The Rational Model of Policy & Decision Making

2827 Words Feb 20th, 2012 12 Pages
Selected Essays by Lefoko O. Molebatsi (2001) --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Public Policy and Policy Analysis: The Rational Model Question: The rational model of public policy making, though heavily criticized, is the most widely used and or talked about model. Discuss why. By Lefoko O. Molebatsi (University of Botswana) Instructor: Prof G. S Maipose 2001

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Selected Essays by Lefoko O. Molebatsi (2001) --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Introduction

According to Dunn (1994:330), rationality is a self conscious process of using explicit reasoned arguments to make and
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It is not enough to know and weight the values of some groups and not

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Selected Essays by Lefoko O. Molebatsi (2001) --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------others. There must be a complete understanding of societal values. Rational policy-making also requires information about alternative policies, the predictive capacity to foresee accurately the consequences of alternative policies, and the intelligence to calculate correctly the ratio of costs to benefits. Finally, rational policy-making requires a decision-making system that facilitates rationality in policy formation.

According to Thomas R. Dye (1998), this model of maximum social gain is often used to think about the optimal size of government programs. Ideally government or business budgets should increase until maximum net gain is achieved, and then no more should be spent7. The model of maximum social gain is applied to public and business policymaking in benefit cost analysis. The first applications were developed in the 1930s by the US corps of engineers in programs for dams and river basin development. Today it is applied to virtually all government policies and programs. It is the principal analytic framework used to evaluate management spending decisions8.

However, there are many barriers to rational decision-making. In fact, there are so many

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