignore a problem, if it is not accompanied by the
afferent solution. Hurricanes and earthquakes cannot constitute problems, due to
their unpredictable nature, but the destructions caused constitute a public policy
problem and numerous programs for the diminishing of the destructions caused
by these natural phenomena have been initiated3.
The solving of the problematic situations can be targeted by persons other than the
direct beneficiaries. In the 1960s, poverty constituted a public problem, and the Johnson
administration started a war against poverty rather as a reaction to the journalists and
other officials actions than as a result of the poor peoples actions.
Although many problems continue to persist, their manner of defining modifies
together with the change of the values and conditions that generated them. Alcoholism is
probative in this sense.
In the 19th century, alcoholism represented a personal problem. In the first half of
the 20th century, alcoholism constituted the individuals answer to different pressures -
social, family etc., becoming a social problem for whose amelioration was
preponderantly recommended counseling and access to other social services. Recently,
alcoholism is considered an illness which requires medical treatment, covered, in some
states, by the health insurance. This medical definition reduces individual responsibility
and the afferent stigma.

Wildavschy, Aaron, Budgeting: A Comparative Theory of Budgetary Processes. Boston. Little, Brown,
Situations, considered normal at a certain moment, can transform in problems as a
consequence of the change in mentalities. Abuse in the family, which for centuries
constituted a personal problem, is today considered crimes.
Problem-defining is the result of a political process which determines, at the same
time, the adequate solutions. Access to the means of transport for the persons with
handicap represents a transport problem or a problem connected to human rights? Means
of transport especially destined for the persons with handicap constitutes the solution to a
transport problem. The human rights perspective implies equal access for persons with
handicap to the means of transport, respectively the equipping of the means of transport
with devices that allow persons with handicap to equally use the means of transport.
Causality represents a second face of the public policy problem. A situation can
transform into a problem, but what are the causes that generated the situations respective?
Many problems criminality, poverty, inflation and air pollution have multiple causes.
Inflation, characterized by the generalized price increase, measured by the consumption
price index, constitutes a public policy problem with multiple causes: sub-production of
goods and services, excessive demand for goods and services, too much money in
circulation, the result of psychological inflation (people expect prices to increase) etc.
In order to solve a problem, one must target the causes, not simply their
manifestations (symptoms), but, in many situations, the main causes are not easy to
identify or diagnose it. The identification of the causes of a problem and the negotiation
of a compromise with respect to them constitute not exactly easy tasks for policy-makers,
problem definition thus transforming into a separate problem.
The nature and purpose of many public policy problems are difficult to formulate
due to their diffuse or invisible character. Because measurement is often inadequate,
the policy-makers do not have a correct assessment of the situation of facts are in
impossibility to propose adequate solutions or even to perform any governmental action
in order to solve the problem. To these inaccuracies is also added the poor understanding
of the phenomenon causes. Other problems difficult to quantify are: violence against
children, illegal immigration, fiscal evasion etc.
Another aspect of the public policy problems refers to their capacity to be easy to
control/influence, some problems involving much more behavioral changes than others.
Control over problems is also conditioned by their tangible or intangible
character. Problems such as the scarcity of jobs or flawed project management can be
much more easily solved by increasing the resources and incentives the people or
agencies have at their disposal. Other problems, such as racism, inadequate professional
abilities are intangible, implying values.
The object of our study is constituted by public problems. Which are those
characteristics that distinguish a public problem from a private one? In general, there are
considered public those problems that affect a substantially high number of persons,
whose consequences are felt including by persons not directly involved.
The problems limited as effect, number of persons affected directly, are not of a
public nature.
Let us assume that a citizen is dissatisfied with the value of the amounts imposed
under the fiscal legislation in effect. As long as the respective citizen will act individually,
trying to obtain derogation from the law in his favor, from the fiscal bodies, we are
talking about a personal problem. Triggering an action to modify the legislation, by the
respective citizen, together with other persons directly or indirectly affected by the same
problem, transforms the personal problem into a public one.
The extent to which a situation or condition is perceived as a problem depends not
only on its objective dimension, but, to a large extent, on how people relate to the
respective situation. A rich person for whom finding a job has never been a serious
problem is not threatened by an increase of the unemployment rate, but even considers it
necessary in view of reducing the inflation rate. A worker for whom unemployment is a
threat will react negatively to such an increase. The perception of a person is influenced
by his/her own experiences, values and situations he/she finds himself/herself in. there is
no single way to define the problem, although many persons have opinions and
preferences towards a situation.
Many times, the different formulations of a problem compete for public
acceptance. If something particular represents a public problem or not depends on the
terms in which the problem was defined and on the acceptance of the definition proposed.
In addition, the terms in which it was defined and the causes that generated it determined
a promotion of those solutions considered adequate.
1.3. The cycle of public policy

The cycle of a public policy comprises six stages, represented in the figure below and
briefly analyzed here in after.

1. Problem identification occurs when an event, a person, a group are able to draw
attention to a problem, in order to be solved, by means of the intervention of the public
2. Placement on the political agenda is the stage during which the problem
identified is taken seriously in consideration by the officials (public and political power).
Not all problems identified reach the political agenda.
3. Formulation of the public policy framework when a certain problem is taken into
consideration by the officials, it does not automatically mean that a public policy will be
created. Someone (a certain authority) must develop a program which to refer to the
4. Adoption of a public policy here we refer to all efforts in order for a certain
program to be adopted as governmental program. In this stage there are concentrated the
elements of negotiation, dictated by interests, which may change the initial vision on a
public policy.
5. Implementation of a public policy it is a critical stage in the execution of a public
policy. Here the role of administration is decisive.
6. Evaluation of the public policy which as purpose to determine the efficiency of
a public policy. It is analyzed the manner in which the different activities have led to the
fulfillment of the initial goals.
The public policies cycles also received other conceptualizations. Here are two of them:
a) Stages of the policy cycle, according to Hogwood and Gunn (1984; 2000):
(1) To decide to decide (problem identification or agenda setting)
(2) To decide how to decide (problem filtration)
(3) Problem defining
(4) Prognosis
(5) Setting objectives and priorities
(6) Option analysis
(7) Policy implementation, monitoring and control
(8) Evaluation and revision
(9) Policy maintaining, succession and conclusion.

b) Stages of policy cycle, according to Brewer (1974):

1. Policy initiation
2. Alternative estimation
3. Option selection
4. Policy implementation
5. Policy evaluation
6. Policy end.

1.4. Actors and institutions involved in the public policy process

Depending on the different theories explaining public policies, attempting to

explain the manner in which a human society functions, there are several divisions of
these actors.
They can be the individuals, taken separately, or groups: social classes, different
social groups. Each of them has its own interests and the manner in which they interact,
the results of their efforts to achieve those interests, are regulated by institutional factors,
by the rules governing the political process.
Not the entire society is involved in the decisional process to the same extent.
Public policies are executed by the subsystems of the policies, which are composed of all
actors connected to a certain public problem.
The term actor includes both the actors within the state (ministries, commissions,
decentralized agencies etc.) and those within society (trade unions, NGOs, pressure
groups etc.), directly or marginally involved in the public policy process. One approach
claims that those participating directly to the public policy process may be considered as
the members of a network of the respective policy, while the actors involved merely
marginally can be considered as being part of a larger community of the respective public
The subsystems are forums in which these actors discuss the public problems,
negotiate and try to reach the best solutions for their interests.
The institutions are the rules that guide the behavior of the actors pursuing their
own interest. Stricto sensu, they can be defined as the structures and organization of the
state, society and international system. We can give a few formal organizational
characteristics: type of belonging of the members to the respective institution, the
operation rules and procedures, but also the principles, norms and values that define the
institutions, the last being considered informal characteristics.
As could be seen, the actors may be individuals or groups. Broadly, due to their
immense variety, we can group them into five large categories of actors: elected officials,
appointed officials (public servants), interest groups, research organizations and the mass
media. The first two categories are found in the state structures, while the last three, in
those of society, together forming the main elements from which emerge the members of
a specific public policy subsystem. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that these
groups are only approximations: they are not homogeneous; the individuals composing
them are different and may have different interests. Although this simplification through
which we look at an ensemble of individuals as a single actor may ease our effort to
understand the manner of running of the political process, it remains a simplification. The
modeling of this process closer to reality requires the taking into consideration in our
analysis the individual interests.
Elected officials
The elected officials (politicians) who participate in the public policy process may
be divided into two large categories: the executive and the legislative.
The Executive
The Executive, the cabinet or the government at the national level, is one of the
key players in the public policy subsystems. Its central role derives from its authority,
conferred by the Constitution, to administer the country. Although there are other actors
involved in the process, the authority to make and implement policies belongs to the
executive. In the parliamentary political systems (Great Britain, Germany, Japan), as long
as the government counts on a parliamentary majority, it is controlled on few occasions.
In the presidential systems (United States), although the executive must, many times,
convince the legislative assemblies, in order for them to approve its measures, there is
always a wide range of actions that the legislative cannot control.
Together with the constitutional prerogative, the executive has a sum of other
resources strengthening its position: control over information, control of the fiscal
resources, preferential access in mass media, and a bureaucratic apparatus at its disposal.
By means of these resources, it may manifest its control or influence on actors within
society, such as pressure groups or trade unions. In many countries, the executive may
control the legislative priorities and the adoption of laws.

The legislative

In the parliamentary systems, the task entrusted by the electorate to the legislative
is to supervise the actions of the executive, task which allows it to influence the
respective policies. Also with the help of the legislative a series of public problems can be
introduced on the governments agenda. An efficient control instrument is the budget
approval, although if the executive counts on the support of the parliamentary majority,
this instrument may be inoperable. The executive/legislative separation is not found only
at the level of the central administration, but also in the local administration. Although the
difference of political resources may not be so important, the executive is the main actor
here, as well.
Public servants
The appointed officials have as task to support the executive in the fulfillment of
its tasks, but, in reality, they can play a key role in the political process. Many of the
decision-making and implementation functions have been taken over by these public
servants from the executive.
Interests groups
An important role in the public policy process is played by the pressure groups.
One of their most important resources is knowledge or, more precisely, that information
which may be less or not at all available to other actors. Most times, the members of such
a group know in detail what is happening in their field of interest. And because the public
policy process is one that runs and processes a lot of information, it is to be expected that
the holders of this information play an important role.
Other resources held by the interest or pressure groups are of political and
organizational type. Many times, these groups financially contribute to the campaigns of
the parties or candidates coming to power.
Depending on their organizational resources, the impact on the formulation and
implementation of public policies varies considerably. The first difference is introduced
by the number of members the higher the number of members, the more we expect the
organization to have a greater influence on the decisions of the administration. On the
other hand, the groups with similar interests may associate with one another, being able
to have more power than if they would act individually. Thirdly, the groups having richer
financial resources can afford to employ professionals and to contribute to the parties
campaigns. Most times, the differences between the financial resources have special
Research organizations
Another important category of actors within society are the research
organizations, which can be located within universities or think tanks.
A think tank may be defined as an independent organization engaged in multi-
disciplinary research, with the goal of influencing public policies. Their researches
usually offer practical solutions to many public problems or look for arguments, proof for
supporting certain positions. The fact that their researches have practical finality and the
practicing of immediate partisan-like movement fundamentally distinguish these
organizations from the research centers within universities.
Mass media
The role of the press in public policies is controversial, opinions varying from
giving them an essential role to awarding them a marginal one. However, what is certain
is that the press is the primordial link between state and society, position which allows the
influencing of the administrations and public opinions agenda.
The role of the press in public policies resides in the fact that signaling problems,
it combines the role of the reporter (passive, who tell about and describes a problem) with
that of an analyst (active, who analyzes and offers solutions for a problem). Also from
here derives another characteristic: signaling and introducing certain public problems on
the administrations agenda.

1.5. Policy networks and the creation of public policies

In the first half of last century, many western countries witnessed the increasingly
significant intervention of the state in the economic and social processes, at the same time
with the increase of the influencing power of corporations and social groups on public
policies. This situation contributed to the development of new governmental institutions,
located at the interface between government and society, and whose missions target, on
the one hand, the representation of interests, and, on the other hand, the creation of
consensus. These forms of common governing are usually identified as corporatism.
During the last decades, corporatism disintegrated almost completely. This did
not mean, however, the canceling of the existing relations, with the mention that these
relations are less based on consensus than the previous corporatist relations were.
In contemporary society, more and more dynamic, diversified and interdependent,
and in which the complexity of the political processes is increasing, the relations are
reflected by conflicting interests.
The elaboration or implementation of public policies may be abandoned or, on
the contrary, accelerated, through direct involvement, participation and undertaking of
responsibility by groups and persons affected by the policies in question.
Societys exigencies, regarding the representation of the advantages of these
contradictory interests, led to the need to structure the government systems in a network.
These new governmental agreements established between the different interest
groups in society reflect, therefore, the movement from the traditional hierarchical
relations, between a governing center and a governed system, to new relations, much
more complex, and a multitude of interdependent centers.
The transformation of the traditional hierarchy into a network structure leads to
the creation of common places for formulating the problems and for finding solutions
within which a variety of ideas can be expressed.
In these true battlefields are involved a sufficiently high number of actors, each
representing different goals, visions and interests.
The participation degree and the action modalities of each actor participating to
the network are different, such as, in comparison to the unitary organizations or the
classical hierarchies, these structures are characterized by elasticity.
A more elaborated and more widely accepted definition of the concept is the one
formulated by Hufen and Ringeling (1990). They consider the systems structured in
network as being social systems in which the economic-social actors develop models of
interaction and communication which present a kind of permanence and which are
oriented towards the political problems and programs. In short, these systems may be
considered true governing structures.
The development of an efficient communication system between the groups
making the network leads to a potential gain for the act of governing, materialized not
necessarily in doing more, but, rather, in the ability to manage the challenges produced by
a complex, dynamic and often hostile environment.
The informational flow between the network elements is vital for making the
strategic directions efficient, and the informational systems are considered the main
network assets. Electronic communication and the reduction of remote communication
costs make possible rapid dialogue within the network, in all directions, as well as the
facility of transmitting messages from any point to all network members.
In this way there are created the premises for interaction between all network
actors, opportunity that is becoming closer to reality, as the network entities firmly
manifest in the direction of undertaking autonomy.
Gradually, the network center, even if in a certain stage held supremacy, can no
longer exercise a total control on the network entities. In these circumstances, governing
gains a wider sense, representing the political and collaboration effort of all actors in the
network, unlike the traditional model, in which government was considered the dominant
entity. This emphasizes the polemic regarding the position of the government,
respectively of central administration, in relation to the other network actors.
The polemic was clarified by a series of authors who reached the following
conclusion: similar to organizations, political networks can be seen as mixed structures of
vertical and horizontal interdependency. The expansion of the role of other actors
participating to the network does not imply the reduction of the administrations role, but
the development of additional decisional forms, as reply to the increase of complexity
and interdependence. In this context, the significance of the concept of decision
associated to a public policy gains particularly complex dimensions.
. In conclusion, governing must be interpreted, as underlines by Melisseu (1993),
as a system of processes in which the government plays an important, but variable role,
together with many other actors: owners organizations, trade unions, interest groups,
NGOs, professional associations etc.
The modern approaches conceptualize the formulation and implementation of
public policies as interactive processes with many players whose running and finalities
can be understood only through the prism of the information and power held by those
involved players.
A first observation, from the perspective of the network system, would be that the
entities involved interact not only during the process examined, but also before and after
the completion of the respective public policy.
A second observation refers to the fact that, many times, the entities interact also
in other fields. The recognition of the fact that the process of the developed public policy
is not the only stage of manifestation of the interaction between the players involved
facilitates the understanding of the connections between the activities and interactions
taking place within the policy process and which are, almost inevitably, induced by the
fact that they do not play a direct role in the interaction studied, but are connected to the
It can be established that certain organizations belonging to the network always
have a secondary role, but not without importance, being the source of the indirect
influences on the other entities in the network.
Finally, the last observation to be remembered refers to the advantage of this
structural form to be able of being used in order to direct attention to a wider
interdependency structure. Instead of assuming that influences manifest through direct
and noticeable interactions (either personal relations, or relations between the
representatives of the institutionalized interests), the approach from the perspective of the
network structure facilitates the examination of the manner in which an enlarged structure
has effects on the behavior of individual players, on the content of the decisions and
implementation efforts regarding the sectoral public policies.
In general, these observations explain why as a consequence of the interactions
between the network actors, the running and the result of a public policy may be different
from the predicted process.

1.6. Political power networks and authority.

Networks are real governance vehicles.4 In general, the manner of thinking

regarding the political representation in the liberal democratic societies takes into account
the notion of hierarchy associated to governmental institutions and which culminate with
Parliaments sovereignty. In other words there governmental local bodies, each of which
is subordinated to a higher level; there is a central governance apparatus, administrative
departments of the state, the Government itself, the Prime Ministers Chancellery, and,
finally, the sovereignty of parliament or legislature.
These central governmental institutions are organized hierarchically, with
complex relationships of subordination and super-ordination, but with a power Pinnacle
placed in the Parliament. The flow of power from top to bottom is parallel with an
upward flow of citizens representation, format that gives, ultimately, the legitimacy of
parliament to draft rules.
In traditional democratic theory, key concepts of representation and sovereignty
are mutually reinforcing. Citizens are divided into constituents under certain interests that
are represented in the legislative arena. Political parties are the instruments of these
mechanisms of representation, as mediators between citizens, their interests (all political
Stoker (1998) defines political governance as.... involved in the creation of the conditions for ordering
rules and collective actions.
parties declare themselves representatives and supporters of these interests), the
legislative arena, the government and the sovereignty of Parliament.
Against this traditional concept can be brought into focus some different and
maybe parallel mechanisms with the aid of which there can be revealed another aspect of
how governance is organized.
It mobilizes the notions of political networks involving elites, corporatism,
associative forms and NGOs. The current trend is that policies must be formulated either
through negotiations and arrangements, or by means of political networks by involving
the parliamentary committees/commissions and bureaucratic agencies backed by experts
and analysts specializing in policies or neo-corporatist consultations (concentration)
between government and the leading associations of the capital market, labor market or
of other societal interests. In addition, in certain regions or countries, important aspects of
socio-political governance were delegated to the negotiation between self-government
organizations and associations of providers and consumers of collective financial
services. The policies so-called in disagreement or of opposition represent a deliberative
alternative style of the organizational mode centered on NGOs.

1.7. Public policy networks

The two main types of policy networks identified in the specialty literature are:
community-specific policy networks (policy community) and sectoral policy networks
(issue network).
A policy specific to the issues of interest to a whole community, policy
community is characterized by a stable group of participants in interdependency relations,
co-existing within the borders of the network that builds a common system of values and
norms and which forms a strong, but closed community (or, in other words, people within
the community keep away those outside it).
Incremental changes are typical to this form in which predominant are the
stability of interactions and the strength of the configuration. Policy development is
divided into well-defined subsystems, which presuppose a limitation, but also a privilege
of participation.
The networks associated to a policy dedicated to a specific sectoral problem,
issues-networks, involve a much more open and fragmented structure. In this case, the
circle of political activists involved (including interest groups, representatives of
governmental and academic structures) is in constant change, the form losing the network
articulation around the ad hoc issues of the public involved and of the policy
development process.5
Fundamental change is much more likely in this context, and issues to be
addressed produce changes in the groups. Relations of power and dependence are diffuse
and the decision-making process is difficult to complete.6
Permanently, within these sectoral networks there manifests a tendency to
exercise negative coordination, in the sense of stopping those decisions that are perceived
as threats by the interest groups participating in the network. Frequently, it takes an
entity foreign to the network, an outsider (e.g., a research institute) or a significant active
mobilizer within the structure to stimulate decision-making and to convince the
participants to network to extract their benefits from cooperation, bypassing individual
competitiveness objections.
As aforementioned, organizing is difficult in those groups within the network that
raise many obstacles to cooperation. The situation is completely different in small, but
permanent and active groups, in which case the decision is much easier because these
groups are able to develop a common regulatory and cognitive orientation.
The two forms previously analyzed briefly constitute only a type of classification
of public policy networks; at present, another trend also manifests in describing these
structures of policies: pluralistic pressure; competitive pluralism; state corporatism;
pluralist corporatism; economic negotiation; clientele-focus; association: normalization
of professionalism.7
This explosion of epithets was in part the response to the weaknesses perceived in
relation to the duality of Community policy networks / sectoral networks (policy
community/issues networks.), which cover only a part of the public policy process, part
which rather ignores the public agenda, the distribution of power, the technological and

L.G. Popescu, Public policy, 2nd ed., Economica Publishing House, Bucharest, 2005, pp. 287-90.
L.G. Popescu, op. cit. pp234-39.
G.F. Thompson, Between Hierarchies and Markets, N.Y. Oxford: University Press, 2005, pp 152-53.
economic factors, the macro-institutional context and the explanation of the change-
related problems.
Another category of the forms mentioned brings to many of the sectoral networks
issues related to the state form and the macro potential of interest groups management by
adding a large set of contingencies in the structure of policy networks. From the
characteristics of this type of public policy network structure we mention:
o emergence of organized society or of collectivity organization-based
o tendency of sector-division in policy drafting;
o increase of mobilization of competitive interests leads to agglomerations
in policy drafting;
o increase of importance of policy goals can be achieved as a result of the
electoral budding which forces political parties to offer solutions to all problems;
o State decentralization or fragmentation; there are only a few objectives,
but an aggregation of the departmental interests.
o Permeability of the borders between public and private; policy drafting
tends to become the privilege of state factions and clientele interest groups.8
In this context, the whole process of public policy drafting is becoming
increasingly fragmented, transforming it into a system open to competitive interests,
which manifest such as their voice to be heard and their influence to be felt.
These systems involve complex and sometimes an unstable combination of
competition and coordination, negotiation and exercise of power, independence and
interdependence, consultation and exercise of political pressure. Even within the
governmental structure, inter-departmental coordination of semi-autonomous units placed
on the lower levels requires multilateral negotiations between participants rather than
hierarchical instructions sent by the executive heads. In addition, public services often
depend on the intergovernmental cooperation within the formally autonomous networks
or the de facto independent semi-public or private organizations.

Jordan, G. and K. Schubert, A preliminary ordering of policy network labels, European Journal of Political
Research 21 (1-2), 7-28, p.11.
In conclusion, there is a very wide range of policy networks approach, but
hereinafter we shall focus only on four of them: elites, corporatism, associative forms and
A financial-industrial oligarchy which manages the economic resources of a state
constituted an example that falls into the category of elites. Networks built of elites are
different from the democratic networks because the belonging to them is an inherited
matter. Elites have the role to express the emergence of problems related to the lack of
accountability of power within an important segment of social life. Elites may serve to
circumvent proper management of democratic policies, by organizing influence from
behind the scenes, bringing the own interests to undeserved attention before the decision-
makers, and so on. Elites are combinations of selected groups, numerically smaller,
members being held together based on loyalty and trust relationships. Belonging is
determined by birth or status, which confers to the network members a traditional,
hierarchical interpretation on the decision-making manner.
Hence, it can be established that the involvement of elites in policy theory could
lead to the postulation of a different kind of influence in the political arena. Elites are not
well integrated into an explicit analytical framework of policy networks because they are
not based on negotiated interests, but seem rather to return to an old form of political
organization, a form in which power and influence are transmitted through lineage or
based on merit conferred by wealth dimensions.
Corporatism is a political theory focused on the manner in which the large interest
groups the social partners - informally interact in order to regulate the central aspects of
social life. In this case become relevant the governments negotiations with small or large
industrial organizations, with the agricultural interests, the financial sector, trade unions
or important social groups (such as consumers or those involved in environmental
protection), to establish a modus vivendi whenever a major political or economic
problem occurs. Cooperation is generated by negotiation means and techniques between
the formally specialized actors and the recognized actors. As a result, actors in the system
must respect the interests of certain parties, on certain substantive goals and following
certain procedures agreed for future interactions. However, this procedure assumes that
parties must resist unilateral action and meet mutual obligations; otherwise the structure
could degenerate.9
Corporatism status is currently unclear. Some analysts consider it to be passed as
a form of governance typical for the inflexible and rigid operating management system in
the years 1970s-1980s, but which represented a step towards the neoliberal approach in
public policies specific to the 1990s. In reality, there may be revealed some advantages of
corporatism, at least those related to the economic performance in those states that were
closest to the organizational framework (mainly in Scandinavian countries).
Although after 1990 corporate arrangements have restricted their area of
distribution, still, they have left an important group of controversies. For example,
literature held those views that claim that they have survived and reinvented themselves
as social arrangements designed to protect those vulnerable segments of the population
and, consequently, in response to increasing insecurity and uncertainty associated with
globalization or under the conditions of the revitalization process of diversifying regional
In conclusion, it is possible the manifestation of a revitalization of the economic
neo-corporatism form and, therefore, the governance macro networks, after 1990, became
dominant in the smaller or more vulnerable European states.
The associative forms
The associative form represents the most pluralist version of corporatism, in
which people invest their political beliefs, energies and sovereignty. 10 The idea that there
is a single dimension of sovereignty, organized along hierarchical lines, may be
considered a real challenge. Moreover, by means of the associative forms is emphasized
the dispersion of sovereignty and the representative mechanisms that support it. From this
perspective, sovereignty is dispersed over a series of political organizations in which
every individual can represent their belief.
These organizations represent the private interests existing in any society. This
form is promoted as a model for a particular type of negotiation of the state, which
M., Theacher The development of policy network analyses: From modest origin to overarching
frameworks, Journal of Theoretical Politics 10(4), 1998, pp. 389-416.
J. Hollingsworth, P.C. Schmitter, and W. Streeck, Governing Capitalist Economies: Performance and
Control of Economic Sectors, N.Y. Oxford: University Press, 1994, pp.89-110.
involves the articulation of associations of volunteers which self-govern in a power
macro-structure, called by Paul Hirst associative democracy11.
With this model, the semi-autonomous associations democratically organized run
their business in the interests of their own members and are conditioned by the
interventions they may have on legislation. This is not hierarchically organized and
coordinated directly, meaning that political choice is not the unilateral prerogative of
authoritys hierarchy, but is dependent on a constellation of policy preferences negotiated
between the network members.
In addition, this conception opens governance to private interest towards public
accountability, partly as a consequence of ensuring public harmony, on the basis of which
these associative forms deliver a certain level of public services to their members, and
from another perspective it represents the way in which the state-law acts as last court,
which intervenes and judges disputes between private associations12.
Non-Governmental Organizations
NGO networks represent another kind of elite and manifest influence over
NGOs are essentially private interest associations, some of them engaged in
propaganda campaigns and focused on some specific purposes. The objective of this type
of network is to change public policies generally by mobilizing public opinion and
exerting pressure from outside the already established framework of public policies.
There can be emphasized two key aspects of NGOs activity. The first issue
concerns the problem of its legitimacy, and the second refers to the effectiveness and
fairness expressed by NGOs in areas where they concentrate their activity.
From this perspective, NGOs face a real dilemma: they can remain outside the
political current and succeed, however, to put pressure on policies or they should
cooperate and become part of the policy network? In fact, the problems or dilemmas
faced by NGOs are the same faced by all other networks presented.
But that is the way of organizing decision-making in these types of structures?
The answer to this question is quite controversial. First, there is a view that networks are

P.Q. Hirst, Associative Democracy: New forms of Economic and Social Governance, Cambridge: Polity
Press, 1994.
G. Thomson, op.cit.p157.
not, fundamentally, different from other institutional mechanisms through which business
is conducted. Networks involves different powers and authorities in terms of those agents
and participants who are members of the network, so they are all are equally involved in
the development of power or authority. All negotiation modalities can be used in this
structure: intelligence, cunning, persuasion skills, development of talent and abilities to
conclude alliances etc. However, the outcome cannot be predicted in advance despite the
fact that there are a number of advantages in comparison with other structures, in case of
network power being possible to be used in order to obtain results in their own interest.
On the other hand, there is the idea that these structures are fundamentally
different from other institutional mechanisms. In this case, consensus, cooperation and
ethical collaboration are arguments for cooperation. Contrary to what seems to be a kind
of flattening for political representation, in this framework manifest organizational
plurality and associative forms.

Mandatory bibliography
Birkland, T. A. (2005). An Introduction to the Policy Process: Theories, Concepts, and
Models of Public Policy Making. Second edition. M.E. Sharpe: Armonk, New York. Ch. 1
pp. 3-24; Ch. 2 pp. 25-51; Ch. 6 pp. 138-155
Adrian Miroiu, Introducere in Analiza politicilor publice, Politeea Publishing House,

Recommended Literature
L.G. Popescu, Administraie i politici publice, Economic Publishing House, 2006
Helen Wallace, William Wallace i Mark A. Pollack, Elaborarea politicilor n
Uniunea European, 5th ed., Oxford University Press, 2005
The Oxford Handbook of Public Policy, ed. by Michael Moran, Martin Rein, Robert
Goodin, Oxford University Press, 2006
Grahame F. Thompson, The Logic and Limits of Networked Forms of
Organization, OXFORD University Press, 2003.
Thomas R.1998.Understanding Public Policy. Prentice-Hall Inc.
Torgerson, D. (1995) Policy Analysis and Public Life: The restoration of Phronesis?
In Political Science in History: Research Programs and Political Traditions John S.
Dryzek (Editor), James Farr (Editor), Stephen T. Leonard. pp. 225-252

Module goal: The master students will get accustomed to the main models of
policy analysis.

Objectives set: At the end of this mode, the master students must:
Identify at least three models of elaborating public policies
Analyze a policy using one of the models presented in the reading
2.1. Public policy analysis.

There are many definitions that specialty literature mentions with respect to the
analysis of public policies. For example:
Public policy analysis is a means to synthesize information including
research results to produce a format specific to public policy decisions (exhibit of
alternative choices) and to determine future needs for relevant information in
public policies13
Public policy analysis is a social science applied discipline which uses
multiple methods of inquiry and argument to produce and transform information
relevant to public policies, which can be used in political environments in order
to solve public policy problems14
Public policy analysis is a client-oriented advice relevant to public
decisions and taking into account social values15

David L. Weimer and Aidan R. Vining, for the purpose of a deeper understanding
of public policy analysis, compare public policy analysis with other five
paradigms: 1) academic research in social sciences; 2) planning; 3) traditional
public administration; 4) journalism. The result of this comparison is shown in
Tab. 2.1

Table 2.1. Public policy analysis in perspective

Important Client Common Time Weaknesses
Walter Williams, Social Policy Research and Analysis, New York, American Elsevier Publishing
Company, 1971, p. XI,
William N. Dunn, Public Policy Analysis, Englewood Cliffs, N.Y.: Prentice Hall, 1981, p. XI
David L. Weimer, Aidan R. Vining, Analiza Politicilor Publice-concepte i practic, 3rd ed., ARC
Publishing House, 1999
objective style constraints
Academic To built theories The truth, as Rigorous Rarely, temporal Often irrelevant
research in in order to defined within methods for the exterior for the
understand the discipline; creation and constraints information need
social society other testing of of the decision
sciences researchers theories factors

Public To foresee the Actors on the Application of Sometimes, Difficulties in

policy impact of political stage: formal pressures transforming the
changes in related methodology imposed by findings in
research variables which disciplines for relevant deadlines, governmental
can be changed policy public probably actions
by public problems moderated by
policies the problem
Classical To define and Professionally Rules set and Low immediate Projective
planning achieve a defined public professional time pressure thinking of plans
desirable future interest norms: because when the political
state of society specification of everything refers processes are
goals and to long term ignored
objectives future
Traditional To efficiently Public Managerial and Time pressure Expansion of the
public execute the interest legal related to routine alternatives
programs manifested in an decisions, such exterior to the
administration established by authorized as budgetary program
the political program cycles
Journalism To contribute to General public Descriptive Strong pressure Lack of analytical
the of deadlines, depth and balance
concentration of especially when
public attention the problem is
on societys current
Public To perform Specific person Synthesis of Strong pressure Myopia resulting
policy systematic or institution as existing of deadlines in client-
comparisons and decision factor research and completion of orientation and
analysis assessments of theories in the analysis time pressures
the alternatives order to foresee usually
offered to actors the connected to
public for consequences specific
solving societys of alternative decisions
problems policies
Source: David L. Weimer, Aidan R. Vining, Analiza Politicilor Publice-concepte i practic, 3rd
ed., ARC Publishing House, 1999, p. 34.

Academic research has its own interior constraints: the elaboration of

theories acceptable in the respective scientific community. Of course, sometimes,
the ideas developed in the university world may have an important role in
changing the decision-makers image regarding society or one of its fields, but it
has no direct relevance on the specific decisions.
Classical planning represents a reaction to the disorder and myopia
resulted from the specific behavior on the private market and the pluralist
governments. The general approach to planning is primarily: 1) clearly specifying
the objectives and goals that will contribute to a better society and 2) determining
the effective achievement of objectives.
Weaknesses of planning that the two authors bring to the forefront are: (1) the
difficulty of specifying appropriate goals and objectives and (2) collecting and
processing information for general guidance and monitoring of economic agents.16
The public policy planning process is quite controversial, in the
contemporary world. Relations between policies and planning are tense because,
according to some authors, policies and planning are opposite activities. There are
also views that the two cooperate and support each other. The emphasis of the
link between public policy process and planning involves re-putting into
discussion a fundamental issue, namely the conditioning between the empirical
and normative approaches. The rrelationship between planning policies and is, in
conclusion, the object of a debate regarding society planning, in which famous
authors were involved to a considerable extent.
K. Mannheim argues that on the basis of a new manner of thinking,
interdependent thought, planning for freedom may be designed such as to allow
the eluding of the negative effects of policy laissez-faire and to allow the
democratic process. Philosopher K. Popper strongly reacts to this point of view.
According to K. Popper's beliefs, social reality is too complex to be
included in a project. Current knowledge is insufficient to steer social reality.
After the Second World War, in many Western countries was perfected a
complex governmental social reality planning system, in which the tensions
between policies and planning were kept under control. Building a national

David L. Weimer, Aidan R. Vining, Analiza Politicilor Publice-concepte i practic, 3rd edition, ARC
Publishing House, 1999,
planning system does not presuppose the reduction of importance of the political
decision. In the contemporary world, becomes increasingly obvious the demand
for performance in the coordination of the growing number of governmental
policies, but also for the existence of a professional support for the governmental
policy process. The relationships between different types of policies are
increasingly difficult to manage. Policies seem to be counterproductive and even
From the perspective of these arguments, a national planning system should
Sectoral planning, focused on specific, sectoral, tasks of government.
Sectoral planning has a mainly technical aspect, for example building
housing or road infrastructure;
Planning implications, focused on general aspects of Public Policies of
government, across sectors (and ministries) and which seeks to integrate
different sectoral policies in a specific perspective. Planning economic
policies are an example of this type of planning;
Integrated planning attempts to synthesize sectoral and general planning.
Integrated planning is based on an overview of the future development
of society.
T. Parsons introduces the notion of action system, different as
organizational plurality from the action directions. In its turn, it is composed of
three relatively independent sub-systems:
personality (organized system of guidance and motivation of the action
performed by an actor);
interdependency (in case of actor plurality) or the social system defined
as differentiated and integral interaction derived from inter-individual
Culture or system cultural (as a sum of preponderantly traditional
symbolic operas and forms), which constitute the object and the element
of action guidance, without being an action system in itself.
Parson distinguishes, therefore, several systems: personality, the social
system and the cultural system, between which the connection is made not within
society, but by means of a higher (supra-ordinated) system, the action system,
which, in the final analysis, is an extra-sociologic concept.
The idea of the action system was developed by Crozier and Friedberg
by going to the expression system organization. The authors define action system
as being a "structured human ensemble, which coordinates the actions of its
participants through relatively stable game mechanisms and maintains its
structure, i.e. stability of the games and of their relations through adjustment
mechanisms, which, in fact, constitute other games17
The problematic of action systems is a generalization in terms of open
system and above the formal organization of the problematic. Aforementioned
authors argue that "organizations are placed at the end of a continuum of concrete
action systems, whose degree of formalization, of structuring the participants
consciousness and of human responsibility openly undertaken differs, and the
adjustment manner may vary from the unconscious adjustment of the action
system to the conscious adjustment of a perfect rationalist organization18.
Administration must, therefore, learn to cope with current demands due
to the speed of social change, in which communication and the information flow
represent vital elements. The supporting of this view is ensured through the
creation of new, flexible structures, which to facilitate the orientation towards the
Maintaining traditional bureaucratic structures leads, in the short term, to
failure both in solving the current problems, and in solving the strategic ones.
Structural redesign aims mainly to "transform traditional formal
structure, hierarchical, rigid, inefficient and costly in a variety of agents
entrusted, in a specific area, with the optimization of public interventions

Crozier M and Friedberg E, Lacteur et le systme Seuil, 1977, p. 246
Crozier M and Friedberg E, op. cit., p. 251
Massenet M., La nouvelle gestion publique, Hommes et Techniques Publishing House, Paris, 1975.
The abandonment of the static, monolithic structures, dominated by a
single organizing principle has become an imperative goal for the effective
functioning of the government systems, as the pressures exercised by an
increasingly turbulent environment became more acute.
For example, faced with difficulties in formulating a strategic response
to the U.S. Ministry of Defense, McNamara gave up the traditional bureaucratic
structure in favor of a sophisticated planning-programming budgeting (SPPB).
Traditional public administration is outside the actual sphere of
politics. Administrative issues are not political issues. Although the policy
outlines the tasks for administration, we should not accept that it also controls the
functioning of administration" was stating Woodrow Wilson referring to the basic
premises of administration.20 According to these arguments, management is totally
separated from politics; respectively, the ends are completely distinct from the
means. The goals, it is argued, are established by the political factor: elected
representatives are the ones who determine objectives, where we must reach.
Public servants must only find the most efficient means to reach those goals: they
do not propose governmental programs, policies, but only apply (or administer)
The complexity of modern public administration makes this model to be
today little adequate to reality. In the practice of policy formulation, it is not
possible to make a firm clear distinction between setting the goals and choosing
the means. Then, the increased role of government makes such that in formulating
alternatives, in comparing and selecting them, in the application of policies, the
civil servants have an increasingly significant role. Finally, the growing
professionalization of public administration increased the role of specialized
expertise in the process of making public policies, and a large part thereof is
supplied by the civil servants. These transformations are already incorporated into
the "new" public administration, also called "public management.
In this new paradigm of understanding of public administration, policy
analysis is an important component of training civil servants. The effects of these
Woodrow Wilson, The Study of Administration, in Political Science Quarterly, vol. 2, no. 1, 1887, p.
197-222, quoted in David L. Weimer, Aidan R. Vining, op.cit., p. 39.
aspects on change are very subtle because these officials are known as initiators
and managers of change at different levels of system.
Hence, where the political and the senior civil servant careers are integrated, the
image can be created that access to high positions is much easier through than by
choosing a path distinct from the political one.
It is the case of the system of bodies in France, in which the political and the
public servant careers are quite close. In the French system, in which careers are
integrated, the issue of responsibility regarding transformation may re-emerge at
the lower levels of the hierarchy, where public officials feel good and safe
politicizing their duties, according to the model of the high officials belonging to
large bodies. This behavior represents a quite high danger, firstly, for the
implementation process and secondly, for the design of the transformation
The second dimension that of politicization of the jobs, adds an extra
difficulty to the change-implementing process. A huge difference is created
between these pampered public servants (frequently called mandarins in the
specialty literature) and the level on which they are placed. Sometimes, in
extremis, a new political executive involves replacing all these civil servants,
which creates instability in the change process.
Germany and Finland offer moderate cases of politicization, in which
the political affiliation of officials is important, but changing executive does not,
necessarily, presuppose the complete change of the old staff and the replacement
of the mandarins.
In case of Finland, governments are generally coalitions and the style is
consensual, which confers the necessary stability for public sector transformation.
Great Britain is a special case in this regard: few engagements in
political parties are made to access public services, which represents a benefit for
continuity and for the accumulation of knowledge. In other words, in Great
Britain, the ministerial and the public official careers are almost completely
2.2. Public policy analysis and democracy

Traditionally, public policies analysis focuses on the efficiency and the

effectiveness with which the policy objectives are achieved. Policy analysis
assesses both the relation between the means employed and the results achieved,
and the role of government vs. market. Political feasibility, policy accountability
to the citizens, the assessment of the ways in which policies are built such as to be
agreed and the manner in which the implementing agencies inter-relate to the
other players are aspects considered in policy analysis.
Efficiency, effectiveness and political feasibility are not representative
from the point of view of expressing the public policy - democracy ratio.
Dryeck (1996, 1997) reveals that democratic governance largely
represents the efforts of expanding the franchise, the goal and authenticity of
The franchise refers to the number of participants to the setting of the
public policy directions. The goal defines the fields under democratic political
control. Authenticity is the degree in which democratic control is substantial,
informed and competent (Dryeck, 1997). The expansion of any of the concepts
indicated should not take place to the detriment of the others. For example, the
franchise expansion, meaning of the number of participants in the debate on the
future orientations, affect authenticity. In figure 1.1 are shown ways in which the
public policy content may influence the nature of democracy.
Problem classification Public debate arenas

Social construction Identity and

of targets orientation of citizens
Public policy goal and
elements authenticity and
Implemetation/ Citizenscommitment
construction of and support democracy

Information and Responsibility


Figure no. 1.1. The conection between designing a public policy and democracy
Source: Helen Ingram and Anne I. Schneider, Policy Analysis for Democracy, n The
Oxford Handbook of Public Policy, 2006, pp. 173

The central issue of the representation of the previous figure consists in

the fact that policy analysis should examine the manner in which the elements of
policy affect impact definition, implementation and information/transparency,
and, thereby, the opportunities offered to the citizens. Policy analysis must also
consider these relationships, in order to understand the impact of policies on
democracy and if we want to design policies that better meet the needs of a
democratic society.
The need to relate policy analysis to the relations configured in figure
no. 1 underline the importance of avoiding two potential traps, namely:
restricting policy analysis only to the interpretation of outputs and/or
outcomes from the perspective of inputs (citizen demand, support,
resources) as if a public policy would be similar to a black box;
Considering public policy as an extension of culture or of public
The ways in which public policy elements (objectives, target groups,
implementation structures, rules, and instruments) are configured in the policy are
detailed below.

1. The creation of public debates arenas

Mature democracy regimes are characterized by the existence of such
forums where citizens can and should be required to confront public policy issues
that affect them, either directly or indirectly. In such forums, citizens are
encouraged to participate not only from the perspective of customers or interest
groups, but also as citizens who can incorporate other points of view in their own
civic discovery of what constitutes collective welfare21 .
The sstereotypical idea that the decision-making process starts with a
problem and automatically will end with a decision, taken during a uniform
process, which goes through several phases (analysis, development of alternatives
and systematic comparison of alternatives), is not confirmed by reality.
Moreover, a process does not progress in a linear way, from problem to
solution. The linear and uniform image of the decision-making process was
replaced with that of a spiral process. A loop of the spiral ends at a certain
moment, with a temporary result, including with winners and losers. On the next
level of the spiral, the losers will try to overcome failure and, sometime, the
process can be extended by accepting new players.
In other words, the decision on the solution is the result of interaction of
a variety of political phenomena, in which the existing policies must also be
included. The different definitions of public policy issues fix public discourse in a
certain context and cause the participation of certain categories of
participants/actors, but also a certain type of institutional response.
Once the problem is fixed, in a certain framework are set different
boundaries of interest and jurisdictions. For example, school dropout is a problem
pertaining rather to the level of living than to education. If this problem is treated
Helen Ingram and Anne I. Schneider, Policy Analysis for Democracy, in The Oxford Handbook of Public
from the perspective of the school, then the public discourses will revolve around
the inability of the educational system to motivate children enough so that they do
not abandon school. If, on the contrary, the problem is approached as a direct
consequence of poverty, public speeches and hence the actors participating in the
debates will be completely different from the first version.
Therefore, the creation of arenas for public debates presupposes the
participation of citizens in actions meant to influence political decisions.
Citizen participation is the process by which the citizens concerns,
needs and values are incorporated in the public decision-making process within
local public administration.22
Most of the measures by which citizens were allowed access to public
information are a direct result of the public demand for greater accountability of
the governance act. The aadoption of these measures expresses the citizens
refusal to accept decisions and public policies behind closed doors or governance
through declarations, namely that act of governance in which decisions are made
in the absence of public consultations.
The absence of decisional transparency, together with other
shortcomings of the regulation activity, leads to the low trust of society in effect
and the importance of normative acts. The absence of consultations makes rules to
be frequently changed or replaced, which causes a strong legislative instability
and does not offer the safety necessary for the legal framework existing in
Romania. The real application of the principle of transparency can lead to greater
confidence in the laws and regulations since they were adopted in consultation
with the stakeholders. Confidence in the legal framework will result in a greater
degree of compliance with positive impacts on economic development and on
maintaining cooperative relationships between government and citizens.
Accordingly, the draft laws are subject to the Transparency Law. The only
category of normative acts which are not subject to the Law transparency are the

For details, see Eric Chewtynd and Frances Chewtynd, Participarea ceteneasc pentru mbuntirea
procesului decizional n administraia public local, Research Triangle Institute Assistance Programme
for the Public Administration in Romania, Bucharest, 2001.
legislative proposals drafted by members of the Parliament and submitted by them
before the House in which they activate.
Normative acts may cover new situations or may be acts amending,
supplementing or replacing the existing ones. By law, all citizens must be
consulted on draft regulations issued or written by public authorities, with few
In cases which, due to exceptional circumstances, call for immediate
solutions, in order to avoid serious prejudice to public interest, there is established
the possibility to adopt regulations without following a consultative process. This
regulation may prove useful in crisis situations. In case of an earthquake, for
example, the Government may issue decisions that limit the effects of the disaster.
Due to limited reaction time available, a consultation process cannot take place.
Transparency Law is several times stating that the views expressed by
citizens and organizations during the consultations have only the value of
recommendation. The decision is up to public authorities. The legal document
will be sent, after consultations, for review and approval, according to legal
procedure for drafting laws. It will include changes drafted based on those views
expressed in the consultation process, which were selected by the public servants
responsible for drafting the respective act.

Participation in processes regulated by Transparency Law

In order to influence decisions or regulations, people can participate
either individually, as citizens, or organized in what the law calls legally
constituted associations. The law does not limit in any way the access to the
mechanisms provided by this, anyone having the right to participate, regardless of
what interest he/she represents.
Citizens can participate in processes regulated by transparency law
irrespective of race, nationality, ethnic origin, language, religion, sex, political
affiliation, opinion, wealth or social origin.
Organizations can also participate through their representatives.
Transparency law entitles to participation only the "civic representation"
organizations, i.e. the non-governmental organizations, the trade unions and other
legally recognized non-profit organizations. The non-governmental organizations
are the associations and foundations regulated by Ordinance no. 26/2000, as
amended by Ordinance 37/200323.
The mechanisms of this law cannot be directly used by trading
companies, cooperatives, agricultural associations, political parties. They may
intervene either by means of individuals (such as owners, members, managers) or
through non-governmental organizations created to represent the interests. A point
of view can be supported by a person, an unincorporated association, a non-profit
legal person or a coalition.

Participation in the elaboration of normative acts

Sources of information for citizens on draft laws submitted for
ad on the website of the public institution;
ad displayed in a publicly accessible area of the institution headquarters;
mass-media, if it takes notice sent by the respective institution

By law, participation in the development of legislation may be in the

process of drawing up a draft bill, prior to submission for review and approval to
the public authority which elaborated it. Citizens have available a limited time
established by the public authority and published in the original announcement.
This period may not be less than 10 days from the date of publication of the
The ccomments, provided by law as "proposals, suggestions, opinions
with recommendation value", will be received by a person specially appointed by
the head of the public authority.
Another way of consultation, in addition to communication through
written comments, is the organization of public debates. Public debate may be

For details, see Marieta Avram, Marian Nicolae, Horaiu Dumitru, Bogdan Dumitrache, Ghid legislativ
pentru organizaiile neguvernamentale din Romnia, APADOR-CH, Bucharest, 2002.
requested in writing by a legally constituted association or another public
authority, and public authority which initiates the draft law is obliged to organize
The debates will take place within at most 10 days from the publication of the
notice regarding their organization. The law does not provide a modality of
organizing and structuring these public debates.
The term public debate was used in Romania to describe a public
meeting which provides a formal opportunity for information exchange. For
example, public debates provided an opportunity to exchange information on the
topic of the planned budgets of the town hall. Sharing some of the characteristics
of meetings and public hearings, public debates are to some extent a unique
format in Romania, which proves to serve very well the community needs in this

2. Citizen identity and orientation

Public opinion, in the European context, manifests quite critically with

respect to the governance process, including regarding the public policies.
Governments ability to carry out the objectives proposed through the policies
undertaken is increasingly questioned by citizens. In this sense, the lack of
confidence in nationally representative institutions is more pronounced and is
dynamic is negative.
The New Euro barometer reflects the difficulties of this period. No
doubt, citizens are extremely worried about the economic crisis. The challenge
the European Union is facing continues to act in terms of the economic recovery
package, which has been recently adopted. It is noteworthy that the figures
reflecting the support to the European Union membership and the perceived
benefits arising from this quality have not decreased. These data suggest the
population apprehends the European Union as part of the solution, said Margot
Wallstrm, Vice-President of the European Commission (November 2008).
Expectations of European citizens about their future are particularly
pessimistic. More than half of the citizens consider that the situation in their
countries will be worse in the next 12 months, while 41% share the same opinion
on the entire European Union and 49% believe that this is true globally. 37% of
EU citizens consider the economic situation as the main problem in their states,
and the maintaining of the same level of inflation represents a problem that has
become the main reason for concern.
The three main indices that measure attitude towards the European
Union, namely: support of the Union by the member states (53% +1), benefits
resulted from the quality of Union member (56%, +2) and the image of the
European Union (45%, - 3) - are either stable or in slight descend, compared to
the spring of year 2008.
At the same time, trust in European institutions is relatively stable -
European Commission - 47%, European Parliament - 51% and 48% Central Bank
- although the current trend shows a slight increase distrust even in those
The second component is related to the trust of Romanian citizens in the
national institutions. In aceti termeni, ultima perioada interesului public n
instituiile naionale. Eurobarometer 68.2 reveals the following values for the
period 2007-2008:
2007 2008
Trust in the 24% 18%
Trust in the 27% 21%
Source: Eurobarometer 68.2. Public Opinion in the European Union

This demonstrated profound distrust of citizens expressing their refusal

to accept further public policy made behind closed doors.
It is important to remember that public policies aim at much more than
the supply of services or the implementation of objectives. By public policies,
after all, is intended the behavioral change of citizens, organizations and
institutions. It follows, further, that the importance of policies resides in the fact
that they are carriers of messages.
Ways through which the different categories of citizens are treated by
means of policies - whether their views on a particular issue are acknowledged as
legitimate or, conversely, are ignored; if they represent a target that is going to
have benefits or losses; the conflicts the different categories of citizens may
develop in their interaction with the implementation agencies all these are
democracy-related lessons (Schneider and Ingram 1997, Esping-Andersen 1990,
The messages whose carriers are public policies have significant
consequences in the construction of the relationship with the citizens and in the
reconfiguration of the role of government (Mettler and Soss, 2004). However, we
do note that sometimes these messages have a positive dimension for only certain
categories of citizens, while for the other categories the meaning of the message
may be negative.

The main conclusions that can be drawn from the comparative analysis
of agendas in this presentation are as follows:
1. Reducing inefficiencies public policy agenda presupposes the congruence
between the parliamentary and public agendas.
2. The concept of policy congruence cannot be brought into discussion
expect in the situation in which the congruence between the citizens
priorities and the governmental activity is evident.
3. Although priorities of the public and of the Parliament may be similar, the
place where these priorities are placed is different, in a manner that
suggests multiple opportunities to influence the parliamentary agenda by
forces other than public opinion.
4. Accountability

The assessment of the effectiveness of public officials' or public

structures results ensures that they performed their full potential, provided added
value in public services, contributed to increasing confidence in the government
and are responsible for the community they represent.
The concept of accountability can be classified according to the type of
accountability exercised and / or the person or group or public officials
responsible. The content of the various forms of accountability, such as the
current debates reveal, is best conceptualized by reference to opposing forms of
accountability. Thus, the main forms of accountability are described hereinafter
(Donald G. Lenihan, KTA Centre for Collaborative Government, John Godfrey,
Member of Parliament, Tony Valeri, Member of Parliament, and John Williams,
Member of Parliament What is Shared Responsibility? Policy, Politics and
Governance, Volume 5, 2003)

Horizontal vs. vertical accountability

The dominant point of view is that accountability institutions, such as

the Parliament and the judiciary, provide what represents, in common terms,
horizontal accountability or the ability of a network of relatively autonomous
powers which can ask questions and, possibly, punish the improper manner by
which an official is discharged of responsibility (Donald Lenihan, Director of
CCG and Tony Valeri, MP for Stoney Creek Policy, Politics, Governance, Vol. 2,
In other words, horizontal accountability represents the ability of state
institutions to control abuses of governmental agencies and departments and of
Alternatively, vertical accountability is the means by which citizens,
mass media and civil society seek to strengthen the performance standards that
officials must comply with. While Parliament is considered a key institution in the
construction of horizontal accountability, it is also important for vertical
Citizens and civil society can seek support from elected representatives
so that they intervene in cases of incorrect or inadequate actions triggered by
government. In addition, by calling public meetings, committees of inquiry and
public petitions Parliament can become a vehicle for the "public voice" but also a
means by which civic groups can question the government and may ask its
sanctioning by the Parliament in certain cases. (Donald Lenihan, Director of CCG
and Tony Valeri, MP for Stoney Creek, Policy, Politics, Governance, Vol. 2, 2003)

Political accountability versus legal accountability

Parliament and Justice act as a horizontal constitutional control on

executive power. The role of these two institutions may be limited in the sense
that Parliament "keeps" the political accountability of the Government, while
Justice "keeps" the legal accountability of the executive (Bovens, M. 2005. Public
Responsibility. In Ferlie, Ewan. Laurence E. Lynn, Jr. &Christopher Pollitt (ed). The
Oxford Handbook of Public Management. Oxford: Oxford University Press)
This sharing of responsibility derives from the fact that Parliament is a
political institution while Justice can only pertain to the legality issues of the
actions. Together they provide a continuous surveillance to "keep" Government
accountable. They can also be helped by other institutions, such as the audit
institutions, the institution of the ombudsman and those for the observance of
human rights, the Court of Accounts.
In particular, secondary institutions "autonomous of responsibility" are
created so as to be independent of the executive (Goetz, A.M. & J. Gaventa. 2001.
Bringing Citizen Voice and Client Focus into Service Delivery. Brighton, Sussex: IDS
Working Paper No. 138.)
Political accountability manifests, usually, through the concept of individual
ministerial accountability, which is the true touchstone for government

Another perspective on vertical versus horizontal accountability

A minority of commentators distinguish by different views about vertical

and horizontal accountability. The concepts of vertical, respectively horizontal
accountability are based on the relationship between the parties and determine if
one party exercises over another horizontal or vertical accountability. In courts,
where there is the classic top-down hierarchical structure, or the principal-agent
relationship, if the principal delegated the agent, the agent is responsible before
his/her direct superiors in the chain of command and this constitutes a form of
vertical accountability. For example, public officials are accountable before the
department / ministerial agency, the department is accountable before the Ministry
/ Minister, the Minister is accountable before the parliament and the parliament is
accountable before the citizens.
Parliament is again the key player. In terms of "keeping" government
officials accountable, parliament is the main and official agent. Parliament, as
principal agent, requires government and its officials, as agents, to implement
laws, policies and programs it adopted and "holds" government and governmental
officials accountable for their performance, from this point of view.
Parliament can also be regarded as an agent, in this case the electorate
voting the legislative to adopt laws and to monitor the governmental actions being
the principal. Voters, in this case, keep the legislative accountable, and if the
electorate is dissatisfied with the legislatives work, in the next elections the vote
will be directed to the other election offers.
The absence of the direct principal-agent relationship contributes to the nearing of
the accountability relationship to one of the horizontal or social accountabilities.

Social accountability

Social accountability is an approach oriented towards the building of an

accountability based on civic commitment, with reference to the citizens or
organizations of civil society, direct or indirect participants to accountabilitys
exigencies. When such accountability manifests, a society lead by horizontal
accountability is configured. (Arroyo, D. & K. Sirker. 2005. Stocktaking of Social
Responsibility Initiatives in the Asia and Pacific Region. Washington DC: WBI Working
The term of social accountability is, in a sense, wrongly named as such,
because it does not refer to a specific type of accountability, but rather to a
particular approach (or to a set of mechanisms) referring to the exigencies for
accountability. The mechanisms for social accountability can be initiated and
supported either by the state, or by the citizens, or by the state and the citizens,
but they are often demand-driven and they operate bottom-up it is generally
accepted that the social accountability mechanisms are an example of vertical
accountability. A part of the commentators consider that a hierarchical
relationship is, in general, lacking the connection actor forum and there is no
formal obligation to take into account.
That is why social accountability could be a form of horizontal
accountability (Arroyo, D. & K. Shirker. 2005. Stocktaking of Social Responsibility
Initiatives in the Asia and Pacific Region. Washington DC: WBI Working Paper)
The initiatives of social accountability are varied and different:
participation to establishing the budgets, administrative procedure acts, social
audits and citizen relations which involve the citizens in the monitoring and
control of the government. It may contrast with the initiatives of the government
or of entities, such as: citizen committees with public functions. Often, the
lawmakers may undertake the role of representation of social accountability.
For example, a member of the Parliament may represent a certain cause
by questioning a minister in the time assigned for interpellations in the Parliament
or through the direct request for information from the government,

Diagonal accountability

The specialty literature does not offer a convergence of the definitions of

this type of accountability. Diagonal accountability attempts to directly involve
the citizens in the activity of horizontal accountability of institutions. This is an
effort to increase the efficiency of the civil society in the position of watch dog,
by breaking the states monopole on the accountability of monitoring the
executive officials. The principles of diagonal accountability are:
Participation to the horizontal accountability mechanism the
community participates in the institutions of horizontal responsibility rather than
creating distinct and separate institutions of diagonal responsibility. In this way,
the vertical responsibility reagents seek to introduce themselves more directly on
the horizontal axes. (Goetz, A.M. & R. Jenkins. 2001. Hybrid Forms of Responsibility:
Citizen Engagement in Institutions of Public-Sector Oversight in India. Public
Management Review: 3(3).)
Informational flow The community has the opportunity to access
information regarding the governmental agencies which would be normally
limited to the horizontal axes, for example, the review of internal performances.
Moreover, they have access to the deliberations and argumentations regarding the
decisions made by the institutions of horizontal accountability. The community
brings, first of all, the experience regarding the performance of the governmental
agencies in the responsibility process.
The officials must answer the community co-opts the authorities of the
horizontally responsible institutions to ask the governmental agencies to answer.
The capacity to sanction the community asks the authorities of the
horizontally responsible institutions to strengthen the influence on the election of
There are opinions according to which civil society can strengthen the
efficiency of institutions through the pressure on the agencies to perform their
work in a more efficient manner. This type of participation is not a direct action
against thing poorly done, as in the case of vertical accountability, but rather the
expression of the society lead by horizontal accountability. More generally, active
citizens and groups of the civil society may work with the elected representatives,
in order to ensure the representative role of the Parliament.
Certain opinions suggest that the administrative accountability exercised, first of
all, by means of quasi-legal forums, such as the ombudsman, auditors or
independent inspectors that directly or indirectly report to the Parliament, is a
form of external independent and administrative control and financial monitoring.

Social accountability versus diagonal accountability

Recently, the World Bank argued that social accountability comprises the
mechanisms of diagonal accountability. Arguments were brought, according to
which the diagonal accountability mechanisms can be considered a form of social
Considering that social accountability is not a specific type of
accountability, but a particular approach, it is possible that it includes diagonal
In other words, the diagonal accountability mechanisms can be
components of the wider approach of social accountability. This is in
contradiction with a series of opinions which make a very clear distinction
between diagonal and social accountability.
According to these opinions, the state is often resistant to monitoring by
the citizens, preferring to encourage new forms of social accountability, which
may transform in a form that constitutes an opportunity for civil society to inform
the government on the public perceptions regarding governments behavior.
Parliaments are the key-actors in what is called the accountability chain.
These are, together with justice, the key-institutions of horizontal accountability,
not only in what concerns their own fields, but also as institutions that many
responsible autonomous institutions relate to. They are the vehicle by means of
which political accountability is exercised. Together with the organizations in the
civil society and the mass media, they constitute, also, important institutions in
vertical accountability. The new concepts of accountability emerge: social and
diagonal accountability. The first, defined as society driven by horizontal
accountability aims to supply governments direct accountability before the
citizens; parliamentarians and the elected representatives are another important
vehicle by means of which citizens and civil society can strengthen. And
regardless of the manner in which it is defined Parliament is one of the
institutions through which diagonal accountability is exercised.

Public policy analysis from the perspective of organizational analysis

Organizational analysis has a major involvement in policy analysis. In

case of failure of a policy, the issue of identifying the failure causes is vital: the
policy proposal was improper or did implementation lead to failure? Focusing on
the implementation brings forth the organizations that participate to the policy
implementation. It must be acknowledged that policy analysis cannot ignore
implementation and the behavior of the organizations participating to the
implementation. Pressman and Wildavsky (1973) mention that a separation
between the policy formulation and its implementation would be fatal. As a
consequence, Pressman and Wildvsky bring to light the importance of
organizations. Public policy is a complex process involving an important number
of organizations throughout the running of the implementation process, each of
them with their own motivation, culture and system of values. The policy
complexity led to the complexity of the interactions between these organizations,
which may have as result policy inefficiency. In other words, the policy
complexity also contributed to the creation of organizational complexity. The
connections between policy formulation, the implementing organizations and the
constraints (opportunities or threats) are emerging, as well. However, it is obvious
that this type of connections have a reciprocity character.
Lip sky (1980) argued that the decision of the bureaucrats, the routine
they establish and the instruments they invent in order to manage uncertainty
become, in fact, the public policy they implement. More generally, public
policies are determined by a combination between the legislative actions, the
actions of the implementing organizations and the bureaucrats involved in them...
The result of the dual process represented by the contraction of the
political and economic resources and the distribution of power at sub-state and/or
supra-state levels was the opening of governance towards new actors. The
hierarchical division between formal government and the rest of society does not
function any more.
Increasingly more private actors are collaborating with the public
entities, and the public actors at all territorial levels are cooperating in the
elaboration and implementation of the policies. The new actor networks are
established by crossing the traditional borders between community governance
and civil society. This movement represents the passing from the traditional
bureaucratic government to governance, a much more decentralized-participative
approach of political management. Government and governance define certain
types of relations between the state and the citizen.
The concept of governance is used to describe the changes occurred in
the nature and role of the state, after the initiation of public sector reforms,
between years 1980-1990.
The initiation of these reforms targeted especially the improvement of the supply
of public services and the giving up on hierarchy-based bureaucracy, in favor of
markets and networks. Among the effects produced by the reforms that targeted
significant changes of the public sector there must be mention the intensification
of global exchanges, the increase of the transnational economic activity, as well as
the magnitude of the emergence of regional institutional structures, as is the case
of the European Union. In other words, the concept of "governance" corresponds
to the post-modern forms of economic and political organizations.
In these circumstances, the organizations are gaining increasingly high relevance
and have an essential impact both on the design of the public policies
(governmental environment) and outside the governments area of influence. The
influences exercised in both directions are creating the connections between
policy and the implementing organizations. The causal influences in both
directions create the links that connect policy and implementing organizations.
These links in turn depend on the behavior of the organizations. The stronger
these links are, the more inter-related are policy analysis and organizational

From studies on implementation to organizational analysis

The studies presented in the specialty literature emphasized the influence

of the social forces on the implementation process. It is also noticed the need for
the existence of complex links between the governmental organizations and the
multitude of social organizations, for the purpose of reaching the objectives
In the field of education, health, social protection and social security, the
implementation of public policies is performed, to the largest extent, by non-
governmental or private organizations, the process being partially or totally
financed from public funds.
The consequences of this reality are very important. First of all, when
there is the conviction that the state failed in assuring social welfare, the social,
non-governmental and private organizations will have to also bear this failure.
Secondly, the governmental organizations developed a series of connections for
the purpose of elaborating and implementing public policies. The research of the
policy implementation process revealed the existence of at least two reflection
topics. The first topic refers to the study of the freedom of action during the
implementation process. The second topic treats the study of both policies that
failed (regardless of the assessment criteria used) and of those that could not be
In the following paragraphs, these two topics are developed, analyzing,
at the same time, at the theoretical level, the variables that are at the basis of
success in the implementation process.

Types of approaches in public policy implementation

Implementation is an interactive process, in which are involved not only

the public authorities, but also the representatives of the groups belonging to the
target space of the policy and of other interested groups. The characters
participating to this process have their own motivations and resources which,
separately from the direct political measures, are influenced by many other
circumstantial factors. A limit problem is constituted by the fact that most studies
on implementation are focused on finding explanations for the policy success or
Therefore, the research presented in the specialty literature, are
especially focused on the top to bottom approach. This was the first synthetic
form of implementation analysis, and the organizational issues are playing an
important role. Because the approach is initiated at the top level, this approach
tends to have a hierarchical character. Such an approach cannot be useful for the
analysis of the situations in which it is necessary to make corrections (there is no
freedom of decision at the level of the organizations that implement - complete
control belongs to the top level). It is acknowledged that the implementing
organizations need certain forms of freedom of action, but they must be controlled
(Younis and Davidson, 1990, Sabatier, 1986). Indeed, on the connections between
policies and organizations emerges as a consequence of identifying the forms of
freedom of action necessary and it is configured in an organizational structure.
Ripley and Franklin (1982) argue that implementation and organizations
may differ depending on the type of policies and the relations with the relevant
actors must be different, depending on the type of policy. On the one hand, the
critics argue that the freedom of action extended beyond what is programmed
(Burke 1990), as well as the possible unwanted forms this freedom of action may
take, are difficult to keep under control. (Rhode and March 1992).
Because of the limitations introduced by the approach to the unilateral
implementation process, only top to bottom or bottom-up, at present there is an
increasing tendency of the two types of approaches coming closer.
In spite of the differences maintained between the two types of approaches, they
are not of a nature to affect the fundamental perception of reality, but rather
contribute to the emphasis of those situations that deserve better attention.
On the basis of the convergence between the top to bottom and bottom-
up approaches, an association can be made between the organizational aspects of
policy implementation (establishment, distribution and coordination of tasks) and
the characteristics of each actor involved in the implementation process.
The empirical information supplied by these studies and other similar
ones, served for the better understanding of the implementation process of a
public policy.
The transformation of the observations made into practical
recommendations is, still, problematic for several reasons and, therefore, attention
continues to be focused on the development of the instruments that make possible
the use of the new visions, both in the public policy implementation process and
in other fields.
In this context, two development directions can be distinguished: (1) the
drafting of a check list for the points of interest, in order to set the implementation
process and (2) the development of the explanatory theories of the
implementation process.
In order to surmount the difficulties centered on the omnipotence of the
regulations issued at the central level, the improvement of the public policy
implementation and the prevention of their transformation into dead letter, the
results of the previously presented studies were called upon. Their assessment led
to the attempt to formulate the implementation programs, even from the beginning
of the policy elaboration process.
Among other consequences, it was held the need to focus attention on
determining the administrative impact. Through this instrument are evaluated the
consequences of certain goals of the public policies formulated by the government
on the functioning of decentralized administrations.
The answers to questions of the type Is the implementation of the
measure in question feasible? What are the efforts requested from the local
administrations? Will increase the sensitivity of the decisional factors at the
central level compared to the problems of the hierarchically inferior
In addition, the perception on the extent to which the administrative
efforts lead to the achievement of the objectives targeted can be improved. The
designing of these instruments is variable.
The simplest method is represented by the drafting of check lists which contain
questions regarding the putting into practice of the political measures taken by the
local administrations. The answers to these questions will be taken into
consideration in the process of formulating the public policy decisions. This
design method is similar to the practice in the United States of America, where the
Senate imposed the regulation impact declaration, declaration regarding the
political measures envisaged.
A more elaborate formulation method refers to the determining of the
degree in which the local administrations can put the policy into practice, before
the decision regarding the measure in question to be made.
The contractual arrangements presuppose the separation of the policy
from the implementing units and they are specific to the Anglo-Saxon model. The
policy formulation process is different from the implementation process, because
the skills, peoples and systems management are different. That is why it is
recommended to separate the policy formulation functions from the
implementation function. They can be responsibility centers negotiating
agreements with the relevant ministry. The intention is to create a larger
managerial autonomy and a less restrictive control over resources. In England,
where this model functions, the agencies revolve around performance budgets.
Tensions occur, however, between the parent ministry and the Ministry of
Practice has proven, hence, that implementation, as essential stage in the
success of the public policy, is much more difficult and expensive than most
politicians assume.
In the situation in which implementation is the responsibility of the governmental
organisms, of the non-governmental and private organizations, the costs of this
process must be reflected both on the government and on the organizations.

The freedom of action of the actors involved in public policy implementation

The public policy implementation process is influenced both by the

result of the rules exhibited by K.C. Davis in Libertatea de aciune administrativ
(1969), and by the organizational circumstances of policy implementation. The
products of these circumstances are the informational monopoles at the disposal
of the officials, to the extent to which implementation contributed to their creation
and to the extent to which these monopoles were subjected to hierarchic and
democratic control.
The freedom of action of the persons responsible for the implementation process
constitutes a proper means to deal with the unpredictability of the target space
One of the ways for reducing the unpredictability degree that the
persons responsible for the implementation process face is the classification of
customers in the target space. This type of classification is based, in principle, on
the analysis of the components (targeted through the policy implemented) of the
business environment, of the indicators expressing their unpredictability or on
rules elaborated according to the own experience and professionalism of the
public servants responsible for the implementation.
The establishment of the existence of certain behavioral patterns,
belonging to these public servants, determined the performing if studies oriented
towards the identification of the causes that led to their formation.
The regulations, as derived from the conclusions of these studies, prove
to be, in certain situations, so complicated that the public servants cannot fully
know the law, the application norms and the policy framework. In such
conditions, in order to make a decision, they resort to a case similar to the one
they are facing, which leads to a chaotic decisional process. The studies reflect
also the case in which the public servants personal preferences or their
compassion towards certain petitioners influence, to a high extent, the decision
undertaken by them.
The freedom of action that the public servants enjoy during the
implementation process allows the adjusting of public policies, depending on the
characteristics of each particular case.
As a consequence, freedom of action does not represent, in all cases, a
phenomenon that should be limited by means of an administrative centralization
of the decisional process. Moreover, the restricting of this freedom of action may
generate negative effects by putting the public servants in the impossibility of
choosing the best solution, according to the vision of the respective public policy.
It can be concluded that the emphasizing of the regulatory nature of the
implementation process contributes to the granting of a higher freedom of action
of the public servants involved in policy implementation.
From the perspective of the behavioral patterns of the public servants,
the studies mentioned distinguish between three styles of the public servants
responsible for the execution of public policies: bureaucratic, politically
committed and pragmatic.
The public servants characterized through a bureaucratic behavior
guide themselves after an idealized image of bureaucracy, with a clear distribution
of competences and responsibilities.
The politically committed public servants do everything in their power to
satisfy certain customers, depending on their own criteria and attempt to
maximize their autonomy with respect to the organizations authority.
The public servants with a pragmatic style try to reach a compromise
between the four factors that characterize the working style of the public servants:
work in the structure of public services, conformity with the professional
standards, own career management, professional satisfaction.
The research regarding the implementation of public policies gravitates
more and more around the modalities in which this process is organized at the
microeconomic levels.
In this context, attention is focused, on the one hand, on the problems
pertaining to the freedom of action and the dependency towards the decisions of
the persons responsible for implementing the entities that represent the target
public space, and, on the other hand, on the implementation styles.

Innovation and organizations influence on policies

From the definitions that different authors give public policies it is

derived that they are governmental prerogatives. Also, the research studies
performed on policies demonstrate the existence of feed-back from the
implementing organizations to the policy initiators. Moreover, influences on the
initiators may also come from lobbying from different target groups targeted by
the policy drafted. There is, however, the normative argument, as well, that
democratic responsibility imposes that the democratic legislative process
formulates policies. As a practice, there is an agency, apart from the government,
which identifies the social changes, innovates and designs policies only from their
own perspective, which may have undesired consequences on the target space of
the policy. In a democratic system of government dominated by the majority rule,
the minorities, in order to reach their objectives, must resort to a series of
strategies, such as the construction of alliances, partnerships or other types of
political constructs. In other words, although a strict democratic system is
characterized by the imperfection with which it serves minorities, still, the
minority groups can put their policies into application by means of developing
their own programs, apart from the governmental ones. But, are such
programs/policies feasible?
Modern societies are built from a multitude of groups sharing the same
type of interests: economic, religious, ethnical or cultural.
Many of these social groups have a quite low contact with the
governmental structure, but, occasionally, are either on the same side, or in
opposition, to the governmental policies.
The organized group which attempts to influence governmental policies
in a certain direction is called interest group. It is a frequent practice, in all
modern societies, that these groups spent important budgets of time and money in
trying to influence the public policies of governments.
The pluralist model expresses the fact that government operates through
competitive interest groups. In other words, democracy exists where several
organizations operate separately from the government, but exercise pressures on
the government, constituting even challenges for governing15.
In comparison to the majority approach, the pluralist theory restrains
governments focus on the organized groups, to the detriment of the electoral
mass. At the same time, the principle of accountability before the public opinion
modifies, in the sense of undertaking accountability before those interest groups.
Two mechanisms are determinant in the pluralist model, namely: the
interest groups and the decentralization of the governmental structure until the
level at which the groups arguments can be heard, pro or against the public
policies of government.
In a centralized structure, decisions are made at the top level of the
hierarchy, and the decisional factors placed at this level are, in general, too busy
to hear the voice of the interest groups or to consider it important enough as to
take it into account.

See Robert, A., Dahl, Dilemmas of Pluralist Democracy: Autonomy vs. Control, New Haven, Conn: Yale
University Press, 1997, p. 5.
However, the decentralized structure offers both the access and the
opening necessary for pluralist democracy. The ideal case is that of a system that
distributes the governmental authority to a series of institutions with partial
authority and in which the interest groups are accepted to present and argument
their wishes.
The fundamental axiom of the pluralist model is revealed by Robert
Dahl: instead of a single center of sovereign power there must be multiple power
centers, but the power of neither of them is completely sovereign16.

The majority model versus the pluralist model

In the majority model, the citizen, individually, is the one who controls
governments actions. As indicated before, these citizens must have knowledge
about government and must wish to participate in the electoral process. Majority
democracy depends on the electoral mechanism that capitalizes on the power of
majority in making decisions. Elections and the centralized structure of the
government are the mechanisms that configure the context in which majority rule
Pluralism is not interested in the knowledge that citizens have, in
general, but it is focused on the specialized knowledge of the interest groups, in
particular of their leaders. Unlike the majority democracy, pluralist democracy
attempts to limit the actions of the majority, such as the interest groups can make
themselves heard. Well represented interest groups and the decentralization of the
governmental structure are the mechanisms that interfere with the majority rule, in
order to protect minority interests.
The problems that can be brought into discussion focus on the extent to
which social policies can be initiated by private actors. Which are the types of
social services provided by these private actors? There are areas in which the
government seems to be clearly at an advantage, such as, for instance, the income-

Robert, A., Dahl, Pluralist Democracy in the United States, Chicago: Rand McNally, 1997, p. 24.
preservation program. But, even in this case, there are counter-candidates
originating not so much from the non-profit, as from the business sector.
The behavioral monitoring programs such as, for example, the child
protection services, are established by the government, even if they are
concessioned to an agency which may, in its turn, initiate its own differentiated
services destined for children. On the other hand, the programs developed by the
communities are common places for innovation within the non-profit sector,
unlike the programs destined for training persons with disabilities, programs
which are favorite for the social enterprises (Barry Friedman, Organizational
analysis, in The Oxford Handbook of Public Policy, 2006).

Reference bibliography
Mark Bevir eds., Encyclopedia of Governance, Sage Publications Ltd., Vol. 1, 2007
Adrian Miroiu, Introducere in Analiza politicilor publice, Politeea Publishing House,
William N. Dunn. 2004. Public Policy Analysis: An Introduction. 3rd. Ed. Upper Saddle
River, NJ: Pearson Prentice-Hall. pp. 44-55
Kingdon, John W. 1995. Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies. 2nd edition.
HarperCollins College Publishers. Ch.8 pp. 165-195
Anthony Downs, Political Theory and Public Choice (Northampton, Mass.: Edward Elgar,
1998), pp. 100-112.
Sabatier, P. & C. Weible (2006) The advocacy coalition framework: Innovations and
clarifications. In Sabatier, P. (2006) (ed.) Theories of the Policy Process. 2nd edition. Boulder:
Westview Press. Ch. 6 pp. 117-166
Luminita Gabriela Popescu, Politici publice, Economic Publishing House, 2005

Donald G. Lenihan, KTA Centre for Collaborative Government, John Godfrey,
Member of Parliament, Tony Valeri, Member of Parliament, and John Williams,
Member of Parliament What is Shared Responsibility? Policy, Politics and
Governance, Volume 5, 2003
Donald Lenihan, Director of CCG and Tony Valeri, MP for Stoney Creek , Policy,
Politics, Governance, Vol.2, 2003
Bovens, M. 2005. Public Responsibility, in Ferlie, Ewan. Laurence E. Lynn, Jr.
&Christopher Pollitt (eds). The Oxford Handbook of Public Management.
Oxford: Oxford University Press)
Arroyo, D. & K. Sirker. 2005. Stocktaking of Social Responsibility Initiatives in
the Asia and Pacific Region. Washington DC: WBI Working Paper
Goetz, A.M. & R. Jenkins. 2001. Hybrid Forms of Responsibility: Citizen
Engagement in Institutions of Public-Sector Oversight in India. Public
Management Review: 3(3).

MODULE 3 Models of policy analysis.

3.1. Theoretical models of public policy analysis

All levels of government, central and local - are involved in increasingly active in
promoting public policy. Has in every year, true volumes of laws and ordinances are
adopted by legislative bodies of federal, state and local governments, which are
accompanied by a significant amount of regulations issued by administrative agencies
under legislative mandates. Public policies have been developed both in traditional areas
of government intervention - such as foreign policy, transport, education, social
protection and law, regulating trade and employment, international relations - and in areas
such as economic stability, environmental protection environment, equal opportunities,
health care, nuclear energy and consumer protection, 20-30 years far less regulated.
This section summarizes a number of typologies developed over years of political
scientists and other academics at the expense of traditional classification schemes (such
as for example, by job classification, institutions or chronological).
Policy studying offers an understanding of causes and consequences of policy
decisions and thus enrich our understanding of society.
Policy studies help us better understand the links between social and economic
conditions in a given society, political system response that brings these conditions, the
effects (if any) government activities have on these conditions. Policy studies
incorporating ideas and methods from sociology, economics, anthropology and
psychology, history, science, legal and political Science Fairs.
Another interesting area to study public policies leads to professional policy
analysis designed to understand the causes and consequences of policy decisions. These
analyzes have a very strong practical dimension and normative, representing a concrete
application of social science to solve specific social problems.
Factual knowledge of social reality is the basis for diagnosing the state of society.
Every company wants certain purposes and study public policy can help achieve them by
developing professional studies such as "if ... then", allowing better monitoring between
what we proposed and the means used to achieve goals.
Public policy studies and a very important role "power" political discussions with
structured information. Exercise this role by the scientific community lead to the
development of public awareness on issues of public interest in public debate (or debate
regarding public), improves the quality of debate on issues of public policy by organizing
on a factual, scientific analysis of options policymakers, raises the level (quality) policy
debate in connection with the "right policies" to be taken to carry out "goals correct"
politically negotiated and established. From this view, Thomas Dye revels: "Knowledge
is preferable to ignorance even in politics."
All the elements mentioned above should not lead us to the idea that public policy
analysts somehow substitute for policy makers. Policy analyst role is to assist (help) to
make an informed policy decisions, its role is limited to that of analysis and advice.
A decision analysis of actions by government and societal consequences of these
actions on the environment is not equivalent to prescribe what they should do these
Public policy studies from the definition of practical value. First, public policy
studies can provide descriptions of government action in different sectoral policy areas
(social policy, environment, health, fiscal policy, defense, etc.). These studies provide a
factual basis of information indispensable to any realistic effort and consistent
management of a company.
Not less, policy studies help us to interrogate the causes, determinants in policy
structure. We can understand why a particular policy has a certain profile and not another.
We can understand why governments take certain decisions in specific contexts. We can
be questioned on the effects of institutional policies, processes and behaviors have on
public policy.
In other words, we can study the causes of public policies, the policies being
considered dependent variables and the political, social, cultural, representing the
independent variables.
Policy studies provide insight about the consequences, impact policy decision on
society (or community concerned). Here we are dealing with a very specialized area of
education policy, that policy evaluation. We can see that public policy decisions have
generated or not a change in the initial condition of the target group, if this change is
intentional or not. We consider whether public policy decisions have led to changes in
public institutions, the political or policy process in general.
In other words, when we study the consequences or impact public policy
decisions, public policy and social determinants become independent variable, political,
economic or cultural dependent variables.

Given the complexity of public policy making process, which involves many
actors and points of view, a substantial amount of statistical information, legal,
historical, etc., we need analytical models to simplify this process by facilitating the
understanding of social reality the following are various models of policy analysis
filtered through the various "theoretical lens". Each offers a conceptual framework
for understanding and public policy analysis, a model reference to the complex
reality of public policy making process.
A model is a simplified representation of real-world issues. The models we use to
study public policies are conceptual models. These models try to:
- Simplify and clarify our thinking about politics and public policy;
- Identify important aspects of the problems facing public policy;
- Report by focusing on key aspects of political life;
- Direct understanding of public policy efforts suggesting what is important and what
is not important;
- Explain the policy and to predict consequences. Each of the models of policy
analysis identifies a conceptual model that can be found in political theory, economics or
sociology. None of them was specifically designed to study public policies, but each
offers a personal reflection on public policy issues and even suggests the causes and
consequences of public policies.
These models are not in competition, meaning that we can not say one is better
than another. Each offers a different perspective on politics and each helps us understand
different aspects of public policy.

3.2 Institutionalism

Under this heading us group theories which explains the choice of policy
alternatives in the context of institutionalized decision of the State.
Public policy is interpreted as an institutional Output.
The main analysis is the decision maker or organization responsible for the
decision. Constraints arising from social contexts are much weaker in explaining
compatibility and incompatibilities makers.
Explanations focused on the role of state indicates that any change in public
policy is best understood in terms of perceptions and interactions between policy makers
and others in an organizational context specific government level. When these guidelines
take into account social influences, they deal with lobbying, political pressure groups,
and public opinion and election officials as variables that influence response to public
policy. Origin of changes in public policy is within the institutions.
Government institutions have long been a center of interest in political science.
Traditionally define as political science and government research institutions. Political
activities are centered on government institutions and public policy is authoritatively
established, implemented and enforced by these institutions.
The relationship between public policy and government institutions is very close.
Government institutions make public policy three distinctive features.
First, government policy gives legitimacy. Government policies are often legal
obligations to citizens. And other public policies coming from church, professional
organizations, corporations, etc. are regarded as very important. But the only legal
government policies impose obligations.
Second, government policies imply universality. Only governmental policies
extend to all people in society. Public policies of other groups may extend only part of
Thirdly, the government monopolizes coercive force in society. Only government
can legitimize imprisonment for breaches of public policy. Penalties can be imposing
other groups and organizations are more limited.
Traditionally, institutional approach in political science does not give much
attention to the relationship between the structure of government institutions and public
policy content. Instead, institutionalism studies describe in detail the government
institutions, but without a systematic interrogation of the impact of institutional
characteristics on the output represented by public policies.
Constitutional and legal arrangements are described minutely but the link between
these arrangements and public policy generally remains superficial or not explained.
Situations to explain the apparent autonomy of the state in defining public
problems and solutions inherent development, this perspective address the role of
government decision makers in a broader context.
In contrast to model social classes and interest groups, the state is separated from
society and endowed with the interests pursued or endeavor to this end. The state's own
interests can be listed and obtaining and maintaining a hegemonic position opposite the
other social actors, minimizing social conflicts, development of society in the sense of
political elites representing different regimes and particular interests of the supporters of
regime the maintenance of power (i.e. Nordlinger 1987:36 [25] , Stepan 1978 [26] ;
Skoepol 1985:15 [27] )
At any time these interests may or may not correspond to the interests of social
classes or groups. Such State may promote public policy that favors social groups, but
this does not imply that these groups impose their views on the elites who have a role in
public policy (policy elites).
It may be that independent decision-makers to adopt an alternative or have been
pressured to adopt a particular policy. It is clear that this perspective is not possible to
determine with certainty who initiates who controls public policy or state action in
relation to policy beneficiaries. At one point, State, seeking its own interest, may adopt a
policy that is not beneficial or may harm the interests of influential social groups. This
probability is conditioned largely by the power and state autonomy, factors that vary from
one regime to another and over time (Migdal 1987, 1988 [28] ; Skoepol 1985 [29] ).
Therefore, the state is more than an arena that takes place against the background
of social conflict or a tool of domination used by social class or alliance of dominant
classes. Is an influential player and independently. Therefore, it is considered that
political elites are not strongly constrained by social interests and that they are able to
develop different motivations for different problems and different strategies to address
them. In specific cases, they reflect not only the state interests, but also those of the
In an analysis of state interests, Bennett and Sharpe explain how the state appropriates
interest that can be defined:
(1) Creation of the initial alignment based mainly in setting social foundations;
(2) This guidance is created and modified as the state is facing new problems, invent
new strategies and strengthens its ability to solve problems, although the initial
orientation institutionalization limited perception of problems and solving them;
(3) Massive changes in government personnel create a new trend or lead to the
reformulation of old ones.
Bennett and Sharpe believes that these "embedded orientations" of the state are
"institutionalized by ministries and agencies - in how to diagnose and resolve problems in
the distribution of responsibilities of staff and resources" [30] .
Thus ministries and agencies acting on behalf of the State preserve a greater
degree of autonomy. Empirically, the degree of autonomy is determined by the
relationship of a part of influential state and social interests, and on the other side of the
first two and the international context, relationships developed over time. State and by
extension political elites fighting for autonomy in developing and implementing public
policies without acquiring it. Policy-induced change is explained by the different
circumstances that contribute to the redefinition of problems and solutions inherent and
attempts to achieve the interests of the state requiring new initiatives when the original
public policy generated unanticipated consequences that alter situations or state
autonomy [31] .
Own interests in the model state and institutional policy reforms are the result of
interaction between public policy makers attempt and aim to respond to public issues
(policy-makers) and the constraints of political, social, economic and public policy
The model is but a means of measuring the activism of political leaders and public
policy makers (policy-makers) in determining public policy outcomes in terms of
national development objectives. It is important in the context of developing countries,
where the state often takes the initiative in defining the overall goals and direction of
The notion of "embedded orientations" justifying tendencies of states to follow a
consistent plan of action. This model demonstrates that political elites play an active role
in promoting development theories attempt to create alliances, reformist measures
legislating and creating new bureaucratic elite.
At the same time, academic research conducted in this theoretical
framework, to date, remains cut off from reality, just as the analytical model of social
classes. Also, although the actions of public policy makers can be understood through this
model, the approach does not convince in terms of learning how the political elites of
particular preferences.
Despite the limitations that characteristics institutional analysis, it should see and
productive aspects of this model.
Government institutions structured behavioral models for individual and groups.
By "structure" we understand that these behavior patterns tend to last over time.
These stable patterns of behavior of individuals and groups can affect public policy
content. Institutions may be structured to facilitate certain outcome's policy and / or
obstruct others. May provide benefits to specific groups and disadvantage to others. In
short, the structure of government institutions may be very important for public policy
Institutionalism approach need not be seen as simplistic and descriptive. We ask
ourselves on the relationships that exist between institutional arrangements and policy
content; we can investigate these relationships in a comparative and systematic manner.
It is important to remember that institutional arrangements impact on public
policy is an empirical question that deserves investigation. Often enthusiastic reformers
felt that a change in institutional structure itself will bring changes in public policy,
without investigating the true relationship between institutional structure and policies.
This can easily fall into a trap, not necessarily assuming that institutional change will
bring changes in public policies. You should carefully consider the impact on public
policy structure. You may find that both the structure and public policies are broadly
determined by social and economic forces and then "play" related institutional change
will have little impact on public policies (while the forces determinant remains the same).

2.3.2. The procedural model

Sequential analysis - analyzes the process of proposing a policy division in sequence

(steps) of public policy making cycle. Public policy is viewed as the political activities.
Each sequence is distinct temporally and functionally, it is analyzed separately in this
One of the goals of this investigative effort is to reveal patterns "processes" political.
In this respect, the group tried various activities according to their relationship to public
The result is a sequence of processes set specific public policies

Cycle steps for achieving public policy Content of each stage

Problem identification Explicit demand for government action

Agenda setting (capturing the attention of decision Decision on matters that will be included on the
makers on specific issues) agenda
Formulation of policy proposals Developing proposals to address specific issues

Legitimize policy decisions Selection of proposals

Building political support for this proposal support
Adoption of the proposal by legislative act
Implementation of public policies Government organization
Establishing the service portfolio
Establishing financial resources through taxes or
other means
Evaluation of public policies Studying programs
Reporting of outputs for government programs
Impact assessment
Suggesting ways to improve or public policy process

In other words, public policy making process is approached as an amount of

political activity. This type of analysis allows the study of how decisions are made or how
they should be taken. Instead, it allows the development of public policy analysis on the
substance (who has received and why). In other words, not the content of public policy
studies, but the formation of public policy.
Although the analysis is focused only on the study of public policy process, this
model helps us understand the various activities involved. It should be noted that public
policy-making involves setting the agenda (to attract attention from decision-making
actors), to formulate proposals (selection of policy options), legitimate public policy
(getting political support), implementation (creation of structures, spending,
strengthening legislation) and evaluation (analysis of how public policy has achieved its
objectives, setting corrections)
Certainly, there is a mutual influence between how public policies have been
made and their contents. This is an issue that deserves attention. But, as we showed in the
presentation institutionalism model, avoid the trap of assuming that a change in public
policy making process will always change the content of public policies. It is possible
that certain constraints of social, economic, technological changes to determine the
processor (closed or open, competitive or noncompetitive, pluralist or elitist) to have only
a minor variation on policy content.
The first four stages of the model generate a series of comments which are detailed
Public policy issues and public agenda.
Public Agenda is a cluster of issues involving public.
Public opinion tends to be vague and / or confused when it comes to complex
technical problems and solutions.
Public agenda. Does not include public policy solutions, solutions that are undertaken
either by the political elites or segments of the public
We emphasize, also, that situations do not become problems only if they are
perceived as such, articulated and brought to the attention of the authorities, this type of
action is often used by officialdom in "search" problems;
In addition, a case becomes public agenda issue that is identified with the intervention
of the state government for which a solution is possible. In this respect, Aaron Wildavsky
said that authorities would rather ignore a problem if it is not accompanied by
corresponding solution. Hurricanes and earthquakes can not be problems because of their
unpredictable, but the devastation is a matter of public policy and numerous programs to
mitigate damage caused by natural phenomena were initiated [34] .

Are common where problem solving situations is followed by persons other than the
direct beneficiaries. For example, the government of Romania has launched "war on
corruption" in response to actions rather journalists and international officials than the
results of those actions directly affected by corruption.
Government Agenda
Transfer issues on the public agenda on government agenda is the result of a political
process requires both time and appropriate solutions.
The difficulty of building government agenda that is determined by the nature and
purpose of many public policy issues are difficult to formulate due to their diffuse or
"invisible". Because measurement is often inadequate, those charged with public policy
does not have an accurate assessment of the facts and is unable to propose appropriate
solutions or even government action to solve the problem.

These inaccuracies can add poor understanding of the causes of the phenomenon.
Other problems are difficult to measure: violence against children, illegal immigration,
tax evasion etc.
Another related aspect of the government agenda refers to its ability to be easily
controlled / influenced, some problems involving many more behavioral changes than
Control problems is conditioned by their tangible or intangible character. Issues
such as job shortages and mismanagement of projects can be solved more easily by
increasing the resources and incentives available to people or agencies.
There are frequent cases in which different formulations of a problem compete for
public acceptance. If a situation is or not a public issue depends on the terms that defined
the problem and accept the proposed definition. In addition, the terms defined and the
causes that generated it have led to the promotion of solutions considered appropriate
Congruence of agendas
Limitation of natural resources determines the space limitation of governmental
agenda. But this must be considered and fight for space on the agenda of the government
forces, other than public opinion It is obvious that there can be representation where
governors and governors prioritize problems differently.
And, even more, may not appear representation even if such correspondence is
due to blockade of action or policy by the political system (degree of complexity of it can
generate different blocks) or leaders whose views differ from those of the public.
Parliamentary Agenda
Parliamentary debate activity is part of the first line of public policy process. In
other words, where convergence is achieved between the parliamentary agenda and
wishes of citizens, parliamentary debates can respond more easily to changing
information flows than subsequent stages of policy process.
As a consequence, it is reasonable to expect a rapid response provided by
Parliament to meet public agenda. No one can speak of convergence if the parliamentary
debate on an issue to which the public has an interest are started about a year when the
issue was brought before it. [35]
A public policy agenda strongly influenced by the model coverage by the media
and political advertising is not necessarily consistent with the concept of public policy as
a rational search for ways to improvement of social welfare .Public policy agenda reflects
the priorities right only if the media fails to cover situations in proportion to their value as
public policy issues - a questionable assumption because of undesirable social conditions,
even if it can not be corrected through public policy, can still be a good topic. Street
crime, for example, depend heavily on policies, not the national law enforcement.
2.3.3. Theory of Groups

Group theory implies that the interaction between groups is fundamental in politics.
Individuals with common interests come together in formal or informal groups to
exercise more effective pressure on the government to meet individual and group
interests. Individuals are important in politics only if it acts as a party or on behalf of an
interest group. Groups become a bridge between individual and government. And politics
is the struggle between groups to influence public policy.
The task is to organize the political system of conflict groups (1) establishing a set of
rules of the game, (2) arranging compromises and balancing interests, (3) strengthening
the compromises established by law and strengthening the application of these
The theory of groups, public policy equilibrium is reached at some point in the
perpetual battle groups. This balance is influenced by the relative importance of certain
interest groups. Changes in the relative importance leading to changes in public policy
The influence of groups is given by their number, wealth, organizational strength,
leadership, access to those who make decisions and internal cohesion.
Group theory describes any political activity in terms of struggle between groups.
Those who make public policy appear to be constantly coming constrain to meet him
instead of her anymore different groups. .First we have latent groups. These groups
countries are not always visible, but can be activated by another group organized and
together they destroy the relative steady state system.
Secondly we interpenetration of membership. Each individual is a member of
several groups. Values that the individual adheres found simultaneously in all groups to
which he adheres.
Thirdly balance resulting from competition between groups helps balance the overall
system. No group is the majority. Strength of each group is controlled and balanced
competing power of other groups...

Theory groups on policy implications

An interest group is a group of entities that have the same objectives and seeking
to influence public policy. Interest groups are obviously different political parties.
Priority strategic objective for any political party to win elections is to accede to power.
Although, in some cases, interest groups seeking to influence the final results of the
election process. They may not have their own candidates nor preoccupied with winning
government. Groups have as priority to influence policies that work in their area of

Different in size and mode of action, various interest groups pursuing objectives.
They also cover the establishment of links between members and government officials,
elected or appointed. What justifies the existence of interest groups in a democratic form
of government, representative is, on the one hand, the role assumed by them in raising
awareness and empowering members of the executive, legislature and judiciary to certain
needs of society and, on the other hand, involvement of certain segments of the
population support the objectives considered representative of interest groups. Citizens,
namely those who believe that common objectives are best served by collective action, is
assigned to one group or another to promote their own economic needs or specific policy
changes and / or social.

Among the multitude of interest groups acting at the societal level, based on
economic interest groups, business, professional and representing employees' interests are
strongest. This fact is not surprising given that considerable majority of the population is
concerned, the priority of its economic welfare. Growing number of business sector
interest is determined by those critical issues whose manifestations affect business and
political climate. Not all interests are purely economic. Such groups are based on gaining
public trust supporting its requirements and expectations.

Some organizations work for what they consider to be representative of general

interest. Such groups are known in literature under the name of public interest groups.
Other organizations are focused on specific cases or serve as advocates for groups of
citizens who are unable to represent one .It is an undeniable reality that in today's society,
Romanian and others, interest groups have a political power increasingly larger. With
substantial financial resources and the direct involvement of interest groups, public
figures have the potential to influence the functioning of the political system. Also it can
be said that by supporting the interests of their members, they contribute to the
democratization of government approaches. There are organizations that are speaking for
those who speak too slowly, or it represents those who are unable to represent themselves
(young, poor, people in need, etc...).

Public interest groups is manifest therefore in the public interest support for
certain issues, such as civil rights and benefits that these groups are aimed at the
ideological and aesthetic, economic ever. .

Interest groups produce distortion of the democratic process, mainly because

members of these groups are people whose income puts them on top of the
socioeconomic environment. Young and older people are less present in the composition
of these groups and therefore their interests are almost nonexistent, that representation.
From this perspective, the consideration that the public policy process is influenced by
professional groups or those that protect employees' interests is only an exercise.

Interest groups are, essentially, institutions of higher segments of society and

represent their values in public policy process. Consequently, interest groups, even if they
are carriers of good intentions on serving the public interest, its objectives and
interventions designed only by a small group of private interests.

Informal networks of interest. Interest groups can also disturb the public policy
process through actions exerted by informal networks including with stakeholders and
members of parliament, government officials, people from their staff and senior

2.3.4. Elite theory

Public policy can be analyzed as an expression of preference and value of
government elites. Although it is often said that public policy reflects public demand, this
may be more of a myth. Elite theory suggests that the masses are apathetic and poorly
informed. Shape elite opinion and public policy issues, rather than masses influence
elites. Public policies down from elite to mass and not vice versa.

According to elite theory, important government decisions are taken by an identifiable

and stable minority that shares certain characteristics which, in most cases, has an
extensive network of business relationships [16] .

Elitism expressed, so where a few individuals in power because controls all

communication channels, and financial institutions, industry and government. In other
words, elitist theory is characteristic of a democratically elected government operating in
an undemocratic way.

This theory gives rise to interest a significant number of citizens, especially those
who consider the welfare of the dominant policy. The theory provides also a plausible
explanation for the specific policy options.

For example, the allocation of large sums of public budget for defense system can
actually be interpreted as a decision expressing agreement between the army and military
equipment manufacturers.

R.Dahl political scientist reveals, however, that most often, this theory does not stand
in situations where you try to extrapolate the whole field of political decisions. Elite
theory assumptions are:
- Society is divided between the few who hold power and those many who are
powerless. Only a small number of people have the power to allocate values for society.
The masses do not decide public policy;
- The few who govern are not typical for mass characteristics. Generally they are part
of privileged socio-economic society;
- Move to positions non elites must be continuous and slow to preserve stability and
avoid revolutions. Only non elites that supports basic consensus of elites may be accepted
in government circles;
- Elites share consensus on fundamental values essential to preserve the system;
- Public policies do not reflect the demands of the masses but rather elite preferences
and values. Therefore changes in public policies are incremental rather than
- Active elites are subject to little influence from apathetic masses. Elites influence
masses more than vice versa.

Elite theory implications for public policy analysis

First, elitism implies that public policies do not reflect public demands but is more
elite interests and values. Change and innovation in public policies are the result of
redefining values by elites. Because elite conservatism characteristic change can only be
incrementalism magazines and not revolutionary .Public policies are rather modified, not
replaced. Changes in the nature of the system may occur in conditions in which certain
events threaten the system.
In this case, elites, acting under its own interest, will introduce reforms to preserve
the system and their place within it. Elite values can be very sensitive to public needs. A
type of "noblesse oblige" that may lead to mass welfare is an important element in
decision making. Elitism does not mean that public policies promoted by the elites and
they are against the masses, but that responsibility for the welfare of the masses are the
decisions taken by the elite and not the masses.
Second, elitism sees masses as something amorphous, passive apathetic and ill
informed. Sentiments of the masses are manipulated by elites, not the reverse. And
communication between elites and masses is unidirectional, from top to bottom.
However, elections and competition for power between the parties exist but without
allowing the masses access to power. These institutions' democratic elections and parties
are important for their symbolic value.
They help to bind the masses to the political system by giving them the opportunity to
play a limited role in elections. Elitism maintains that there is a set of common values and
rules for the elite. Of course there are certain disputes, disagreements around these values
and norms. But general rules of the game are understood and respected by the elite. The
competition between elites takes place in the narrow circle of several centers of power.
Theory versus elitist group theory

The key difference between the two theories of longevity in power is conferred on the
minority. In addition, unlike the elitist theory, group theory does not define conflict
governance in terms of minority versus majority, moreover, this theory is based on a large
number of minorities in competition with each other, in different policy areas.

For example, the management of forest areas at national level, many interest groups
(forestry companies, travel companies, environmental organizations, hunting, etc...) Face
in a political competition. Each of these groups exert pressure on the government directly
or through another group that is well informed of issues should be solved by government

From the perspective of companies large forest owner elitist approach to win ( in
competition with travel companies and environmetal organizations), despite the
arguments bring by travel companies or those provided by environmental organizations
(this does not happen, however, always).

The competing interests of minorities, promoted the pluralist model, takes place along
the entire policy space transportation, agriculture, public utilities, planning and so on.

Although some groups have better relationships in government can win supremacy at
the micro level, but at the macro level cannot be declared elite winners.

In conclusion, pluralistic model groups is totally different from what is essentially

elitist theory (that one group dominates the entire spectrum of government options).

Pluralist democracy virtue elevated to the competition between interest groups,

offering the argument that the outcome of this confrontation becomes permanent
government action.

In other words, while the governmental structure allows access groups trying to assert
their claims in competition with others, the public is the big winner, satisfying the public
interest is favored by the competitive struggle.
Must clearly indicate that in pluralistic democracy the same groups have influence on
government decisions. In the political confrontation, rich and well-organized groups have
the undisputed advantage in front of the poor and poorly organized.

2.3.5. Rationalism
A rational policy is aimed at maximizing social benefit. So the government should
choose policies that make society gains exceeded amount invested in implementing these
policies. There are two important rules to define the maximum social gain.
First, any policy should not be taken if costs exceed benefits.
Second, the policy alternatives, the decision makers must choose the one that brings
the greatest benefits reported at cost.
In other words, a rational public policy is the balance of values and values gained
slaughtered is perfect. Not to understand rationalism in a simple, reduced to the economic
dimension (i.e. how much the implementation of alternatives).
Rationalism involves consideration of all social values, political and economic in the
implementation of a particular public policy, not only cost them money.
Rational model, formulated by H. Simon (1945), supposes a sequence of steps
discussed below. Rational approach is to obtain maximum social gain, the government
will choose policy whose costs are lower than they earn for the company.
In this approach the following two referential functions: (1) No policy is not adopted
if the benefits exceed the costs. 4. Of policy alternatives will be chosen that produces the
greatest benefit in comparison to the costs.
In other words, a policy is rational when the difference between realized values and
positive values and slaughtered more than any other policy alternatives. Rationalism
involves calculating the values of all social, political and economic slaughtered or made
by public policies not only costs measured in monetary units.

To choose a rational policy is necessary to know:

values that society values and weight;
policy choices available;
consequences for each of the following policy;
ratio benefits and costs for each option;
selecting the most effective policy options

An important requirement of rationality is the decision-making system designed to

facilitate rationality in policy formulation.

This model is often used to find the optimum size of a government program.
Government's budget be increased to the point where some social benefit is obtained
.Cost-benefit analysis is specific to this approach is the main public policy and analytical
framework used to assess decisions to spend public money.
However, there are many barriers to adoption of a rational public policy decisions. It's
very difficult to make a purely rational decision. This model is very important for
analytical purposes. The main barriers to public policy decisions to be purely rational are
the following:
- Can not determine the benefits for society, but only for certain social groups or
individuals, even in the latter case there are many conflicts and contradictions;
- Numerous benefits and costs of conflict can not be measured accurately (e.g. you
can not buy dignity of the individual with an increase in taxes);
- Those decisions are not motivated solely by maximizing social benefit, but also
factors such as power, status, reelection, money;
- Search alternative "perfect" is very difficult. Those who make decisions to stop
when they find an alternative that works;
- Large investments in government programs causing people to make decisions that
delayed decisions before elections;
- There are many barriers to collecting information needed to choose the best
alternative: cost information, availability of time involved in gathering the necessary
- Uncertainty about the consequences of adopting a particular policy are very
complex making those decisions to favor policy options to improve old place new public
policy making;
- Segmented nature of public policy making process in major accounting and
bureaucracy make it difficult to coordinate all inputs coming from different specialists
and their embedding in an ideal public policy decision.
Benefits at the societal level can not usually be established, but rather the incumbent
groups and individuals, many of which are in conflict;
Conflicting benefits and costs can not be compared for example can not match the
dignity of an individual tax increase.
Policy makers are motivated decision based on societal goals but trying to maximize
their own rewards, power, social status, money, etc...
Policy makers are motivated by profit maximization of societal demand for progress
but not until we examine the best way (the one best way) until it finds one which works

Incremental model

Charles E. Lindblom [36] introduced the first incremental model, making a critique of
rational decision making model. As shown Lindblom, who take decisions not made an
annual review of current and proposal of public policy, does not identify the new
societal values, not calculated the cost-benefit again. Constrained by time,
information, and costs they do not resume regular process for selecting the
alternatives. We must take into account the political element that does not always
clear societal goals for an accurate calculation of cost-benefit. (Lindblom, Charles
E.1959. "The Science of Muddling Through "in Public Administration Review)

Model introduced in 1959 by Lindbom known in the literature and the method of
sieving between the lines, is mainly based on everyday experience. Method tries to
give an idea of the practical decision-making from, but the following considerations:

Information necessary for decision is not complete;

Objectives and means are not separate (there means determines feasibility
of the objectives).Select only a few targets / means;
There are several organizations (or actors) involved, which have the same
interests or other interests;
Solution chosen must meet the consensus without, necessarily, and the
Our decision process is homogeneous, are small steps to solve the
Impact of decisions is important step in the long run.
Comparative analysis of the two models shows that there exists a fundamental
difference on policy design: rational model starts from a unitary perspective, while for
incremental model is multi or polycentric vision.
From the perspective of mono-centric, policy design is focused on problem
definition, problem solving, decision making and its implementation by the

Multi centric approach requires the existence of autonomous groups taking their
own decisions, an invisible hand that is involved in their adaptation, and finally, be
the result of consensus decision.

From the perspective polycentric, , the final decision is made after taking a large
number of different decisions, to which adaptation takes interest groups involved.
Opposing viewpoints and conflicts arise in the implementation phase and to
overcome their policy choices made during design should be renegotiated.

Use model design trends rational public policy have been limited as it became
increasingly clear that:

Government should involve in the decision and relevant stakeholders, as

neither the government nor interest groups have absolute power;

Policy is the result of negotiations between various interests and those

interests should be balanced.

.For incremental model existing programs and policies are considered the basis for
new programs. These new programs are modifications, variations, increases or decreases
of old programs. Those who accept the legitimacy of decisions and often considered old
programs that have continued their line.
First there are constraints in terms of time, information and money to investigate new
policy alternatives. The decision makers have sufficient predictive power to know the
consequences of each alternative. The decision makers accept the legitimacy of the old
policy because in this case uncertainties about the consequences of public policy are low.
Often that reason is still not effective public policy, but predictable in terms of
Not to forget the launch of a new policy, a new program launch is costly (sunk Costs).
These investments may be in cash, buildings, provision of psychological, administrative
practices, organizational structures.
The incremental model has the advantage of being faster (shift) of politically.
Conflicts arise when you have taken major decisions such as "all or nothing", "yes or no".
The incremental model reduces conflict, political stability and preservation system.
Finally add that without a concerted opinion on the hierarchy of values in society is
much more simple and practical for the government to continue existing programs rather
than engage in a "crusade" to launch a scheme policy in November.

Public Choice / Public Choice

Public choice is an application of economic analysis in the analysis of public policy.

When economists study the market behavior of individuals and say they follow their own
interests, science policy studies the behavior of individuals in public and make the same
consideration of the fact that individuals pursuing their own interest.
From the perspective of theories in political behavior of individuals is the same as the
market. All political actors: voters, taxpayers, candidates, legislators, bureaucrats, etc.,
trying to maximize their own political benefit as it happens and the market.
James Buchanan, Nobel laureate economist and author of the reference to public
choice theory, believes that individuals come together in order to satisfy political self-
interest. (Buchanan, James M, .1980. "Rent Seeking and Profit Seeking. In "Toward a
Theory of the Rent-seeking Society," edited by James M. Buchanan, Robert D. Tollison
and Gordon Tullock. Texax A & M University Press.)

The major purpose of government is to maintain order, provide public services and
promote equality and good governance strategy defines the market corrects deviations,
trying, also, limit the negative influences of globalization. Government is the exponent of
a value system that is part of their government's vision on future developments at national
and public policies formulated materialize The major objective of policy is to rectify the
anomalies occurring in the community following the failure of economic laws, political
system, demography, etc.

Government is one of contract between individuals who agree to respect the laws and
support the government in exchange for protection of their lives, liberties and properties.
It is true that the government must meet a number of functions that do not meet the
market. He is to make things right where market mechanisms fail.
First the government should provide public goods, goods and services to be offered to
all without exception. National defense services are a good example for this case. On the
other hand, externalities are another area where government intervenes because market
mechanisms are inadequate. An externality occurs when an activity of an individual, firm
or local government impose uncompensated costs on others. An example is air and water
pollution. Government responds to these situations or regulating activities that can lead to
externalities or impose penalties for such activities to offset their cost to society.
Public choice theory helps explain the fact that, in general, political parties and
candidates fail to offer clear policy alternatives in election campaigns. Parties and
candidates are not interested in advancing principles, but to win elections. They formulate
public policy proposals to win elections, they do not win elections to formulate policies.
Each party and candidate seeks to provide alternative public policy more attractive to
the electorate, moving towards the "center", to the least conflicting versions to increase
the number of voters.
There are a number of problems raised by this theory. Government officials do not
always have the information necessary to analyze changes in voter preferences. Unlike
the consumer market situation, voters "customers" do not engage in activities permanent
station. When candidates are truly voters preferences may be too late, already
compromised elections. Even after the elections, candidates can only assume they have
guessed correctly or not voters' preferences. Voting results are not always informative in
terms of policy desired by the electorate.
In the absence of good information about the preferences of voters, politicians and
bureaucrats tend to believe that is their power in society is limited. They tend to
exaggerate the benefits of government programs, using various "fiscal illusion" and
hidden taxes, deficit financing, etc.., All leading to an underestimation of governmental
costs All these "political failures" lead to oversupply and overcharging for goods and
services to citizens.
Public choice theory contributes to a better understanding of business interest groups
and how they affect public policy. Most governments provide "quasi-public goods" that
benefit only certain groups .It is rational for individuals pursuing their own interests to
organize to lobby more effectively on the government to meet these interests. Cost of
specific benefits can be distributed to all taxpayers, many of them not participating in any
way to get them from the government. But it can happen and vice versa.
In order to attract supporters, members and contributions, interest groups must dramatize
due to satisfied that their demands are ignored danger to society. Even when the
government fulfills their demands, interest groups must submit another application to
remain "the race". In other words and interest groups as political actors pursuing their
own political interest market.

Public benefits are facilities or services that they receive all citizens (postal services,
roads, schools, street lighting, libraries, and parks).

Public benefits are more difficult to offer because they need the building or facilities or
organizations to provide these facilities (transport agencies, health departments).

Private benefits are achieved by certain groups of people (people in difficulty, farmers,
war veterans, heroes of the revolution in December).This type of benefit, unlike the
public, are easy because they are individual payments granted in the form of subsidies,
food, additional pension or loans with preferential interest du grace period.

Generally, a policy can meet multiple goals. For example, grant of subsidies for small
farmers protect their families and provide private benefits.

Despite the spread of objectives, most policies have a dominant goal. In this example,
the main objective is the provision of private benefits as subsidies fail to realize the full
or small family farmers, nor encourage the development of agricultural farm

Systems Theory

This theory conceives public policies of the political system in response to external
environmental forces. These external forces are seen as in the wells. System environment
is defined as any condition or circumstance outside the limits of the political system. The
political system is a group of inter-related structures and processes which button WORK
authoritative allocation of values to the company. Outputs are values assigned
authoritarian political system, and these allocations are public policies.
The theory shows that public policy outputs of the political system. The system
concept involves an identifiable set of institutions and activities in a society that works to
make authoritative decisions applications, requiring support from the society.
The system concept imply that system elements are interrelated and that the system
responds to external forces from the environment to preserve. Inputs are received by the
system as requests and support. Applications arise when individuals or groups in
response to real or perceived environmental conditions, act to change public policy.
Support occurs when individuals or groups accept the election results, observe the laws,
pay taxes, public decisions generally comply. A system can absorb a variety of
applications, some of them against conflict.
To make these requests in outputs (policy), have established a number of regulations.
It is recognized that the outputs (public policy) can modify the environment and demands
coming from it. The preserve is producing a reasonable quantity of outputs to meet
various requests, based on commitment and support for the political system and using,
when necessary, force.

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