Policy theories are academic models that seek to understand why some public policies are implemented or not implemented. Those concerned with an analysis of public policy use policy theories to understand the intersection of policy-making and public policy. Whereas there are many, many different policy theories; you will focus on elite theory, group theory, and institutional theory.

  • Elite theory is premised on the idea that a small group of elites affect public policies. These elites could further understand as political elites (important members of government), social elites (movie stars, musicians, athletes, etc.), or economic elites (Wall Street, the 1%, etc.).
  • Group theory is premised on the idea that groups of individuals advocate a common, public policy concern, that then affects public policy. Groups span the political, economic, and social public policy spectrum. Here are a couple of groups that advocate particular, public policies: pro-life advocates (Susan B Anthony List), pro-choice advocates (Planned Parenthood), gun rights advocates (National Rifle Association), and gun control advocates (Everytown for Gun Safety.)
  • Institutional theory is premised on the idea that institutions affect public policies. Whereas government (both in the capacity of federalism and the executive, legislative, and judicial branches) is typically the focus of institutional theorists; other institutions such as corporations, non-profits, political parties, etc., can also affect public policy. It is the collective interaction of these various institutions that results in policy formation. *See the Unit 4 Overview for a detailed example how Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) resulted from an amalgamation of institutional input.

Directions: Using the following outline template, craft a full sentence outline. Lumen’s Principles of Public Speaking has an excellent example of a full sentence outline. Please include the following:

  • Select two specific examples of public policy from one of the following fields:
    • Economic policy
      • An example of economic policy is U.S. budget deficit spending.
    • Education policy
      • An example of education policy is the implementation of national education standards.
    • Environmental policy
      • An example of environmental policy is the Clean Air Act.
    • Foreign policy
      • An example of foreign policy is how we conduct trade with other countries.
    • Healthcare policy
      • An example of healthcare policy is the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)
    • Welfare policy
      • An example of welfare policy is Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
    • For each example, explain how this public policy can be analyzed by one of the following policy theories: elite theory, group theory, and/or institutional theory.
    • Why is your chosen policy choice better than the other theories?
      • Support your response with at least two different reasons.
    • What are the strengths and/or flaws of using this policy theory within your example?
      • Support your response with at least two different examples.
    • How does your chosen, policy theory inform the policy cycle within your example?
  • Support your examples with information from the text and at least two, additional academic sources.
  • Correct grammar and syntax.
  • APA format.

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