Public Policy Analysis

This chapter focuses on the different evaluative criteria commonly used in policy analysis and includes, but is not limited to effectiveness, equity, personal freedom, political and technical feasibility which weaves up the tapestry of policy analysis process and policy making. Among the different evaluative criteria as described in this chapter, four of the most important are Effectiveness, Cost, Benefits and Efficiency, Equity, and Ethics. In evaluative criteria, effectiveness is basically used as a tool to measure and test the productivity level of the project or plan.

It is one of the most important because it is crucial to the success of the end results in any policy making. It is the process that examines if a particular project is moving forward and is used to help achieve the desired results. Effectiveness is the stepping stone of the bridge that will bring the policy to success – or make it a failure. The use of cost-effectiveness analysis can be used as an evaluative tool for finding the alternative method that can accomplish the same, specified goal at a lowest cost. As an evaluative criterion, cost and benefits can be used as a measure of efficiency, (Kraft & Furlong, 2006).

In benefit- cost analysis, we use a systematic analysis of the value of the benefits and cost o fan alternative method as a ways to compare efficiency of alternative course of actions. Efficiency is the ratio of benefits to cost that was measured from the benefit-cost analysis. Cost effective analysis is a tool that finds an alternative version which could accomplish the same specific goal at minimal cost – similar to generic medicines that offer lower prices for the same amount of active ingredients, (Kraft & Furlong, 2006).

Equity, on the other hand, refers to providing a minimal level of benefit or a maximum level of cost across people, groups, and places. It entails providing a fair distribution of resources, and answers the question of who benefits and who pays. Equity has at least two meanings, one focuses on fairness, and the other is on result distribution, (Kraft & Furlong, 2006). Evaluative criteria are important not only in the dimensions of policy’s objectives by also in the options of value, or comparing what they can provide versus what the tradeoffs is in regards to the policy being enacted.

As with any policy, the tradeoffs must be measured and compared with the benefits of the criterion. It is no different in the evaluated criteria’s mentioned above. Some pitfalls with the cost and benefits criterion is that the cost may either be ignoring all together or being counted only a portion of the total cost or benefit of the program and leaving out other components. Cost and benefits are often ignored if it falls outside of a client’s concern. Some areas of cost are hard to measure because not all can be measured in terms of monetary values.

For instance, human life and dignity is not easily measurable. When equity is used as an evaluative criterion; it often clashes with efficiency programs and can be viewed at with negativity in some governmental sponsored programs. In ethics, the tradeoff as an evaluative criterion is that it is often ignored and may not always be considered “rational” or could be based on biases. There are many issues that demand such considerations when it comes to immeasurable principles such as in one’s freedom and liberty, (Kraft & Furlong, 2006).

When ethics is use as an evaluation method, issues are often raised as a result. It is at times problematic to perform an ethical analysis. However, it is necessary to fully understand the consequences of an action, (Kraft & Furlong, 2006). Thus, when using criteria’s such as effective, cost – benefits to measure efficiency, equity, or ethics as an evaluative tool, it is best to analyze the benefits and trade off of each particular area with detail and clarity. Work Cited: Kraft, Michael E. , and Scott R. Furlong. Public Policy Politics, Analysis, And Alternatives. New York: CQ P, 2006.