Administration and Public Policy Development

The following sample Civics essay is 1206 words long, in APA format, and written at the undergraduate level. It has been downloaded 506 times and is available for you to use, free of charge.

Part I. Short Answer:

1. Cost-benefit analysis

a. Definition: A means by which the government (or governing body) can systematically look and evaluate the ratio between the cost of a particular endeavor, be it a program or other project, and the positive benefits that will result from approving and implementing said endeavor.

b. Example: When the Department of Transportation for a major city is deciding on whether or not to invest in a new form of public transportation, they will run a cost-benefit analysis of the program to ensure that it will not cost an exorbitant amount of money for something the general population will not use. 

c. Significance: By running cost-benefit analysis on any new projects, public administrators will be able to select to implement those that are the most beneficial to the general public so that tax money, and other resources, are not wasted on frivolous projects.

2. Efficiency

a. Definition: The process by which public officials select, run, and maintain public policies put into place while placing the least amount of burden (either monetary or man hours) upon the general population to run said policies.

b. Example: The government repairing damaged public property by hiring a company that will fix the damaged property for the least cost while still being able to ensure that the property will be both usable and safe for the public’s use.

c. Significance: Efficient public policies, such as those related to vaccines, and administrations are able to service the greatest amount of the individuals while costing the least amount of money to maintain and operate

3. Decision analysis

a. Definition: The ability for an individual or group to rationally examine and determine how and why public officials made a particular decision without bias.

b. Example: After the local government hired a particular contractor to renovate city hall, a group of individuals examined the steps that were taken to determine which company should get the contract in order to make sure that the most efficient company was hired and that no insider bias was shown in the selection process.

c. Significance:  This process allows for the reexamining of the actions that public administrators take to ensure that the most effective, efficient decisions are being made and put into action that do not waste public resources. 

4. Pluralist model

a. Definition: This model holds the idea that democratic values can be held onto through the use of both bargaining and compromise, those in power determine the public policy, that voters have the ability to make important choices in their votes, and the individual of a population can gain power through elections

b. Example: The organization of the United States federal government

c. Significance: A system of this nature will allow for all of those that are governed to have a voice in how the system is ran and, simultaneously, those in power are held in check, and budgets are watched carefully, because they can always lose their power and the individual can gain it through common elections.

5. Implementation

a. Definition: The way that a specific action, policy, or event is carried out by the public administrators.  

b. Example: The process that a new law undergoes when it is put into effect and policed.

c. Significance: Without an effective implementation process, no actions or projects would be able to be carried out by the public administrators without the gross misuse of public resources and the general population would suffer. 

Part II. Essay. (#’s 2 & 3)

2) There are many different public organizations that have the ability to execute polices on a federal level and, of these, several are important to the execution of policies during a time of emergency.  Some of the organizations include: The Center for Disease Control (CDC), Homeland Security, the National Guard, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  Of these organizations, however, FEMA is most likely to be the most effective in the executing of policies that are designed to meet emergency situations because the organization is specifically designed to function during and after an emergency situation occurs.  This organization is built around the idea that after times of emergency, immediate actions must be taken to aid the public so as to minimize damages and losses on both the private and public sectors.

The mission statement provided by FEMA best supports why this public administration is best suited for dealing with policy execution during times of emergency.  FEMA states, “FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from an mitigate all hazards,” (FEMA, 2012).  Clearly, this public organization is put into place to be called upon as a means of coordinating, supporting, and, generally, leading the charge for rallying individuals in times of emergency.  The organization works under extreme times of stress regularly and even has times to working during times of emergency directly in the name of the organization.  Therefore, it would appear that the most suited and effective organization in terms of executing policies designed specifically to meet emergency situations would be the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

3) When dealing with the major actors in the policy formulation process, one can first break them into two very broad categories: the official actors and the unofficial actors.  Within each of these rather broad groups, one can further divide up specific types of actors.  For example, within the official actor’s category, one could see workers within either the legislative or executive branches of government, and interest groups and the media belong in the unofficial actor’s category.  Of all of the mentioned actors that play a role in the policy formulation process, the most influential one has to be the interest groups.  

The reason that I feel that interest groups are the most influential of all the actors in the policy formulation process can essentially be summed up by one factor; they have the most amount of money invested in the process.  Interest groups spend a great deal of money on the process of policy formulation from many sources to many different areas.  The interest groups spend money on lobbyists to help promote and sell their ideas to lawmakers, such as those in the legislative branch, thereby pushing their influence into the official actor’s category.  They will give financial aid to specific individuals running for public office but only if they will support their cause once they have won their election.  The groups will spend vast amounts of money to try to gain public support through advertisements or other public outreach programs to get the general population to follow and support their cause, which in turn places stress on the official actors to act in a way that will aid their cause.  In short, the extreme amount of money that interest groups have stretches their influence from both the unofficial actor category to the official actor category.  Through this, the interest groups are able to have such a large amount of influence on policy formulation that they have become an expected element of policy formulation for our political system.


FEMA. (2012, October 15). About the agency. Federal Emergency Management Agency, Retrieved from