The decisions of policy-makers can be affected by the values that these people have. They are supposed to find solutions that best serve the interests of the community. However, very often, the efforts of legislators do not produce the expected results. This paper is aimed at discussing the role of values in adjusting for governmental failures. There are several aspects that should be considered.
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First of all, in many cases, governmental officials fail to reconcile conflicting values and examine a problem from various perspectives. Moreover, they can focus on short-term results, rather than long-term impact of a certain activity on various stakeholders. By avoiding these pitfalls, public administrators can design more efficient public policies. These are the main issues that should be examined in greater detail.
Governmental failures and values
The failure to look at the problem from various perspectives
First, one can mention that policy-makers take decisions and provide justifications on the basis of their values. For example, one can mention such a controversial issue as oil drilling. A person, who focuses on the preservation of the environment, can emphasize the impacts of pollution on health and life of the community while presenting his/her arguments.
In contrast, a politician, who attaches importance to economic development, will set stress on the benefits of this activity (Weimer & Vining, 2010). In turn, these people may not be able to look at this question from various perspectives and design the most effective policies.
Similarly, such a situation can occur when public administrators cannot properly evaluate the costs and benefits a certain initiative. This is one of the first problems that should not be overlooked.
Evaluation of long-term implications
Apart from that, the values of policy-makers affect the analytical approach that adopt. This argument is particularly relevant if one speaks about market interventions such as protectionism in the United States (Segal, 2010, p. 10). For example, a supporter of protectionist policies can pay more attention to the number of jobs that such a policy can save.
In contrast, an opponent of this approach can say that this policy will deprive the budget of the country of substantial income (Weimer & Vining, 2010). Moreover, customers may have to pay a higher price for identical products (Segal, 2010, p. 10). Such a view of the problem is not complete. In the long term, it can result only in the failures of well-intentioned laws.
Similar situations can be observed when governmental officials discuss the defense budget of a country. For example, those people, who value security, will speak about the threats that cannot be affectively addressed if the government does not increase its military expenses (Hewitt, 1991, p. 8).
In contrast, other officials can emphasize the necessity to spend this money on other public needs. More importantly, these individuals are often unwilling to evaluate the long-term consequences of their decisions. Thus, one can argue that the values of a individual affect his/her choice of analytical framework.
On the whole, this discussion suggests that values play a critical for explain the failures of many governmental initiatives. Sometimes, the priorities of policy-makers can prevent them from examining the long-term consequences of their decisions.
This problem should be taken into account by the legislators, who work on the development of laws. Provided that this issue is not addressed, their initiatives can lead to adverse consequences.
Hewitt, D. (1991). Military Expenditure: International Comparison of Trends. Boston: International Monetary Fund.
Segal, E. (2010). Social Welfare Policy and Social Programs: A Values Perspective. New York: Cengage Learning.
Weimer, D., & Vining, A. (2010). Policy analysis. New York: Longman.