7 good questions and answers: "Policy Problems - Nature of Policy Problems"

What is the definition of a problem?
A discrepancy between some standard (a value, a norm, a desired state of reality) and the perception of a present state or expected future state of reality

In policy problems:
  • Standard = needs and values  
  • Perception = subjective and constructed
What are examples of collective standards?
  • Equality
  • Safety
  • A healthy existence
  • No poverty
  • As few traffic victims as possible
  • As much biodiversity as possible
What are the 3 possible natures of problems?
  • Needs (requirements for healthy human survival)
  • Discrepancy between a perceived situation and values
  • Opportunities for improvement
What are opportunities of improvement?
The possibility of finding opportunities for creative policy improvement that haven't been first identified by complaints, threats, worries and troubles
What are examples of opportunities of improvement?
  • Underutilized capacity (facilities are mode available for other purposes)
  • Utilizing present officials for other functions
  • Non-tradional participants (employees and citizens)
  • Complementarity (more activites or resources can be joined to make to other more productive)
When do collective problems become policy problems?
When the problem is put on the agenda of public authorities
What are the steps for a policy advisor when confronted with a problem?
  • Identify the nature of the problem
  • Understand the problem situation better
  • Translate the problem into a formal problem
  • Structure the problem
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