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Assessment of Various Theoretical Models in Making Public Policy

Updated on June 15, 2017

Various models of policy making may perform differently in different types of situations. Some models may suit certain kinds of situation while other models may perform best in other situations. In other words, instead of recognizing or eliminating such public policy making model, we may assess the type of situation wherein a model can perform very well and the situations wherein the same type of model is insufficient. This evaluation does not only analyze the two models of public policy making but also assess if such model comprehensively explains how the policy is made. The assessment will begin in the classical model called Rational Decision Making.

Rational Decision Making consists of theoretical properties. Its assumptions are generally described as rationality and simplicity. Using this theory, policy making is more on rationalizations. The value function of this model is constant and integrated. This model assumes comprehensive knowledge about the alternatives and the environment. Rational Model use simple decision rules such as mini-regret rules and maximization of predicted value. It has a high deductive power. The disadvantage of this model is it lacks behavioral realism. The assumptions made are hardly ever fulfilled which results to a low degree of verification. Clearly, in such complex situations, rational decision making model alone is not recommended as a policy making model. The Rational Decision making model may be applied for some simple situations and rationalizations are essentially enough. Thus, the RDM should be combined with another model which is the G.C. Model in making public policies

The second one is the so-called G.C. model, which is the opposite of rational decision making model. This was originally developed for individual choice behavior. The G.C. Model is the result of the awareness some events in which the RDM model fails to foreseen, also called as “uncertainties”.

However like the rational model, the garbage can model’s theoretical simplicity is appealing. This type of model has been used by a range of organizations, not only in the government category. If the rational decision making model suffers for too much theoretical content, the Garbage Can focuses more on too high value of descriptive pragmatism or behavioral realism. For instance the RDM usually states an organizational choice is irrational if does not meet its criteria and predicted results instead of analyzing it the other way around unlike the GCM. In terms of criteria of deductive capability, rational decision making is much stronger, while in the garbage can model wherein the implications are far from evident. That is the GC Model’s disadvantage. How can we deduce both rational and irrational actions of the environment using GCM? But the GCM raises more questions, at the same time coming up more answers from the people who are making policies out of the GCM. However in some instances, most of these questions answered are not enough in order to make an agreeable public policy. Furthermore there should be also some rationalizations in making such policies combined with behavioral realism or the so-called analysis on the other way around.


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