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Policy Paradox Stone (2002)

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  1. Policy ParadoxStone (2002) Chapter 12: Rules John Hance Amy Hager Haichang Xin Ife Nelson

  2. Outline • Sources of Rules • Function of Rules • How a Rule Works • Political Nature of Rules • What Comprises a Good Rule • Perverse Incentives • Enforceability of Rules • Informal vs. Formal Rules

  3. RULES • Policy-making relies heavily on official rules • Laws = Rules

  4. Sources of Rules Examples of Society’s Many Rules • Rules by Legislative bodies: Statutory Law • Rules by Administrative bodies: Regulations • Rules by Courts: Common Law • Rules outlined by the United States Constitution

  5. Function of Rules • Some rules mandate behavior

  6. Function of Rules • Some rules confer power (i.e. President of the United States is Commander in Chief)

  7. How a Rule Works • Rules are intended to induce compliance • Rules derive their enormous power from legitimacy- in that they are perceived as good and right (why do people obey the speed limit in a school zone?)

  8. How a Rule Works • Rules generally have 2 parts: 1) They prescribe certain actions to be taken 2) Within certain contexts or situations

  9. How a Rule Works 1) Prescribe actions to be taken • Formulated as “if…….then” statements i.e. IF you hunt deer THEN you can only do it between the months of October and January. • IF you beat the best team to ever play college basketball, THEN you CANNOT rush the court or your school will be fined $25,000

  10. How a Rule Works 2) Within certain contexts or situations • Context (rules depend on context) Kissing a child is a loving expression when performed by the child’s parents, but kissing a child is molestation when performed by a stranger. • The Gators will only rush a court or field after winning the NATIONAL TITLE

  11. The Political Nature of Rules • Rules INCLUDE and EXCLUDE • Rules UNITE and DIVIDE i.e. Those treated favorably by a rule and those NOT treated favorably by a rule • Thus, rules create alliances

  12. In Search of Good Rules • The tension between precision and flexibility • The essence of precision is that both actions and contexts can be described without ambiguity

  13. Advantages of Precision (Precise Rules) • With precision the argument is that like cases will be treated alike (Consistency is Fair) • Precise rules are said to insulate people from the whims, prejudices, predilections and moods of officials • Precise rules provide predictability • Symbolize the Rule of Law

  14. Disadvantages of Precision (Precise Rules) • Rules cannot be perfectly tailored to individual circumstances • Precise rules stifle creative responses to new situations (we can never fully anticipate future circumstances- making it difficult to form rules or laws that account for new facts, technologies and context)

  15. In Search of Good Rules • Must select some feature of a rule as a basis (a process of line-drawing) • Vague Rules are GOOD and BAD • The vagueness of rules leads to a large amount of discretion

  16. Making Rules in the Polis • People try to shape rules to accomplish public and private purposes • There is a tension between precision and vagueness

  17. Making Rules in the Polis • When rules are made, they are usually driven toward vagueness • Rules arise from crises or problems • Social Security Act (Great Depression) • Food and Drug Administration (Upton Sinclair’s expose and thalidomide disaster) • Civil Rights Legislation (marches, demonstrations, and urban riots) • US Constitution (Colonial Rebellion and the need for order after loss of government) • Declaration of Independence (“injuries and usurpations” of the King)

  18. The Origin of Rules • Crises affect points of view • Create a mentality of absolute prevention (“that kind of tragedy” must never happen again) • Unites communities • Makes people temporarily forget about other conflicts • Leads to a desire for wholesale solutions (“fix the problem”) and politicians follow with vague, grandiose responses

  19. Democracy and Legislators • Formal rules are negotiated in elected legislative bodies by representatives of affected interests • These bodies have characteristics that lead to vague legislation • Legislator desire for reelection • Must face conflicts with opposing constituency, and within own constituency • When there is a need for substantive rules, ambiguity is often used

  20. Rules and Tension • There is always some pressure on rules from evasion and disobedience • Stems from the idea that rules are made to prevent people from doing things they would otherwise do (or vice versa) • Interplay between those they govern and those who enforce them • From this, perverse incentives arise

  21. Perverse Incentives • Incentives unwittingly built into a rule to comply with it in a way that creates new problems or exacerbates the existing problem • Textile factories given production targets in terms of meters of cloth • Medicare payments on basis of average durations and Tx’s for categories of diseases • Hospital’s respond by reporting some patients as having more severe types of diseases, or discharge when patients are not ready to leave

  22. Perverse Incentive in Practice

  23. Rules and Different Dimensions • Where there are multiple goals or we care about several dimensions, rules governing only one dimension may distort behavior by forcing behavior in a separate dimension • State that restricts drinking to age 21 might force younger people to go to more lenient states • Strong minimum wage laws might push businesses elsewhere to alleviate the stress of the imposed rule

  24. Negative Aspects of Rules • Perverse Incentives will never be eliminated • Perverse Incentives are the result of poorly designed rules to some extent, but at the same time, people will always shirk and cut corners

  25. Rules Are Evolving • Rules are continually changing depending on the relevant facts, values and norms

  26. The Enforceability of Rules

  27. Enforceability of Rules

  28. The Enforceability of Rules • Official rules are backed by sanctions such as fines, revocation of privileges or imprisonment

  29. Informal vs. Formal Rules

  30. Formal Rules • A formal rule is concrete, specific and enforceable • You may not purchase tobacco products unless you are 18 years of age

  31. Informal Rules • Informal rules are not explicitly enforced and they generally represent implied social norms (Hance et. al) • Informal rules are heuristics or rules of thumb • Covering your mouth when you cough • Chewing with your mouth closed

  32. Rules Questions?