Kingdon Policy Streams

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Retrieved from www.csus.edu/mppa/syllabi/s2002/.../ppa210wk2kingdongoo d.ppt.

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Kingdon: Policy Streams and Windows of Opportunity:

Kingdon: Policy Streams and Windows of Opportunity We need a more systematic way of looking at public policy making in the U.S. that really takes into account the intricacies of the process .

Kingdon focuses on agenda setting, but really it’s about more than that:

Kingdon focuses on agenda setting, but really it’s about more than that Because what’s considered, and what’s considered seriously, strongly influences what’s actually adopted. “The Agenda, as I conceive of it, is the list of subjects or problems to which governmental officials, and people outside of government closely associated with those officials, are paying some serious attention at any given time.” (Kingdon, p. 3)

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Governmental Agenda : “The list of subjects or problems that are getting attention” (Kingdon, p. 4) Decision Agenda : “The list of subjects within the governmental agenda that are up for active decision” (p. 4) AGENDAS

PowerPoint Presentation:

“The president, the Congress, bureaucrats in the executive branch, and various forces outside the government (including the media, interest groups, political parties, and the general public) could all be sources of agenda items and alternatives.” (Kingdon, p. 16)

Sources of Agenda Items:

Sources of Agenda Items Congress Events and Crises Executive Branch Public Campaign Promises President Parties Interest Groups Media How much impact does each of these have on the formulation of the policy agenda?

Kingdon addresses::

Kingdon addresses: The participants (entrepreneur’s?) Inside and outside the arena Visible and hidden The processes: Problem, policy and the political These processes are both opportunities and constrains on public policy The actors in this model are also factors of opportunity and constraint

Agenda vs. Alternatives:

Agenda vs. Alternatives Agenda: the list of subjects or problems to which governmental officials, and people outside of government closely associated with those officials, are paying some serious attention at any given time. Alternatives: the set of specific policy options under consideration by those paying serious attention at any given time.

Example 1: Clinton Health Care Initiative :

Example 1: Clinton Health Care Initiative

Example 2: Bush Educational Voucher Proposal:

Example 2: Bush Educational Voucher Proposal

Key Points:

Key Points President gets lots of attention Point about the executive establishment developing alternatives is false; these have been floated for a long time, and in both examples the alternatives were merely “borrowed” Kingdon’s point: the President is more important in agenda setting, than for developing/determining alternatives. A President cannot hold an item on the agenda for long

Kingdon’s Streams and Windows:

Kingdon’s Streams and Windows

Problem Stream:

Problem Stream Contains the questions and issues to be addressed by government Its direction may be affected by a crisis or prominent event

Policy Stream:

Policy Stream Ideas float in this stream like noodles in a primeval policy soup This stream includes policy entrepreneurs and policy analysts The stream swells with the “gradual accumulation of knowledge and perspectives among the specialists in a given policy area.” (Kingdon, p. 17).

Politics Stream:

Politics Stream This stream contains the institutions and politicians who decide on policy “Swings of national mood, vagaries of public opinion, election results, changes of administration, and turnover in congress all may have powerful effects.” (Kingdon, p. 17) “The greatest policy changes grow out of that coupling of problems, policy proposals, and politics.” (Kingdon, p. 19).

Kingdon views such a confluence in terms of the opening of “policy windows.”:

Kingdon views such a confluence in terms of the opening of “policy windows.”

“Solutions become joined to problems, and both of them are joined to favorable political forces. This coupling is most likely when policy windows – opportunities for pushing pet projects or conceptions of problems – are open.” (Kingdon, p. 20).:

“Solutions become joined to problems, and both of them are joined to favorable political forces. This coupling is most likely when policy windows – opportunities for pushing pet projects or conceptions of problems – are open.” (Kingdon, p. 20).

“People who are trying to advocate change are like surfers waiting for the big wave. You get out there, you have to be ready to go, you have to be ready to paddle.” (p. 165):

“People who are trying to advocate change are like surfers waiting for the big wave. You get out there, you have to be ready to go, you have to be ready to paddle.” (p. 165)

Players both inside and outside the policy process:

Players both inside and outside the policy process Who are they? What impact do they have on the Process?

“The Administration”:

“The Administration” Chief Executive Executive Staff Appointees Chief Executive largely influences agenda, lower-level staff influence alternatives.

Bureaucracy:

Bureaucracy No impact on agenda; focus on implementation

Capitol Hill (Legislative):

Capitol Hill (Legislative) Legislators Staff Impact seen on both agendas and alternatives

Interest Groups:

Interest Groups Popularly viewed as setting the agenda Actually, they are more prominent at blocking agenda items and shaping alternatives (policy formation)

Academics, Researchers, Consultants:

Academics, Researchers, Consultants Impact alternatives Greater long-term impact on attitudes

Media:

Media Along w/ interest groups, viewed as agenda setters. Not the case Key communicators in policy community Magnify moments (expansion of conflict)

Elections-Related Participants:

Elections-Related Participants Elections Campaigns Parties Focus here is on the agenda

Public Opinion:

Public Opinion Positive and negative influences Negative effects more prominent – constraint Cannot readily affect policy formation

“Public Opinion may set limits on the possibilities and may affect an agenda of subjects in a general way, but the general public opinion is rarely well enough formed to directly affect an involved debate among policy specialists over which alternatives should be seriously considered.” (p. 66):

“Public Opinion may set limits on the possibilities and may affect an agenda of subjects in a general way, but the general public opinion is rarely well enough formed to directly affect an involved debate among policy specialists over which alternatives should be seriously considered.” (p. 66)

Visible and Hidden participants:

Visible and Hidden participants Visible: Legislators, appointees, chief executives, media, parties and campaigns Hidden: Academics, researchers, bureaucrats, staff, low-level appointees Interest Groups: Float between the two

Ideas Can Come from Anywhere:

Ideas Can Come from Anywhere There is no one origin for policy ideas A complex combination of factors is general responsible for the movement of an item onto the agenda Checks and Balances Nobody controls the information system

Rationalism vs. Incrementalism:

Rationalism vs. Incrementalism Comprehensive, rational decision making does not describe the policy process accurately. Small, incremental change more accurately describes the process (Charles Lindblom) Works well for alternatives; Does not describe agenda change very well, however.

Garbage Cans:

Garbage Cans “Organized Anarchies” and Government