Using Quality of Life in Public Policy

  • Ryan M. Yonk
  • Josh T. Smith
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Political Science book series (BRIEFSPOLITICAL)


Every discussion of public policy could begin with a story, more illustrative than concrete, of a town plagued by rats. The rats, which had not been a problem at first, slowly evolved from nuisance to full vexation. The problem grew worse and worse as the rats broke into food stores and brought disease into the town. In an attempt to solve the problem, the city government offered a bounty for each rat tail brought to city hall. Soon people began bringing rat tails and walking out with their bounty. As the tails piled up, it seemed hard to doubt the program would soon solve the rat problem, but months went by with little improvement. The city’s council met again to consider additional solutions and to consider the flaws in their previous plan. At their meeting one member brought out a cage of rats, one mother and several younger specimens. The reason for the bounty’s failure, she explained, was simple. The reward had not prompted people to hunt rats, but to breed them instead.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ryan M. Yonk
    • 1
  • Josh T. Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Utah State UniversityLoganUSA

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