What Is a Policy and What Is a Government Program? A Simple Question With No Clear Answer, Until Now

18 Pages Posted: 26 Nov 2020 Last revised: 3 Mar 2021

See all articles by Antonio Lassance

Antonio Lassance

Institute of Applied Economic Research - Ipea

Date Written: November 10, 2020

Abstract

The difficulty of defining and distinguishing what is a policy and what is a government program is a crucial problem with practical and important consequences for the design, efficiency, and effectiveness of these public policies and programs. However, public servants are taught to live in this Babel without paying much attention to it. The article extracts this evidence from a methodology that combined a qualitative experiment and in-depth interviews with more than 350 Brazilian Federal Government employees, over the past 5 years. The article proposes a new approach to the design of policies and programs as a basic criterion for ex-ante analysis in order to contribute to making such latent inconsistencies even more glaring and evident and to overcome the most common failures, as soon and as easily as possible, before programs take their first step.

Keywords: ex-ante policy analysis, program theory, policy design, program evaluation

JEL Classification: H11, D04

Suggested Citation

Lassance, Antonio, What Is a Policy and What Is a Government Program? A Simple Question With No Clear Answer, Until Now (November 10, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3727996 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3727996

Antonio Lassance (Contact Author)

Institute of Applied Economic Research - Ipea ( email )

Quadra 1 - Bloco J - Ed. BNDES
Brasilia - DF, 70076-900
Brazil

HOME PAGE: http://www.ipea.gov.br/portal/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=25517&Itemid=6

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