AP®︎/College US Government and Politics
Course: AP®︎/College US Government and Politics > Unit 5Lesson 7: Groups influencing policy outcomes
Groups influencing policy outcomes
Climate change policy involves various groups influencing different stages of the policy process. Social movements push for action, interest groups contribute to policy formation, political parties play a role in policy legitimation, and bureaucratic agencies implement the policies. All groups participate in evaluating the policy's effectiveness, leading to potential adjustments or new policies.
- [Instructor] In previous videos we've talked about how various groups attempt to influence public policy. Political parties, interest groups, bureaucratic agencies, even social movements. And we've talked about The Policy Process Model. This is how a problem is identified and potentially addresses, through a policy solution. So in this video, let's bring these two things together by thinking through when and how each of these groups might influence the policy process. So let's say that our problem is climate change. As we've discussed in other videos, climate change has only recently become an issue that voters wanna see politicians address. Social movements have put climate change on the policy agenda, with climate activists leading marches and strikes to demand action from politicians. You will most often see the influence of social movements at this point in the Policy Process, or at the Policy Evaluation step. Take a moment to think about why that is. What are the characteristics of broad based social movements that make it more difficult for them to engage at other parts of the policy process. Well, social movements are large, often led at the grassroots level, and so they may not have a central body that could get into the weeds with crafting policy. When people go out to protest, it's usually because they want a policy to be enacted to solve a problem, or because they're not happy with an existing policy and they want it to be removed or revised. So that's why you might also see social movements influencing policy at the Evaluation and Change stage. Okay, so say that climate activists have gotten their issue onto the agenda, now it's time for Policy Formation. Coming up with a potential solution to the problem, which groups might be involved with that? This is a time when interest groups might play a large role, and environmental group may have a strong opinion about what goals the government should work toward in curbing climate change. Whether that's reducing carbon emissions, or incentivizing clean energy. In fact an interest group might even write potential legislation for members of Congress. In the Policy Legitimation stage, when the proposed solution is debated and set to become law, you may see political parties exerting a great deal of influence. A party member in Congress may champion the legislation as a representation of their party's goals, or work against it because it conflicts with their party's goals. This stage is also when the federal budget process takes places. So you might find bureaucratic agencies or departments campaigning to spend more or less money on the policy. Now the law's on the books. Let's say it's a law to reduce carbon emissions by 25% over 10 years, and the money is lined up to fund it. It's time for the Implementation Stage. So which groups might attempt to exert influence in this stage of the process? Well, definitely bureaucratic agencies, at least one of which will be tasked with implementing the new law. This is also a time when interest groups will be really prominent. Remember, the law might have an overarching goal, reducing carbon emissions by 25%, but it's up to the bureaucracy to come up with the specific rules that will make that happen. So interest groups representing coal, oil, or solar power, might attempt to influence those rules in their favor. Now the last stage of the process, Evaluation. Who do you think will wanna have a say in how effective the policy has been in solving the problem? If you guessed everyone, you're getting the hang of this policy making thing. Experts in the bureaucracy may undertake a formal analysis of data to understand how well policy goals have been met. Political parties may want to tout how effective a program they sponsored was, or critique how ineffective a program they opposed was. Interest groups may request adjustments to the program to better serve their members. And social movements, as we've already mentioned, might turn out to protest, or on rare occasions, to celebrate the outcome of a policy, and then the whole process starts again.