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Essay Questions

  1. Discuss three important preconditions or factors that facilitate public policy innovation.
    • Political culture or social capital
    • Demographics
    • Race and ethnic composition
    • Location
    • Size of area
    • Disposition of political and social leaders and leadership
    • Bureaucratic capacity

  2. Summarize both the proponents' and critics' positions on the relative benefits (or lack thereof) of the development of PUCs.

    Academic studies have concluded that private provision of water and waste disposal did not produce outcomes dissimilar from public provision. Additionally, critics charge that by centralizing the function of water and waste management, local government became the sole consumer of a good—essentially, a monopoly—resulting in economic distortion and loss to both taxpayers as well as wage laborers working in utilities enterprises (see Bish and O'Donahue 1970; see also Renzetti 1999). Although critics have not swayed state and local efforts to regulate waste and water management for the protection of the public good, there has been a marked effort to increase resource supplier competition in states and local governments and provide for a more active role for utility service consumers (see Van Vliet and Stein 2004). In the 1990s, policy entrepreneurs at the state and local level made a pronounced effort to use competition to improve service delivery while reducing costs to consumers (see Osborne and Gaebler 1992).  

  3. List and discuss the six-dimension set of criteria for achieving sustainable government building design.
    1. Sustainable sites
    2. Water efficiency
    3. Energy and atmosphere
    4. Materials and resources
    5. Indoor environmental quality
    6. Innovation and design process

  4. List and discuss the three most prominent federal agencies that deal with issues of eldercare.
    • Administration on Aging
    • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
    • Social Security Administration

  5. According to the textbook, what are four ways in which views of sustainability of petroleum began to change in the 1970s?
    • Social and political values at the grassroots community level in many regions of the nation focused greater attention on "green" or pro-environment policy solutions, and public interest groups promoted new conservation-oriented and ecologically sensitive views of sustainability.
    • Public utility commissions (PUCs) placed increasingly greater emphasis on equitable energy distribution (e.g., in California, the Miller-Warren Energy Lifeline Act of 1972) and explored the role of alternative renewal energy solutions.
    • Some environmental interests identified alternative modes of living (e.g., "next generation" building design and reduced toxic emissions) intended to enhance the quality of life in communities in ways that were not injurious to the environment.
    • Land use planners focused increasing attention on the role of mass transit development in metropolitan areas (e.g., Bay Area Rapid Transit) where burgeoning urban and suburban areas produce insufferable traffic congestion.

  6. List and discuss three policy innovations used by states to encourage the development of renewable energy.
    • Renewable portfolio standards (RPS)
    • Green tags
    • Price subsidies



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