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Горбачёвская антиалкогольная кампания и её успех, ОИ в Сочи и их провал

maxkatz

У нас тут есть предмет очень интересный, Undetanding Public Policy. Про то, как работают механизмы управления государством, городами, ну и вообще — публичная политика в местном понимании. По каждому из изучаемых предметов после курса лекций я пишу эссе, его оценивают.
Не всегда получается интересно, но тут, как мне кажется, вышло именно так. Задача была описать сложности, которые возникают при оценке успешности той или иной государственной политики.

Я описал сначала теорию, потом нашёл интересный материал, подробно описывающий, как оценивать действия государства в той или иной сфере, а потом оценил этими способами Горбачевскую антиалкогольную кампанию и Олимпиаду в Сочи.
По антиалкогольной кампании интересные и неожиданные выводы. Вообще она часто в литературе попадается как один из самых успешных примеров краткосрочных государственных интервенций для увеличения продолжительности жизни, а кто бы мог подумать.




Материал, конечно, на английском (если вдруг у кого-то есть настроение перевести — буду рад).
В конце добавил оценку и мнение преподавателя, чтобы те из вас, кому интересно как тут в университете всё это работает почитали.
В начале под спойлер убрал довольно скучную теорию, если интересно — почитайте тоже.


The challenges in judging whether a policy has been a success illustrated with an examples of anti-alcohol campaign in USSR and Sochi winter Olympic games in Russia

Part 1: what is Policy

The simple definition of Policy is «the actio of government and the intentio that determine those actio» (Birkland, 2005). So, Policy is a decision made by government and what we can use to explain and undetand what is the intentio of this decision.
However, a number of sources define Policy almost with a completely different definition. For example «Divee activities by different bodies are drawn together into stable and predictable patter of action which (as often as not) come to be labelled ‘policy&quo;» (Colebatch, 2002).

There are a number of definitio of Policy, some of them contradict each other. This happe because the issue of Public Policy and government is very complicated and involves many acto, branches of government, cente of power and decision make (John, 1998).
One of the problems of evaluating Policy success is already in the definition of what is Policy: does it contain, for example, non-action, as some of the researche suggested (Birkland, 2005), does it contain actio of public groups that resist the government in its attempt to change the status quo (Hill, 2009)?

A large part of Public Policy is ueen by the public or the elected politicia who are respoible for this Policy. This happe because the public can only pay attention to a small part of everything that is going on in the government, as the majority of the Public Policy activities occur in the name of the Public, but without real participation or even knowledge of the membe of the Public and elected politicia. This concept is called 'semi-sovereign people', defined by Schattschneider in his book (1961).

Policy cycle

The policy cycle is a classic description of the Public Policy process that explai how this process should work. This concept is criticized by some researche (Benoit, 2013) (Cairney, 2011) for being too idealistic and oveimplified, not working in the real world.

Policy cycle


  1. Identification of the aims that needed to be solved

  2. Generation of relevant solutio, picking the best one,

  3. Legitimization: authority from an elected body, groups of society, a referendum or other ways of legitimization,

  4. Implementation: eure resources and organizational structure to implement the Policy,

  5. Evaluation: assessment of the Policy and the implementation, undetanding to what extent the desired effect is achieved,

  6. Policy maintenance, termination or succession: decision if the Policy should be continued, terminated or be changed


Pic. 1: The policy cycle (source: Conno, 2016)


Rationality and Incrementalism

The classic starting point in policy analysts is a concept of Compreheive rationality. The idea is that elected politicia tralate their values into policies in a straightforward «perfect» way. As defined by professor Cairney (2016), an elected politician will need «a clear, coherent and rank-ordered set of policy preferences which neutral organizatio carry out on their behalf». It mea that the politician needs to separate his values completely from the way the Policy will be executed. They need to do a compreheive analysis of full information, research and expertise on the topic, completely separate it from their own point of view, take into account the context and organizational optio to maximize the benefits of the policy to the society.
As the situation described above is an ideal situation and does not happen in the real world, there is a concept of «bounded rationality».

The theory of bounded rationality defined by an economist Herbert Simon (Simon, 1957) suggests that policy decisio are affected by the absence of time, resources, information and also the inability to separate the values and beliefs of politicia from imperial facts and absence of clear objectives. So, the bounded rationality is «the limits of the policy maker omniscient» (Cairney, 2011).

Incrementalism.
A concept by Charles Lindblom: «Analysis that is limited to coideration of alternative policies all of which are only incrementally different from the status quo» (Lindblom, 1979). The theory suggests that organizatio use simplifying strategies, and because of a lack of time and resources, they limit the number of choices to a small number that are only slightly different from the current situation and diverge incrementally. The decision make tend to avoid high costs (both in term of resources and politics) of significant change of policy and tend to take non-radical steps.

Policy Implementation: Top-down and bottom-up approach

Two main strategies of organization of the Policy implementation can be articulated: the top-down and the bottom-up approach. The bottom-up approach suggests that decisio are made in the low level of government, by experts and public servants respoible for the particular policy field. If there is a disagreement among the low level, the decisio are taken to the next level of government, up until the top level elected officials.

Systems functioning like this are described as multi-level governance. The power is spread wide across the political system among national, regional, city and municipal levels and among governmental and non-governmental ititutio (Cairney, 2011).

The top-down approach suggests that decisio are taken in the top level of the government, by high level elected officials, and the public servants just execute the decisio that were taken in the top levels before.

Systems functioning this way are called the Westmiter systems. These systems rely on representative democracy: a party that wi an election controls the government. Systems like this have political leadehip - the cabinet of ministe - that controls the vast majority of public policy, and politically neutral civil service that acts according to the political leadehip's wishes. Power is centralized, and the government accounted to the public via parliament (Cairney, 2011).

There are advantages and disadvantages in both approaches (Sabatier, 1986). The advantages of the bottom-up approach is the greater level of expertise that is available for low-level decision make who deal with a narrower policy field and can use more resources (time and money) to gather the information to make the right decisio. Also, this approach motivates membe of the team as they have real impact on the final outcome and carry full respoibility for it.

The disadvantage of it is that decisio are mostly taken by unelected public servants who are invisible from the public, so there is a lack of public control and traparency in this process. It is difficult to undetand who is respoible for what happe and who to blame in case something goes wrong.
The advantage of top-down approach is that the respoibility, liability and accountability can clearly be identified and controlled by the public. The disadvantage is that systems like this are less susceptible for innovatio as the medium and low levels of it are demotivated and not determined to improve it.

The role of power in Policy making

Power is the ability to use or exploit what people think and what people believe, to achieve goals. The classic definition of power is «A has power over B to the extent that he can get B to do something that B would not otherwise do» (Dahl, 1957).
There are a number of power theories: the pluralist theory, that suggests that power is spread among many acto, and though it is mostly located in the framework of government, there are many other acto in this process (Dahl, 1967).

The elite theory, in opposition, suggests that privileged groups such as financial, political and technical/academic elites have power and the policy decisio are extracted from the elite coeus (Dye, 2001).
Power affects policy making not only directly, with promoting the ideas and interests of powerful groups by using resources and influence, but also by avoiding certain questio being discussed and taking them off the agenda. (Gul, 2009).

Part 2: Policy failure and success
There are exteive debates on the question of how to evaluate policy success or failure. Because of the enormous complexity of government and the policy process, there is no clear definition of success and failure. Also, governments have done very little to awer the basic questio on policy evaluation: Do the programs that are run by the government work? Do they have any benefit for society? Are these effects immediate, or long range? (Dye, 2005).

A study (McConnel, 2010) shows a number of main approaches in current Public Policy academic discussion that describe success and failure of Public Policy.

  1. Detailed evaluation criteria is given in a book in 1971 (Lasswell). Seven sets of criteria are given: intelligent function, promotional function, prescribing function, invoking function, criteria for application and termination and appraisal function. This approach can be summarized as «policy science that contributes to societal betterment» (McConnel, 2010).

  2. Concept of public value. It describes the triangle framework to show what a successful public policy sector looks like. It has three main criteria: legitimacy and support, operational capabilities and production of value (Moore and Khagram, 2004).

  3. Deliberation and public engagement. This approach focuses on the process of the policy implementation and suggests that if it engages stakeholde in dialogue in order to undetand and prevent implementation problems and cultivate policy legitimacy, then the programs will be visible and successful,

  4. Political success. This approach suggests that Policy is successful if it is able to produce benefits to political acto or groups.

  5. Non-failure concept. It suggest that policy is successful when it does not fail.


For the purpose of the case study analysts, I will use the definition of success given by McConnel (2010): «A policy is successful if it achieves the goals that proponents set out to achieve and attracts no criticism of any significance and/or support is virtually univeal».
This definition mea that success of policy lies in three dimeion: process, program and politics (McConnel, 2010).

Process. While defining if a policy is successful as a process, we should check:

  1. The policy goals were preservation,

  2. General acceptance of legitimacy of the policy exists and that it has been produced through legal mea and procedures,

  3. If sustainable coalition was built,

  4. What the policy symbolizes: innovation and movement forward, or obviously bizarre ideas,

  5. Existence of opposition: Does it exist and for what extent.

Program. While defining if a policy is successful as a program, we should check:

  1. Was it implemented in line with the objectives, or failed to do so?

  2. Have the desired outcomes been achieved?

  3. Were benefits created for a large target group, or did it produce damage to the groups?

  4. Has the policy domain criteria been meet?

  5. Is there an opposition to the aims and mea of the program.

Politics. While defining if a policy is successful as politics, we should check:

  1. Is it improving or damaging the electoral prospects and reputation of the politicia and leade who are respoible for it?

  2. Is the process of controlling and endoing of the policy agenda easing, or damaging the business of governing?

  3. Is it sustaining or damaging the broad values of government?

  4. Is there an opposition for political benefits of government?

For each parameter McConnel gave 5 dimeion of success:

  1. Success,

  2. Resilient success,

  3. Conflicted success,

  4. Precarious success,

  5. Failure

Challenges in judging policy success

The main challenge in policy judging is the extreme complicity of the process and multiplicity of paramete and dimeio of measurement. As shown above, there are three different dimeion with five paramete in each and a five-point scale of measurement. The process of evaluation is highly subjective and in case of broad public attention, can be politicized, so even within one dimeion it is difficult to reach an agreement about the evaluation.

But the main problem, as shown in a study, is that different analytics analyze policies in different dimeio and, therefore, disagree on its success or failure (Howlett, 2012).

Moreover, most policies are successful in one dimeion, but fail in another. Most of the policies will not show complete success or failure in any of the dimeio, but will be partly successful in each of them. This makes politicia and administrato highly seitive to policy risks (Howlett, 2012).

Example 1: Gorbachev anti-alcoholic campaign in USSR

In 1985 the Soviet Union government introduced an anti-alcohol campaign. The goal was to fight widespread alcoholism in the Soviet Union. The annual coumption of alcohol per capita in the USSR by 1984 reached 14 lite, 53% of it was vodka (Treml, 1997).

In 1985 an anti-drinking campaign began with cuts in the production and sale of alcoholic beverages (all the sales controlled by the government) combined with price increases and introduction of administrative penalties for alcohol abuse.

The statistical reports showed a rapid decrease of coumption of alcohol: by 66% in the fit three yea of the campaign (Treml, 1997) according to official statistics. Yearly statistical reports showed a decrease of alcohol-related deaths. «The average number of deaths in 1986 and 1987 compared to 1984 had declined by about 200,000; the struggle agait alcoholism of the last few yea contributed to the decline of mortality» (Narkhoz 1987 in Treml, 1997).

However, Treml's research (1997) shows a drastic increase of coumption of so-called «Samogon» – illegal, self-produced low quality vodka. This was heavily coumed, especially in rural areas where the conditio for brewing Samogon were better than in the cities.

If we are to include Samogon coumption in total alcohol coumption, the anti-alcohol campaign still showed a major 33% decrease of alcohol coumption (Kueng and Yakovlev, 2016).

The negative coequences of the campaign were major reductio of budget incomes from alcohol sales (Terekh, 2005), and major damage to the grape growing farms, many of which were destroyed, othe broke, and an increase of illegal alcohol production and coumption.

Politically, the campaign was a disaster for Gorbachev and the Soviet government: the citize perceived the campaign as an absurd initiative of the authorities, directed agait the «small soviet citizen» (Maetnaya, 2015).

However, a recent study shows unexpected outcomes of the short-term anti-alcohol policy, that are observable only now: the campaign and liberalization of the light-alcohol market after the Soviet Union collapsed lead to a shift from heavy alcohol to light alcohol among young use (Kueng and Yakovlev, 2016). The low availability of vodka and other hard alcohol lead to a pattern for drinking light alcohol among young people. Decades after the campaign finished researche are finding that 60% of the recent decrease in male mortality can be explained in this shift of preferences. The researche expect the male mortality rate will continue to decrease by another 23% over the next twenty yea.

So if we are to use McConnel's (2010) system of measurement of public policy we will see the next results:

Anti-alcohol policy in the USSR as process:


  1. The government's goals have been preserved: alcohol coumption decreased. But a major increase of illegal alcohol production and coumption and budget losses, lead to unwilling coequences. Precarious success

  2. Policy legitimacy was doubtful: even though the high government officials supported the program, the wine produce, economists and law-enforcement agencies opposed it (Grushko, 1997). Conflicted success

  3. There was no need for building a coalition in the Soviet Systems to implement policies, however, as described above, this policy had some opposition. This dimeion is not useful for a Soviet system in my opinion.

  4. The program symbolized a move forward and was supported with major propaganda efforts to iure this impression. However, these efforts did not work and the public did not accept the campaign (Maetnaya, 2015). Failure,

  5. Opposition to the process was high in Soviet terms, as described above. Precarious success

Anti-alcohol policy in the USSR as a program:

  1. Mixed results of the implementation: a big decrease of alcohol coumption accompanied by an increase of illegal alcohol production, yet the program resulted in a decrease of 33% of alcohol coumption including illegal alcohol. Resilient success,

  2. Desired outcomes have been achieved, especially if we count the long-term outcomes: the coumption of alcohol and the mortality among men decreased (Kueng and Yakovlev, 2016). Success.

  3. The target group of the campaign - male population - enjoyed the benefits of it: mortality decreased during and after the campaign (Kueng and Yakovlev, 2016) (Treml, 1997). Success,

  4. The program generally met the policy domain criteria, but part of the campaign drew unwanted public attention and scandals: the demolition of vineyards and samogon production for example. Precarious success.

  5. Despite support from parts of society, the program had major opposition, as the values and mea were not undetood. Precarious success

Anti-alcohol policy in the USSR as a politics:

  1. Hard to define the electoral prospects in the Soviet system, there are no fair and open electio.

  2. The program brought heavy destruction into the government's functioning: decrease in budget incomes, necessity of enforcement of alcohol ba and prosecution of illegal alcohol produce. Failure,

  3. It is hard to say what the broad values and directio of the Soviet government were, but if we look into Lenin&quo;s works on the Soviet state we can see some of them (Lenin, 1918). It is hard to say if these values had something to do with reality in 1985.

  4. The program had high opposition to political benefits from the general public and major stakeholde. Failure.

So it is possible to say that the anti-alcohol campaign was a success as a program, since it achieved most of the goals and benefited the target group, and was precariously successful as a process and a failure politically. This shows that the extreme complexity and multiple dimeio of assessment of policy success are a major challenge to evaluate whether it was a success or a failure.

In fact even the author of the program, Mikhail Gorbachev, when asked about the program said «Because of mistakes in the process good and big program ended as a failure» (Gorbachev, 2005).

However, a report (The European Bank for Recotruction and Development, 1999) shows a completely opposite evaluation of the program: «The significance of alcohol seems to be confirmed by the fact that the anti-alcohol campaign of Gorbachev during the mid-1980s resulted in a very notable improvement in male life expectancy by almost three yea between 1980 and 1985». The same assessment is given by another report (United Natio, 1999).

Recent research (Kueng and Yakovlev, 2016) shows a significant decrease in male mortality decades after the three-year-long campaign and confirms the positive assessment of the program.

Interesting fact: while writing this paper I asked my twitter followe to awer a quick survey: do you assess the Gorbachev anti-alcohol program as a success, 87% of the 4271 participants awered «no» and «probably no». This is just an interesting fact and not an attempt to make a survey.

The different opinio on success and failure of the same program show that the assessment of public policy was very challenging because of different points of view, different assesso and the complexity of all the facto that needed to be weighed up during the evaluation.

Example 2. Sochi 2014 winter olympic games

Sometimes there are situatio when the assessment of a policy's success or failure is challenging because of a different undetanding of the policy goals, and wrong sets of goals for a policy in the fit place.

It can be called «icon politics»: when a project is being done for symbolic value, to contribute to the reputation of a political leader or national prestige. Projects like this can be uuccessful economically, environmentally, and with other regular-world assessment measures, but can still be perceived and declared as a success by politicia and even perceived like this by the public opinion (Carter, 2011).

In 2007 Sochi was selected to host the Winter Olympic Games in 2014. This project was quickly declared as «national priority» and peonally controlled the preparatio to the games (Putin, 2012). A report prepared by Russian opposition leade suggests that the Olympic Games for Putin was a peonal priority:

«The Winter Olympics in Sochi are a peonal project of Putin&quo;s. He thought (and probably still does) that the Olympic Games would be his triumph, and that the participation of athletes from all over the world would be an indisputable recognition of his leadehip both in Russia and in the world» (Nemtsov and Martynyuk, 2013).

In Guatemala during the electio of the city that will host the game, Putin declared that 10 billion dolla would be spent for cotruction of brand new arenas and venues (RBC, 2007). However, the final official spending ended up to be 55 billion dolla (Müller, 2014). It made the Sochi Olympics the most expeive olympic games in history.

The games was finished with a triumph of the Russian Olympic team – Russia won 33 medals, fit place in total medal counts and in gold medal counts. In Russia, the games were perceived as a national triumph, and a survey showed 77% of Russia evaluated the games as a success (Levada, 2014).

As this survey applies more for the sport results of the games, there were other questio, and 81% of the respondents said that the games «caused a surge of patriotic feeling».

Recent doping allegatio question the athletic success of the Russian Olympic team (McVeigh, 2016).


A study (Müller, 2014) shows the main issues were particularly important for the Russian leadehip in this project:

  1. Grandeur: Building a state-of-the-art sporting object in the open country with major governmental spending was supposed to show the greatness of Russia.

  2. Domestic spectacle: The project's aim was to promote Russia's self-pride and self-confidence by showing the possibility of organizing such an event and sport success.

  3. Soft power: Putin wanted to demotrate to the world as much as to himself that Russia was still, and again, a force to be reckoned with.

  4. Neopatrimonialism: Redistribution of wealth resources to iure loyalty of Russian elites. Opposition claims that major corruption and fraud happened during the cotruction of the objects (The Anti-Corruption Foundation and Navalny, 2014),

Politically, as shown above, the games achieved many of its goals. However, the games can be coidered as a failure from the next points of view (Azzali, 2016).

  1. Post-occupancy of the Olympic park: currently, the sport venues are not used; Sochi was not traformed into an attractive winter destination, and the coastal claster (place with 14 venues including 48,000 seat football arena and 12,000 ice hockey arena) has not become an integrated piece of the city.

  2. Physical point of view: the Olympic park is located 30km from Sochi's city center. It is difficult to reach as most of the rail connectio were canceled after the games. The space is not attractive, is surrounded by a major road, and does not offer attractive activities for tourists, except for the October Formula 1 competition, the rest of the year the park stands empty.

  3. Economic: The event cost 55 billion dolla, all the sports venues are now closed or underutilized; the park, with the exception of weeks before the F1 race, is abandoned.

However, Vladimir Putin declared the games as a major success. Recently (Putin, 2016), after the doping allegatio and the evaluation of the legacy of the games shown above, he reminded all about the «major success».

«Exactly two yea ago the Olympic flame was lit in Sochi. Across the country, we were respoibly preparing for this event and are proud that we held the best in the history of the Olympic Games - modern traport, resorts, recreational infrastructure and unique sports facilities were built, created. Thanks to this creative work - XXII Olympic and XI Paralympic Winter Games were held at the highest level, which left a unique legacy that will long serve the people» (Putin, 2016).

This case shows the challenges on assessment «icon policies». Evidence-based assessment of the facts, process, and program shows clear failure. But the political side can be evaluated as a success. Therefore, people that oppose the initial goals of the policy will not take into account the later «success» because they opposed the goals in the fit place.


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