The Top Down Approach And The Bottom Up Approach

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Throughout the semester we have read several articles and chapters with the reoccurring theme of the top-down approach and the bottom-up approach. We were initially introduced to the approaches through the articles How Does it Work? Policy Implementation (Smith & Larimar, 2009), Implementing Public Policy (Hill & Hupe, 2002) and Implementation and Public Policy chapter 2 (Mazmanian & Sabatier, 1983). According to the readings, the top-down model starts with a policy decision and examine the extent to which its legally mandated objectives were or were not achieved over time and why. It tries to figure out how to translate formal policy objectives into reality by focusing on how to translate the intent of policy into action after the formal policy objective had been decided and focuses more on outcomes. On the other hand, the bottom-up model starts with analysis of actors who interact at the operational/local level on a particular problem or issue and works its way up. This model did not want implementation to be too confined and they argued that implementation had to be considered holistically so it incorporates lower level bureaucrats and the people whom the policy or program is aimed for into the implementation process.
While our readings focus the top-down approach and the bottom-up approach to the study of public policy, these approaches are prominent in the discipline of emergency management. An example of the top-down approach in emergency management is the Caribbean’s

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