What is the definition of public policy?


It’s easy to assume that when designers create a product, such as a car, they do it with the goal of pleasing the customer. Any difficult product, however, must be designed to meet the needs of regulators, transporters, assembly line employees, components suppliers, and a slew of other people involved in the manufacturing and shipping process. Manufacturers must also be cognizant of changing consumer preferences: A gas-guzzling sports automobile may appeal to a single twenty-something without children; however, what happens when gas prices fluctuate or the individual marries and has children?

In many ways, the process of developing domestic policy is similar to that of developing foreign policy. Governments, like automakers, must ensure that their citizens have access to a diverse range of goods and services. And, much as in auto businesses, a diverse cast of characters is working to figure out how to achieve it. This method can sometimes result in policies that are beneficial to citizens. However, the policymaking process is frequently hampered by the demands of conflicting interests with differing viewpoints on society’s needs and the role that government should play in satisfying them. To understand why, we must first consider what we mean by the word “public policy.”

Defined Public Policy

One way to think about public policy is as the general method that the government use to accomplish its goals. More precisely, it refers to a reasonably constant series of government measures aimed at addressing issues that affect a specific segment of population. [1] This definition is useful since it clarifies both what public policy is and what it isn’t. First, unlike short-term solutions or single legislative acts, public policy is a guide to legislative action that is more or less fixed for lengthy periods of time. Policy is rarely developed only as a result of a single elected politician’s campaign pledges, even if that elected figure is the president. While elected politicians have a significant role in making policy, the majority of policy results are the result of years of debate, compromise, and refinement, and are only finalised after input from several government institutions, as well as interest groups and the general public.

Take, for example, health-care expansion. A news media follower of politics may conclude that the reforms passed in 2010 were as abrupt as they were broad, having been crafted in the final weeks before their implementation. The truth is that expanding access to health care has been a focus of the Democratic Party for decades. What appeared to be a policy created in a matter of months was actually the result of years of research, reflection on existing policy, and even trial implementation of similar programmes at the state level. Even before the ACA (2010) and the HCERA (2010), which expanded health-care coverage to millions, federal government programmes such as Medicare and Medicaid accounted for more than half of all health-care spending in the United States. During the Democratic administration of Bill Clinton, several House and Senate members from both parties, as well as First Lady Hillary Clinton, suggested considerable expansions in government health-care policy, presenting a variety of possibilities for any ultimate health-care overhaul. [2] Much of what became the Affordable Care Act was based on plans created at the state level, including by Obama’s Republican presidential opponent Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts in 2012. [3]

Public policy, in addition to being intelligent and generally steady, deals with issues that affect a big segment of society rather than ones that just affect individuals or a small group of people. Individual actors such as citizens, corporations, and other countries routinely engage with governments. They may even approve private bills, which are highly specialised pieces of law that grant unique privileges to specific businesses. However, public policy only addresses issues that affect society as a whole or that are of interest to a wider part of the population. Paying off a single person’s loan would not be considered public policy, but implementing a framework for loan forgiveness for certain sorts of borrowers (such as those who serve a public service by becoming teachers) would.

Outcomes of Public Policy

Governments rarely want their policies to be kept hidden. Elected politicians want to be able to take credit for the things they’ve done to aid their voters, and their opponents are quick to point fingers when policies fail. As a result, policy can be seen of as the formal statement of what elected or appointed officials are attempting to achieve. Congress proclaimed its policy by passing the HCERA (2010), which outlined how it would appropriate funds. An executive order, which provides directions on how to apply law at the president’s discretion, can also be used to enact or amend policy. Finally, policy changes might occur from court decisions or judgments, such as Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954), which effectively ended segregation in American schools. [6]