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Evaluating the Policy

Moving from Problem Analysis to Policy Analysis:

So far, the focus of your analysis has been on the problem its nature, evidence of its extent and its causes. Now, you are ready to begin to analyze the major public policy that was enacted to attempt to deal with your social problem. Be sure to select a policy that matches the scope of the problem. For example, if in step 1 you focused on problems during the 1780ís resulting from the lack of a national executive office to enforce the laws, then you would select Article II of the new Constitution rather than the entire Constitution. On the other hand, if you discussed the various problems related to an overall weak central government during that time, then your policy solution would be the Constitution.

Worksheet4: "Evaluate the Policy"(HTML Version)
Worksheet4: "Evaluate the Policy"(MSWORD Version)


Introduction to Benefits and Costs:

The policy that you select was enacted because it was hoped that it would bring about good or desirable consequences. These good consequences are called benefits. That policy may have also resulted in some bad or undesirable consequences. These are called costs. The process of studying the benefits and costs of a public policy is called evaluation.

Evaluating a public policy can be done when formulating a policy. It can also be applied to current or historical policies. Failure to evaluate policies hurts policy-making in several ways:

  • Policies that do not work may be continued
  • Policies that do work may be discontinued
  • Potential lessons from our mistakes are lost
  • Policy makers are not held accountable for what they do

NEXT: Identifying Benefits