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Public Policy

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Comparing public policies in the six countries studied
in AP Comparative Government
By Karen Waples
Cherry Creek High School
Public Policy Making Includes:
• A set of issues or problems
• The individuals and groups who seek to
influence policy making
• The decisions made by the state as a result
• The consequences of those decisions
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Example: China’s One Child Policy
• Was designed to address rapid population growth
• Was devised by the Chinese Government
• Provided incentives to couples that limited their
families to one child.
• Imposed penalties on families that exceeded this
limit.
*Some exceptions were made for ethnic minorities.
*Was successful in reducing China’s population growth
rate.
What do you think?
What will be the most important consequence of the
One Child Policy for China in the future?
a.
b.
c.
d.
Improved economic performance
The creation of a generation that is
individualistic and self-centered
An economic strain on Chinese families
who must provide care for elderly
relatives
A shift away from a culture of
communalism and toward a culture of
consumerism
Policy Making
6 Countries: UK, Russia,
Nigeria, China, Iran &
Mexico
The policy making process can differ in:
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•
Democratic and authoritarian states
Developed and developing countries
Unitary and Federal systems
Parliamentary and Presidential systems
Health Care Policies
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•
•
•
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Governments must consider:
What should be the government’s role, if
any, in providing health care to citizens?
Who will qualify?
What levels of service will be provided?
How much will it cost?
Who will bear these costs?
UK: National Health System
(NHS)
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• Provides most health care free of cost to its
residents.
• According to the World Health Organization, the
United Kingdom ranks 18 in health systems.
Major Criticisms:
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• the burgeoning cost of health care
• the long wait time for diagnosis and treatment
What do you think?
Which of the following is the best policy to address
the issues facing NHS?
a. Require British citizens to pay a portion of
their health care costs.
b. Privatize the entire system.
c. Continue to provide free health care but
streamline the system to cut red tape.
d. Provide citizens with basic preventative
care, but require payment for specialized
care.
Russian health care
system
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• Provides, at least in theory, free health care to all
citizens.
• According to the World Health Organization, Russia
ranks 130 in health systems.
Major Criticisms:
• Corruption is widespread.
• Alcoholism and heart disease rates are high.
What do you think? Which of the following is the best
policy to improve the Russian health care system?
a. Require Russian citizens to pay a portion of
their health care costs.
b. Privatize the entire system.
c. Crack down on corruption.
d. Focus on overall economic growth to improve
the Russian economy as a whole.
What do you think? Both the UK and Russia provide free health
care, yet the results of these systems are very different. Which
factor best explains these differences?
a.
b.
c.
d.
Russia has a political culture where corruption
is an accepted part of the system, while the
United Kingdom is much less corrupt.
Democratic policymaking in the United
Kingdom has resulted in better health care
policy than the authoritarian nature of Russian
policymaking.
The United Kingdom is a developed country,
and Russia has never caught up to the level of
development in Western Europe.
Citizens of the United Kingdom have higher
expectations of government than Russian
citizens.
Health Care Policies: HIV/AIDS Crisis
Nigeria & Russia: Ticking
Time Bombs
In making HIV/AIDS policies, government
must consider:
• Education and prevention programs
• Diagnosis and treatment
*An effective HIV/AIDS policy cannot be developed
until the state acknowledges the problem.
Nigeria:
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• Healthcare is provided by a patchwork of
national, state and local governments,
private insurance, and NGOs.
• The availability of heath care depends on
location, and many rural areas lack even
the most basic health care.
• Nigeria ranks 187 in health care.
• Nigeria faces an HIV/AIDS crisis.
What do you think?
Which of the following policies would be the most effective in
stemming the effects of HIV/AIDS crisis in Nigeria?
a.
b.
c.
d.
Improve rural healthcare.
Improve HIV/AIDS education programs.
Reduce government corruption.
Acknowledge the problem and request
international aid.
Russia
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• People who are HIV-positive are entitled to
free treatment, but there is a big gap
between policy and implementation due to
lack of funds.
• The virus is spreading among the general
population, but many Russians do not feel
that they are at risk. They view the disease
as a problem facing only sex workers and
drug users.
What do you think?
Which of the following policies would be the most effective in
stemming the effects of HIV/AIDS crisis in Russia?
a. Provide more funding for local HIV/AIDS Centers.
b. Improve HIV/AIDS education programs.
c. Negotiate with Western drug companies for lower
prices.
d. Provide government funding for the production of
drugs within Russia.
What do you think? Both Russia and Nigeria face an HIV/AIDS
crisis. Which statement best explains why such different states
are facing similar policy challenges?
a. Both countries lack economic
resources.
b. Both countries ignored the problem until
it became a crisis.
c. The political culture in both countries
causes most citizens to avoid talking
about the problem.
d. Both governments feared losing
legitimacy if they acknowledge the
extent of the disease.
Environmental Policymaking
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All states face a classic trade off between economic growth and
environmental protection policies.
пЃ¶ These countries in
particular, have suffered
severe environmental
damage, partly as a result
of their economic policies.
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•
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China
Russia
Iran
Mexico
Nigeria
“China is choking on its own success.”
-As China Roars, Pollution Reaches Deadly Extremes
• Environmental damage is
catastrophic.
• Cancer is the leading cause
of death.
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• As a result, China has developed policies to improve
the environment, including numerical targets for
reducing emissions and conserving energy.
• Most of these targets have gone unmet; the leaders of
China are “either unwilling or unable to make
fundamental changes.”
• Failure to improve the environment may lead to a loss
of legitimacy, but the same thing might happen if
economic growth rates slow.
What do you think?
China’s policy for green GDP failed. Which of the following
statements describes the most important reason for this failure?
a. The policy was window dressing, and
Chinese leadership never really
supported green initiatives.
b. Corruption at the local levels hinders
enforcement of environmental policies.
c. The results of environmental research
were so sobering that the project was
banished due to the negative publicity it
would generate.
d. Sweeping edicts are too broad to
generate effective environmental policy.
In Iran, environmental policy has taken a back seat to
economic development.
• Environmental degradation
is often a characteristic of
authoritarian governments,
where the state takes a
preeminent role in
economic development.
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Example:
• The government diverted
water for the Sivand Dam
against the protests of
environmental and heritage
activists and at the risk of
damaging historical sites
and natural habitat.
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What do you think?
Is environmental degradation more likely in authoritarian
systems? Which statement best describes your opinion?
a. Yes, authoritarian governments are more
interested in maintaining economic
performance and legitimacy than they are in
the health and well-being of their citizens.
b. No. Most governments are more focused on
economic growth than on the environment,
whether or not they are authoritarian.
c. Yes, because authoritarian government rarely
face repercussions for environmental damage.
d. No. Most environmental damage is the result
of an international economy where
corporations are able to avoid regulation in a
“race to the bottom.”
Mexico, a democratic country, has traded economic
development for environmental protection.
• The PROAIRE program was
created to forge a sense of
community participation in
preserving the environment and
health.
• Although Mexico still faces an
environmental crisis, the program
has helped shape the discussion
about its long term air quality
policy and programs.
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What do you think?
Which country will face the greatest loss of legitimacy
as a result of environmental damage?
a.
b.
c.
d.
Iran
China
Mexico
None of these countries will face a serious
challenge to its legitimacy
Education Policy
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Education policy poses several challenges
for the state.
• A well-educated population is
needed to keep up with the global
economy.
• However, a well-educated
population can pose a challenge
to the state’s authority, especially
when jobs are not available to
graduates.
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States must make decisions about whether to
subsidize education and at what level.
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• For example: providing a free college
education is expensive for the state and may
result in a loss of access for all but the most
talented (or well connected) students.
Case Study: Nigeria
• Nigeria provides students with
free college education, but
state subsidies per student
are low and so are professors’
salaries.
• Access is limited to those
students who score extremely
well on national tests.
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What do you think?
Is there a better education policy for Nigeria?
a. No. At least the state pays for the most talented
young people to attend college.
b. Yes. Women are underrepresented, and this is a
waste of a valuable human resource.
c. Yes. More colleges should be built, and students
should be required to pay tuition. This would open
access to more students.
d. No. By opening access to students who can
afford to pay for college, Nigeria will also be
opening the door for less talented students whose
families can afford to pay tuition.
Case Study: United Kingdom
• The UK subsidizes
education to a certain
extent.
• In 2010 tuition was raised
from 3,000 to 5,000 pounds
per year.
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Critics claim:
• The increased costs will shut the doors to higher
education for the middle class.
• There is a growing concern that incoming students
are ill-prepared for college and lack the study and
analytical skills necessary to succeed.
What do you think?
Was the tuition increase a wise public policy for the
conservative government to enact?
a. Yes. The system was a drain on the
state’s budget.
b. Yes. This will make students appreciate
education more, because they will be
more invested in doing well.
c. No. This will prevent talented students
from attending college.
d. No. This will undermine the legitimacy of
the government.
Policy Making in the Comparative Context
• Public policy is important.
• Most states face similar problems that
demand the attention of policy makers.
• By comparing public policies we can learn
more about how systems function.
• The consequences of public policy impact
the state’s legitimacy and its reputation in
the global community.
Bibliography:
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Aids in Nigeria: the ticking time bomb, Africa Economic Analysis.
http://www.afbis.com/analysis/aids_nigeria.htm
As China Roars, Pollution Reaches Deadly Extremes. The New York Times.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/26/world/asia/26china.html
Country Higher Education Profiles: Nigeria. The Boston College Center for Higher
Education. http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/soe/cihe/inhea/profiles/Nigeria.htm
Despite oil wealth, Russia faces huge health care problems, The New York Times.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/28/business/worldbusiness/28ihtrusshealth.4.6394606.html
Hauss, Charles. Comparative Politics: Domestic Responses to Global
Challenges, 6th ed. Cengage Learning. Belmont, CA. 2009
Iran: Environment Takes a Back Seat To Development Plans. Radio Free
Europe. http://www.rferl.org/content/article/1078370.html
Kesselman, et al. Introduction to Compartive Politics, 5th ed. Wadsworth.
Boston, MA. 2009
NHS “to undergo radical overhaul.” BBC News Health, July 12, 2010.
http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1916570,00.html
Russia’s Aids time bomb. BBC News
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3284141.stm
Taking Care of Air Pollution in Mexico City. International Development Research
Center. http://www.idrc.ca/en/ev-31594-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html
Top universities want higher fees.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/education/10119279.stm
Tuition fee increase to L5,000 by 2010 predicted. The Guardian.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2006/feb/09/highereducation.tuitionfees
Electronic Resources:
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New York Times. Times Topics
http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/reference/timestopics/index.html?s
cp=1-spot&sq=times%20topics&st=cse.
Library of Congress. Country Studies. http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/
Frontline. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/
Foreign Policy. http://www.foreignpolicy.com/
PBS Wide Angle. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/
CIA World Factbook. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/theworld-factbook/
World Health Organization. Countries.
http://www.who.int/countries/en/
WHO Country Profiles of Environmental Burden of Disease.
http://www.who.int/quantifying_ehimpacts/national/countryprofile/e
n/index.html
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