Paper Example on Public Policy: A Guide to Governmental Decision-Making

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1485 Words
Date:  2023-03-02


Public policy refers to the decisions enacted by a specific government to improving the quality of life of its citizens and solving problems that affecting them (Hill & Varone, 2016). Public policy is also seen as the ethical guide to action adhered to by governmental decision-making branches of a given jurisdiction (state, city, or municipality) in a manner unswerving with national constitutional laws. The federal government of the United States of America formulates public policies after considering their economic, social and political impact on its population. Policymakers in the US include The Congress and House of Representatives at the national level and House of Assemblies at the state and metropolitan levels. Various individuals and interest groups influence the policymakers in the US to formulate policies that favor and protect their interests. They include politicians, civil servants, activists, realm experts, and industry representatives (Hill & Varone, 2016).

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Public policy formulation in the US is dynamic the varying according to issues and challenges facing the social coexistence of its citizens. The policymakers also formulate foreign policies that aim at promoting the US's national interests, security, and welfare in the world. Foreign policies intend to create and maintain a competitive economy, defense of the US borders, and promotion of ideas on peace, freedom, and democracy within and abroad (Hill & Varone, 2016). Evans (1970) breaks down the public policymaking process into three major stages: input, input, and output. The public formulation process in the US breaks the three major stages into various stages namely agenda building, formulation, adoption, implementation, evaluation, and termination.

Public and Foreign Policy Formulation Processes

The federal government of the United States develops public policies concerning changes amongst the people. Public policy development starts when social demands present its challenges and need to policymakers. The process starts with:

The Agenda-Setting Process Stage

The agenda-setting stage refers to the process through which a domestic or foreign policy intends address needs and challenges considered to be of public interest (Hill & Varone, 2016). The US government prioritizes the issues and needs of its citizens. It formulates domestic policies where there is a problem that affects the citizens and draws the attention of the government. The agenda-setting process involves the identification of a problem after which policymakers draft an agenda. The agendas are either formal or public, where the public agenda relates to issues that greatly affect US citizens whereas formal agenda refers to needs and problems chosen by policymakers in the US. The problems increase the relevance of a given subject in the agenda; for instance, illegal immigration into the US was not a serious issue until 1990s when the citizens noted that most illegal immigrants had a negative impact their piece and well-being such as drugs trafficking and socio-cultural erosion.

In foreign policy agenda-setting, the government of the US formulates a foreign policy agenda about a given problem that affects the relationship of the nation and the international community. Global issues include illegal immigrants, international businesses and diplomacy. The policymakers can set a foreign policy agenda about illegal immigrants coming into the US from Mexico due to abnormal increases in population that lead to misappropriation of funds in the national budget, increased insecurity at the border, and increased drug trafficking amongst the natives. The policymakers set a foreign policy agenda with consideration of maintaining a good relationship with immigrants' parent countries and the global environment, in this case, Mexico.

Formulation and Adoption Stage

At this stage, the US policymaker(s) examines various approaches that can solve a public or foreign problem. In the formulation of domestic policy, definition of a domestic problem by individuals and organizations such as politicians and visible participants, and what the US government should do to solve the problem. Politicians and visible participants such as the president, executive members, media personnel, celebrities, and prominent people in business push for the development of a given domestic policy regarding protection of their interests and those of the US citizens. These individuals define the alternatives, proposals, and solutions to the needs of US citizens. A policymaker drafts a bill, a proposal representing his/her ideologies after evaluating the problems affecting the citizens he/she represents and presents it to the policy-making institutions like the Congress. These ideologies differ from one party to another, one individual to another, for instance, the stand of the President of the United States (POTUS), the Democrats and the Republicans do differ about the impact of illegal immigrants to the US citizens. The policymaker's then voted to determine whether the bill will become a law; this is the adoption stage. Congress then passes the legislation formulating a domestic policy.

The formulation and adoption of foreign policy involve the powers and authorities of the POTUS and Congress. The POTUS negotiates treaties and appoints ambassadors that represent the US and its policies in the foreign nations. The Congress constitutionally formulates the regulations that govern the operation and relationships of the US with other countries in the global setting. Congress further vets and examines the treaties and ambassador choices of the POTUS. Once the two institutions are at agreement on the foreign treaties and ambassadors, the US government adopts the foreign policy to govern its international operations.

The Implementation Stage

At the implementation stage, the Congress, the Supreme Court, or the Executive establish the domestic and foreign policies' parameter. The institutions determine the impact of a specific policy and how it will achieve the domestic and foreign needs of US citizens. In the implementation of a domestic policy, for instance, if the problem of the natives is the increased crime rate and drug trafficking due to illegal immigration, the Congress determines area of jurisdiction for the policy, for instance, the policy governs the state of Texas which borders the country of Mexico and how it will restrict the entry of immigrants from the neighboring nation.

In the implementation stage of foreign policy, the US government evaluates the parameter in which the foreign policy enforces in the global community and how it will solve the problem influencing the US in the international community increasing good relations and coexistence between the countries. An example is the problem of illegal immigration into the US where the government formulates a law that ensures there is good relationship between the US and the immigrants' parent country, in this case, Mexico. The POTUS can resolve to create a parameter wall between the two countries ensuring the immigrants cannot move into the US, and Congress supports the move allowing financial allocation to the project.

Evaluation and Termination Stage

In this stage, there is verification of foreign or domestic policy to authenticate whether its implementation and enforcement affiliates with its objectives that were implicitly set out by the POTUS or the Congress. In the evaluation of both domestic and foreign policies, the government apparatus, consultants, or civil society evaluate to determine the impact of the policies on the US citizens and the international community, respectively (Howlett & Ramesh, 2003).

Economic Policy Considerations

The government of the United States considers the economic policies before it formulates and implements a domestic or foreign policy. These considerations include the national budget, taxation and spending, and the international economic policy. The objectives of an economic policy include creation of a healthy economy that benefits all Americans, Control of inflation rates, stabilization of prices, stable interest rates, balanced national budget, and creation of a trade balance with other countries (Howlett & Ramesh, 2003). Taxation involves generation of revenue by the government to redistribute wealth amongst various states in the US. The national budget incorporates all the expenses of the federal government and revenues to settle the expenses.

In the formulation of domestic policy, the policymakers consider the national budget and its flexibility to accommodate a new project that has arisen from the needs and problems facing the natives. An example is increased insecurity due to increased illegal immigration, where the government can alter the national budget to allow further allocation of police officers to maintain security of the US citizens. When the revenues available in the government reserves are large in amounts, it allows the government to enact further policies that ensure good peace and security of the US citizens.

The international economic policy affects foreign policy formulation also since the US makes the trade with other countries in the international market. To maintain good international relationships, the US government formulates foreign policies that keep the foreign market open, ensure that other countries respect copyrights on American products and support free trade principles.


Evans, M. (1970). Notes on David Easton's model of the political system. Available online at

Hill, M., & Varone, F. (2016). The public policy process. Routledge. Retrieved from

Howlett, M. & Ramesh, M. (2003). Studying public policy: Policy cycles and policy subsystems. Toronto, ON Oxford University Press, Canada.

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