Advertisement

Policy Maps and Political Feasibility

  • Peter J. May

Abstract

Gauging the political feasibility of a policy proposal is a relevant aspect of policy analysis that has received lesser attention in advice about the craft of policy analysis. This chapter considers the use of a “policy map” to assess the political prospects of policy proposals. Just as a physical map lays out the contours of physical terrain, a policy map can be used to portray the lines of political support and opposition for a given proposal or set of proposals. Overlaying different features of competing policy proposals leads to a better understanding of the potential fate of the proposals and adjustments that may be required to improve the political prospects of a given proposal. These assessments can be undertaken prior to proposals entering into legislative debate and do not require inside knowledge of the positions of key legislators or other decision makers.

Given our limited understanding of policy windows and the idiosyncratic nature of policy enactment, one cannot expect to provide a precise recipe for analyzing political feasibility. The logic of this approach to policy maps and political feasibility assessments is disarmingly simple. The difficulties are that policy issues are never neatly identified, and identification of interest groups and their positions can be problematic. Interest groups change their views. The content of policy proposals is subject to change. Changing external conditions alter the sense of urgency attached to particular issues or policy proposals. All of this complicates the gathering and interpretation of political intelligence. The challenge for political analysts is to use such assessments to make informed judgments about political prospects of policy proposals and the likely dynamics of policy debates.

Keywords

Interest groups policy analysis political feasibility 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Arnold, R.D. 1990. The Logic of Congressional Action. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bardach, E. 1972. The Skill Factor in Politics. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  3. Baumgartner, F. and B. Jones. 1993. Agenda and Instability in American Politics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  4. Behn, R.D. 1981. Policy analysis and policy politics. Policy Analysis 7 (Spring): 199–227.Google Scholar
  5. Bosso, C.J. 1987. Pesticides and Politics: The Life Cycle of a Public Issue. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press.Google Scholar
  6. Coplin, W.D. and M.K. O’Leary 1976. Everyman’s Prince: A Guide to Understanding Tour Political Problems. Revised ed. North Scituate, MA: Duxbury Press.Google Scholar
  7. Dror, Y. 1969. The prediction of political feasibility. Futures 1 (June): 282–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hacker, J. 1997. The Road to Nowhere: The Genesis of President Clinton’s Plan for Health Security. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Heineman, B.J. and CA. Hessler. 1980. Memorandum for the President: A Strategic Approach to Domestic Affairs in the 1980s. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  10. Huitt, R.K. 1968. Political Feasibility. In Political Science and Public Policy. Austin Ranney, ed. Chicago, IL: Markham.Google Scholar
  11. Jones, B.D. 1994. Preconceiving Decision-Making in Democratic Politics: Attention, Choice, and Public Policy. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  12. Kernell, S. 1992. Going Public: New Strategies of Presidential Leadership. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Press.Google Scholar
  13. Kingdon, J.W. 1977. Models of legislative voting. Journal of Politics 29 (August): 563–93.Google Scholar
  14. Leman, C. 1980. How to get there from here: The grandfather effect and public policy. Policy Analysis 6 (Winter): 99–116.Google Scholar
  15. Lynn, L.E., Jr. and D.F. Whitman. 1981. The President as Policymaker: Jimmy Carter and Welfare Reform. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Majone, G. 1975. On the notion of political feasibility. European Journal of Political Research 3 (September): 259–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. —. 1989. Evidence, Argument and Persuasion in the Policy Process. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Matthews, D.R. and JA. Stimson. 1975. Teas and Nays: Normal Decision-making in the U.S. House of Representatives. New York: John Wiley and Sons.Google Scholar
  19. May, P.J. 1981. Hints for crafting alternative policies. Policy Analysis 7(2): 227–44.Google Scholar
  20. —. 1986. Politics and policy analysis. Political Science Quarterly 101(1): 109–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. —. 1991. Reconsidering policy design: Policies and publics. Journal of Public Policy 11(2): 187–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Meltsner, A.J. 1972. Political feasibility and policy analysis. Public Administration Review 32 (November/December): 859–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Page, B.I. and R.Y. Shapiro. 1992. The Rational Public: Fifty Tears of Trends in Americans’ Policy Preferences. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Radin, B.A. 2000. Beyond Machiavelli: Policy Analysis Comes of Age. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Riker, W.H. 1986. The Art of Political Manipulation. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Rushefsky, M.E. and K. Patel. 1998. Politics, Power & Policy Making: The Case of Health Care Reform in the 1990s. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
  27. Sabatier, P.A. 1988. An advocacy coalition framework of policy change and the role of policy-oriented learning therein. Policy Sciences 21: 129–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Schneier E.V. and B. Gross. 1993. Legislative Strategy: Shaping Public Policy. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  29. Skocpol, T. 1996. Boomerang: Health Care Reform and the Turn Against Government. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
  30. Stokey, E. and R. Zeckhauser. 1978. A Primer for Policy Analysis. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
  31. Weimer, D.L. and A.R. Vining. 1999. Policy Analysis, Concepts and Practice. 3rd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Iris Geva-May 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter J. May

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations