POLICY ANALYSIS WHAT IS IT? HOW DO WE DO IT? WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
POLICY ANALYSIS Policy analysis is the process of clarifying a messy policy challenge, analyzing relevant information including information on the specific context of the problem, clarifying, playing out the implications of and weighing options for action, making recommendations, and, in some cases, developing a strategic plan for implementation.
BASIC STEPS IN POLICY ANALYSIS 1.Define the problem 2.Assemble evidence 3.Construct the alternatives 4.Select the criteria 5.Project the outcomes 6.Confront the trade-offs 7.Decide 8.Tell your story ********** 9.Develop an implementation strategy
POLICY ANALYSIS IS A PROCESS Linear Some steps, by definition, must precede other steps. i.e., begin by defining the problem Iterative As you move through the steps, it will be useful to revisit earlier steps and clarify your thinking
STRATEGIES FOR CLARIFYING THE PROBLEM Bardach provides hints Think of deficits and excesses Make the definition evaluative Quantify the problem if possible Iterate between problem definition and ideal state/goal Dont build solutions into policy problems; keep an open mind as long as possible Important to place the problem definition in the context of the situation you are addressing but not to get too bogged down in specifics.
Begin with a hypothesis A topic might already have an answer because of legislation or some other kind of mandate. Focus on strategy and develop your questions 1.What is the status quo? What is the target? 2.What services / professional resources exist to support the status quo? How can they be leveraged for the target? 3.Who are the stakeholders? What are the costs and benefits?
Best Practices Model Identify the Best Practice models for similar programs. Compare the existing model to those Best Practice alternatives Make recommendations to bring the existing model to the level of Best Practice Address issues of implementation and assessment/evaluation short term, medium term and long term
ASSEMBLE SOME EVIDENCE What evidence do you need? Assess the nature and extent of the problem Assess the particular features of the policy situation you are studying? Assess your policy options? What data do you need to do this? Where do you get the data? Data and evidence in the case study What additional evidence, if any, would you want?
CHALLENGES TO ASSEMBLING EVIDENCE Limits on your time Develop a calendar; work back from the due date; determine how much time you have for each component of the project Lack of access to data or individuals You lack the skills to access it (i.e., language) There is an unwillingness to provide the data or access to the data to you Confidentiality issues Poor data quality
CONSTRUCT ALTERNATIVES Begin with as wide a range of policy options as you can develop Include do nothing In the case of your HKS assignment, this will not be an option but it is the necessary counterfactual for the evaluation Strategies for developing options What other professional schools doing? What are the courses at HKS that offer a model? Try to model the process and identify strategies Categorize and combine options You want to have distinct options for comparison
SELECT THE CRITERIA FOR CHOOSING AMONG OPTIONS What values or outcomes do you want to maximize? Minimize? What political, financial and other constraints does your client face? PEST / SWOT analysis and ease of implementation
PROJECT THE OUTCOMES Play out each option. What is likely to happen? What are the costs? Benefits? Challenges to implementation? Draw on logic, the experiences of others in similar and/or comparable situations. Have other individuals or organizations tried to do this before? What was the outcome? Why? Consider confidence intervals/margins of error around your projections The what if scenario construction process, including both the best case and worst case scenarios Construct PEST matrix
CONFRONT TRADE-OFFS Normally there is no obvious best solution? Each option normally has plusses and minuses Values often conflict Consider strategies for comparing across multiple dimensions Sometimes weighting the criteria helps. Graphing may help Assessing implementation capacity helps The Strategic Triangle is a useful heuristic
MAKE A RECOMMENDATION Bob Behns yesable proposition
TELL YOUR STORY Clarity and precision of language Structure of document and lay out of pages Use of graphs, charts and pictures vs. words Visual presentation of document
DONT IGNORE A STRATEGY FOR IMPLEMENTATION AND ASSESSMENT Issues to address over the short- term, medium-term and long-term Useful alliances and pitfalls to avoid Implementation across the continuum of a process