SWPS 216 University of Maryland Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Case Study

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You will work as a policy analyst to provide a thorough analysis of a public policy (state, local, or federal level).  

Delineation and Overview of the Policy Under Analysis 2 pages

a. What is the policy to be analyzed? 

b. What is the nature of the problem being targeted by the policy? 

i. How is the problem defined? 

ii. For whom is it a problem? 

c. What is the context of the policy being analyzed (i.e., how does this specific policy fit with other policies seeking to manage a social problem)? 

d. Choice analysis (i.e., what is the design of programs created by policy and what are alternatives to this design?). I want to see a real effort on your part to put forth credible alternatives to the current policy.

i. What are the bases of social allocation (who will benefit from a policy)?

ii. What are the types of social provisions (is it universal or selective)? 

iii. What are the strategies for the delivery of benefits (in cash or in kind)?

iv. What are the methods of financing these provisions? 

2. Historical Analysis 2 pages 

a. What policies and programs were developed earlier to deal with the problem?   

b. How has the specific policy/program under analysis developed over time?

i. What people or groups of people initiated and/or promoted the policy?

ii. What people, or groups of people, opposed the policy? 

c. What does history tell us about effective/ineffective approaches to the problem being addressed? 

d. To what extent does the current policy/program incorporate the lessons of history? 

e. Are we repeating mistakes from the past and, if so, why? 

3. Social Analysis 2 pages 

a. Problem description 

i. How complete is our knowledge of the problem?

ii. Are our efforts to deal with the problem in accord with research findings? 

iii. What population is affected by the problem? 

1. Size 

2. Defining characteristics 

3. Distribution 

b. What theories of human behavior are explicit or, more likely, implicit in the policy? 

c. What are the major social values related to the problem and what values conflict in the policy? 

d. What are the goals of the policy under analysis? 

i. Manifest (stated) goals 

ii. Latent (unstated) goals

iii. The degree of consensus regarding goals 

e. What are the hypotheses implicit or explicit in the statement of the problems and goals? 

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