Application: Public Policy Networks

Typically, it is not one individual or one group who controls the development of policy in a given area, but instead, a collection of individuals or groups called a network. A public policy network is an interconnected system of actors who all play important roles in public policymaking in a particular area. As described in your course text, one common way of conceptualizing public policy networks is as an “iron triangle.” In this model, interest groups lobby for a given policy, a legislative committee creates the policy, and a government agency administers the policy. Each group affects the other at every stage in the policymaking process. However, there are many potential influences beyond this scope that also may be considered part of a public policy network. Political parties, media, courts, research organizations, and even individual leaders or vocal citizens can affect the creation of public policy. Consider, for instance, public policymaking in the area of education. Who might be involved in this public policy network? Teachers’ unions certainly have a stake in the decision-making process, as do the leaders of each state’s board of education. National and state educational associations, parents’ organizations, and the ACLU are just a few examples of additional groups who might want to be heard by the legislative committee creating the policy. Public policies have profound effects on the everyday lives of citizens, so it makes sense that many different groups representing many different interests want to have a say. In this assignment, you examine the network involved in public policymaking in an area of your choice.
The assignment (2 – 3 pages): Due by Sunday 7/05/15.
Consider various public policy areas: energy and environment, health care, foreign policy, economic policy, immigration, industrial relations, transportation, individual freedom, social programs, and national security. Choose one of these areas for further study.
Identify and briefly explain the policy area you selected.
Identify the major actors (individuals, groups, or organizations) that might be involved in this area and explain why they likely are involved and what roles they likely play.
Explain at least one insight you have or conclusion you can draw about public policy networks based on your analysis of your chosen area.
Support your work with specific citations from the Learning Resources. You are allowed to draw from additional sources to support your explanation, but you must cite using APA standards. All quoted material must be identified, cited, and referenced per APA standards.