Scenario 3

Policy Evaluation

You are a senior policy analyst on the staff of the Secretary of the Interior's office. Your academic background includes a master's degree in planning (with an environmental policy specialization) and a PhD in applied microeconomics. You have been asked to review a series of studies produced by the conservative Heritage Society that argue quite strenuously that command-and-control policies that were used to protect air quality, water quality, and endangered species for several decades are no longer needed. Now that we understand how these systems work and have internalized the need for pollution control and the protection of biodiversity, it is no longer necessary for the federal or state government to do more than emphasize these objectives through "soft" policy statements and educational programs. According to the Heritage Society, we certainly don't need the national government settinga nd enforcing detailed standards (including technological specifications of various kinds). This just locks us into outmoded technologies, inhibits innovation, and applies a "one-size-fits-all" mentality when what we need is to "let a thousand flowers bloom." The Secretary is not convinced. He wants you to sketch a major national study that would rebut what the Heritage Society is saying.

  1. How should such a study be organized? Who should be asked to do it? (Assume that the agency has upwards of $2 million to spend).
  2. What are the most important criteria and methods to use in preparing such a policy evaluation?
  3. Given that the Secretary has already indicated to you that he doesn't buy waht the Heritage Society is saying, how should that factor into the design and implementation of the study?
  4. Please list the steps you would take to ensure the credibility of the study in the eyes of the scientific community, the environmental advocacy community, the business community, and Congress.
  5. Is it appropriate to begin a policy evaluation with an outcome in mind?


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