Understanding Public Policy

Week 1 Assignment

Understanding Public Policy

Read the Resource_Article.pdf uploaded with these instructions as it is the basis for the four-page paper.

In a four page APA paper (not including cover and reference pages), address the following:

  • Assess the importance of policy analysis during the development and implementation stages of public policy. 
  • Discuss the social impact of policies.
  • Discuss the limitations policies have on government power. 

Sample paper

Understanding Public Policy Sample paper

Any government whether federal or state government needs top formulates and develops policies that put the interests of the general public into consideration. A good policy helps to bring cohesion, unity, understanding and respect among the citizens of that particular area of jurisdiction. A policy, usually represents a definite course of action selected from alternatives in the light of given conditions to guide and determine decisions regarding the welfare of people. In most cases, policies are made to act as guidelines to achieve a certain objective and task in an organization or an area of jurisdiction. In most cases, public policies contain principles both written and unwritten which uses social laws to achieve their aims (Dunn, 2015). However, political action committee (PAC) has a major role and their contribution influence on legislative behavior and public policy. This essay will attempt to examine various aspects of public policy.

Question 1

Importance of policy analysis during the development and implementation stages

Before implementation, all public policies must undergo through policy analysis that involves the identification of alternative policies that can be used and utilized to accomplish and attain particular goals depending on the correlation between the goals and policies in question. Through policy analysis, members of political action committee evaluate and analyze policy alternatives and provide a recommendation on the most viable policy to achieve the predetermined goals and objectives. Below are some of the importances of policy analysis during development and implementation stages:

Policy analysis allows organized interests such as political action committees to gain access to important decision making as well as the opportunity to present their case to the legislators.  Through this access, the members of the political action committee can craft the most effective policy that can achieve the predetermined goal. However, there is still some disagreement among most scholars over how and whether this access can be used to influence that the policy adopted is the best and has the best interest of the citizens at heart. Policy change and improvement can be achieved through floor voting or systematic approach. Notably, some scholars feel that political action committee or any other member of the public who gains access to this decision-making policy can only influence non-ideological and non-visible issues.

Policy analysis during these two crucial stages also presents an opportunity to both governmental and non-governmental institutions to identify opportunities for improvement. Considering that different people have varied the level of skills and knowledge, as well as different individuals may have a different perception of the same matter, this analysis provides an opportunity for scrutiny. Ideas are welcomed and analyzed on how to improve the already selected best alternative to make it better and more efficient to deliver maximum benefits to most individuals if not all in a particular company (Dye, (2011).). Policy analysis can be perceived as a measurement tool that helps identify weaknesses, strengths, and areas that need improvements. However, the improvement and influence should mainly focus on non-ideological and non-visible issues whole the ideological and visible issues are left in the hands of institutional and constituency factors.

Question 2

Social impacts of policies

Just like any other policy, public policies are likely to influence the lives of the citizens in the country or state in one way or another. These influences and impacts may be political, social or economic and they disrupt the way of life of most people. Social impacts affect the wellbeing of the community and the whole nation or an area of jurisdiction at large by exerting influence on how people relate within a community or a state. Some of the social impacts that result from policy making include:

One of the most common social effects of policies is the disruption of normal community functions considering that most of these public policies are formulated and developed to address issues affecting the members of the public. Government issues are meant to make the lives of the citizens better by protecting them from both internal and external attacks, improving delivery of healthcare services as well as the provision of quality education.  The primary aim of public policies is to bring social equality and to ensure that every citizen is given equal opportunity to participate and contribute to the political, economical and social development of the society. For this to be possible, the government has to re-engineer and restructure all government processes to make them more efficient and effective thus disrupting the social structure of the society.

Moreover, public policies increase social awareness of the rights of citizens. Through public policies, the government can increase consumer protection and improve the quality of the goods and services produced by manufacturers in a country. Most are the times when the consumer is left alone in the hands of greedy producers and investors who would embrace any opportunity to oppress consumers. However, with good public policies, the government has an opportunity to protect consumers against high prices, low-quality products, and low quantity protects (Dye, (2011).). Thus, the policies aids in bringing equality and consistency in all products that are consumed in the country by formulating standards through which the quality and quantity of the products and services produced can be measured.

There is a close relationship between some of the social impacts of the policies formulated and economic impacts. Through the provision of quality education leads to the creation of a pool of skilled and educated population with the necessary abilities to reduce unemployment and improve the lives of all citizens. The more educated the population is, the more the likelihood of increasing their unity and the more the probability of improving their social status.

Question 3

Limitations of policies on government power

Notably, one arm of the government (legislation) has the sole responsibility of formulating these public policies; but these policies can limit the power of the government in various ways. Due to the complexity of political, economical as well as social needs of the have limited the power most of the governments had in past years. With public and community participation, the public policies are keen to give the public an opportunity to participate in the running of the government through events such as a referendum. This clearly shows that the authoritative function and the role of the government is being taken over by the public and the community (Dunn, 2015). On the other hand, the rise of stakeholders such as interest groups and pressure groups puts the government in a check by ensuring that it does not use excess power over the citizens.  In conclusion, it is correct to say that public policy is part and parcel of a developed society and every citizen has a right to participate in the formulation and development of all the policies that affects their lives whether politically, economically or socially. 


Dunn, W. N. (2015). Public policy analysis. . Routledge.

Dye, T. R. ((2011).). Understanding public policy (13th ed.). Longman Pearson Prentice Hall.