4 Policy Typologies Explained

To keep a country chaos free, government establishes a vast number of policies. There is something for the cops to follow. There is something for us general public to follow and then there are those that decide where our tax money is to be allocated. If we put all the policies in one group it will be very difficult for us to understand them precisely. Policies set for the government agencies are quite different from those made for the general public. Thus, they must be put into separate groups. This is where typology plays in important role. It does not just translate briefly highlight the structure of the policy, but also keeps each in proper order. In general, there are 4 typologies of policies. Here is how they are described:

1. Constituent policy: The meaning of constituent is permitting one person or organization to work as an agent. For government, constituent policy is connected mainly to development of new departments, internal distribution of funds and rules for public servants. That is why, such a policy is either structural or procedural.

Example of structural policy:

  • After 9/11, government established Department of Homeland Security to prevent future terrorist attacks.
  • During the Great Depression of 1930's, government established Social Security Administration to protect the Americans from severe financial hardships.
Examples of procedural policy:
  • In 1992, the government established Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Now what job were its employees supposed to do? Answer to it was given in the form of constituent policy. Simply put, they were to minimize drug use in the country and provide mental health services to Americans. They received grants from the federal government and how it was to be used was also dictated by procedural policy.
2. Distributive policy: This policy allows the government to provide public goods or services to all in the nation with the help of public fund. In general, citizens do not complain about it, for it is related to equal opportunity. One specific point we must remember is that distributive policy does not create competition for the goods and services. Traditionally, government owns the property under this policy.

  • Highways: Government built it by using our tax money. All classes of citizens are free to use it.
  • Public schools: Kids from every class are accepted by public schools.
Highway can be used by all

3. Regulatory Policy: Without it, the nation itself falls prey to corruption. Regulatory policies prescribe do's and don'ts for different groups to prevent individuals from becoming their victims. It tends to create losers and winners by allowing one group to enjoy more  freedom than the other. Although regulatory policies tend to garner a lot of criticisms, at the end of the day, they do compel certain groups to behave and maintain qualities.

  • Prohibition of drunk driving: This is done to keep roads free of fatal accidents
  • Ban on unfair methods of competition: Businesses are prosecuted for using illegal methods against their competitors

4. Redistributive policy: This is by far the trickiest of all policies. Its job is to transfer one group's tax fund to another group with the aim to eradicate social issues such as poverty for the sake of equality. Realistically, however, this is not always the case. Redistributive policies has been used many times to favor the rich over the poor. Sometimes the policy does not have much to do with allocation of finance. In fact, it can be used to even enhance the power of one group over the other. That is why, redistributive policies have always been most controversial.

  • Low income housing: Our tax money goes in funding rentals of the underprivileged or section 8 people.
  • Executive order of Bush to cut off collective bargaining rights of law enforcement and intelligence agency workers: This is how the federal government exercised power over its employees.

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