What are the stages of policy development it includes? Discuss this theory and compare it to the other dominant theoretical frameworks. Then, select one other theory and discuss its strengths and weaknesses as compared to the Stages-Heuristic framework. According to the textbook, The Policy Game Understanding U. S. Policy Making, “… The stages- heuristic approach has evolved into a cycle of recognized policy stages that include the emergence of a problem and continue through enactment of the policy solution o evaluation and possible policy change, (Titleholder & Coffins, 2012).
The stages consist of pre-decision, which would include identifying the issue or problem, then making a decision or coming up with a policy as a solution to the problem and finally post-decision, where they evaluate the new policy as to its effectiveness. The policy process is a series of interrelated stages which include: Problem Identification and Agenda Setting, Policy Formulation, Policy Adoption, Policy Implementation, Policy Evaluation and Policy Change or Termination.
The stages-heuristic has received scholarly criticism because they argue this theory, which some say it isn’t a theory at all, has a lack of theoretical specificity, an absence of empirical validation, and an inaccurate description of the “actual” policy process. The theory main weakness is that the public policy process does not operate in the step-by-step manner as described, (Titleholder & Coffins, 2012). Punctuated Equilibrium Framework best explains the beginning stages of the policy making process. This framework focuses on a single issue of an aspect rather than the entire problem.
This framework also sees rationality and status quo to describe why some issues change dramatically. This is evident in many states legalizing same-sex marriage and also, some states are now legalizing the use of marijuana for recreational use or the welfare reform. The strength of the punctuated equilibrium framework is that it helps us understand how problems are identified, issues develop and the agenda is set. A weakness of this framework is that it does not address what happens