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NCJ Number: 51654 Find in a Library
Title: FINDING AN OPTIMUM CHOICE, LEVEL, OR MIX IN PUBLIC POLICY ANALYSIS (FROM POLICY STUDIES - REVIEW ANNUAL, V 2, 1978, BY HOWARD E FREEMAN - SEE NCJ-51647)
Author(s): S NAGEL; M NEEF
Corporate Author: Sage Publications, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 20
Sponsoring Agency: Ford Foundation
New York, NY 10017
Illinois Law Enforcement Cmssn (see Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority)

Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: DISCUSSIONS ON ALTERNATIVE POLICY DECISIONS INVOLVE FINDING AN OPTIMUM ALTERNATIVE POLICY IN GENERAL, FINDING OPTIMUM CHOICE AMONG DISCRETE ALTERNATIVES, AND FINDING OPTIMUM LEVEL OR MIX ON THE ALTERNATIVES CONTINUUM.
Abstract: MAKING AN OPTIMUM DECISION IN PUBLIC POLICY ANALYSIS INVOLVES MAXIMIZING QUANTITATIVELY MEASURED GOALS SUBJECT TO VARIOUS CONSTRAINTS AND CONDITIONS. OPTIMIZING CONSISTS OF EITHER OPTIMUM CHOICE SITUATIONS WHERE ALTERNATIVES INVOLVE DISCRETE CATEGORIES OR OPTIMUM MIX AND LEVEL SITUATIONS WHERE THE ALTERNATIVE DECISIONS FIT ON A CONTINUUM OF POSSIBILITIES. THIS ARTICLE CONCENTRATES ON DECISIONS RELATING TO THE LEGAL PROCESS. OPTIMUM CHOICE SITUATIONS INCLUDE THOSE THAT DO NOT INVOLVE CONTINGENT EVENTS SUCH AS WHETHER TO PROVIDE COUNSEL FOR THE POOR IN CRIMINAL CASES THROUGH VOLUNTEER COUNSEL, ASSIGNED COUNSEL, A PUBLIC DEFENDER, OR SOME COMBINATION OF THE THREE. THEY ALSO INCLUDE CHOICES WHERE BENEFITS DEPEND ON A CONTINGENT EVENT SUCH AS WHETHER TO DECLARE A DEFENDANT ELIGIBLE FOR FREE COUNSEL CONTINGENT ON THE PROBABILITY THAT THE DEFENDANT REALLY CANNOT AFFORD A LAWYER. A RELATED EXAMPLE OF AN OPTIMUM LEVEL SITUATION INVOLVES DETERMINING THE LEVEL OF MONEY APPROPRIATE FOR A PARTICULAR PUBLIC DEFENDER'S OFFICE WHERE ALLOTTING TOO MUCH OR TOO LITTLE IS UNDESIRABLE. A RELATED EXAMPLE OF OPTIMUM MIX INVOLVES DETERMINING THE MIX OF AVAILABLE BUDGET MONEY TO ALLOCATE BETWEEN THE PUBLIC DEFENDER'S OFFICE AND THE PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE. IN THIS ARTICLE, THE LEGAL PROCESS IS CONCEPTUALIZED AS A CHOICE MODEL, A PROBALISTIC MODEL, AN OPTIMUM LEVEL MODEL, AND AN OPTIMUM MIX MODEL; THERE IS, HOWEVER, CONSIDERABLE OVERLAP AMONG THE MODELS, AND THE SAME PROBLEM OFTEN CAN BE VIEWED FROM MORE THAN ONE PERSPECTIVE AND ONE MODEL TRANSLATED INTO ANOTHER. VALUE DECISIONS ARE VERY RELEVANT TO POLICY ANALYSIS IN THAT VALUES PLUGGED INTO THE ANALYSIS INFLUENCE THE OPTIMIZING OF SOLUTIONS. OPTIMIZING MODELS PROVIDE INSIGHTS FOR COMPARING VARIOUS FORMS OF OPTIMUM BEHAVIOR WITH EMPIRICAL BEHAVIOR SO THAT POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS MAY REDUCE THE GAP BETWEEN THE TWO AND REVISE VALUES ACCORDINGLY. THESE MODELS ALSO PROVIDE INSIGHTS FOR UNDERSTANDING THE EFFECTS ON OTHER VARIABLES OF CHANGING PUBLIC POLICY AND DECISIONS AND THE EFFECTS ON PUBLIC POLICY AND DECISIONS OF CHANGING OTHER VARIABLES. THE MODELS HELP CLARIFY THE ELEMENTS ESSENTIAL TO UNDERSTANDING THE BASIC SIMPLICITIES AND SUBTLE COMPLEXITIES OF THE LEGAL PROCESS. AN APPENDIX PROVIDES THE BASIC PRINCIPLES FOUND IN THE ARTICLE, REDUCED TO A SERIES OF FORMULAS FOR HANDLING NONLINEAR REGRESSION ANALYSIS AND THE SOLVING OF NONLINEAR SIMULTANEOUS EQUATIONS. NOTES ARE INCLUDED. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED--KJM)
Index Term(s): Decisionmaking; Judicial process; Models; Policy analysis; Research and development; Research methods; Statistics
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