19 Mar 2022


Political vs. Economic Approaches to Decision-Making

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Academic level: College

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Many people use the political and economic approaches when making decisions and formulating policies. The right policymaking will be known once it is possible to capture the need for which policy is required. These two approaches fit different situations. They also have different benefits and attract merit of different levels. Public policy is an all-stakeholder act that requires that the players be caring enough to accommodate divergent views. At the apex of decision-making, these two avenues are available to use, and one can end up in a dilemma on which to use.

The Basic Tenets of Political Approaches

The political angle to decision-making emanates from the decision to always work in the interests of the people. People‘s interests influence public policy to a large extent. In a Socialist government, every policy that formulated has to reflect the people’s wishes. It is their approval that the top policymakers will inquire before working on policy. This approach contrasts sharply with the economic approach. They could both apply in the policy formulation process, but they will bring different results. Whereas political approach seeks to address a policy on people’s wishes, the economic approach aims to address issues based on how systems work. It is a scholarly approach that needs consideration with all the necessary input approaches from people in the field. Policy-makers often have a clear mandate to work towards meeting what is needed and appropriate for situations at hand. The primary interest factor here will be how useful communication comes out successful from within the levels are known by all. It is also important to allow economic experts weigh into any public policy under formulation. This gives a better view of how people can meet the objective of appropriateness. 

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The two approaches; political and economic avenues to policy making are appropriate when the need to do so arises. Most importantly, the situation that is being addressed is the one that dictates which method for use. Through economic approaches, it will be possible to address the technical and systemic aspects of a policy that is formulated. It involves quantitative assessment of real variables that will form a key pillar of the decision-making process. Any decision maker will find merit in using such variables as will be administered through relevant research. 

A political approach to policy is always pursued to cater for public interest and meet the desires of some quarters that would easily not be favored through other policy-making avenues. The dependency of people’s life on the policy made is real and hence the need to always try to accommodate their views. This effort raises another concept that works in this interest. Before any serious public policy is formulated, it is important to gather information and suggestions from the targeted public. This dimension is akin to a political process since people are involved. The process requires people always to participate in a plebiscite. This means that it is not possible to entirely get rid of the political process during decision-making. Over time, it has become feasible to understand the interests that matter to people through such public participation avenues. In the fullness of time, it is open for all players to step in and share what they best know and deal with the interests of the people being addressed.

Governments often emphasize the need to be involved in policy formulations touching on what is best suited for all individuals. This requires that there be an official way of addressing the concerns of the interested parties so that policy made suits the various needs. The reason a government cannot fully abandon the political approach for the economic is that politicians constitute governments. This reality means that at any point in time, the public interest will emerge out of the nature of governance structure in place. Individuals in leadership positions will be required to give input that is both popular and appropriate, hence a mix of the two approaches. 

The immigration policy in the US

The formulation of any policy touching on the issue of immigration in the United States of America has always elicited interests from many parties. The United States has an acute shortage of labor given its continuous growth in the economy. This situation necessitates the need to bring in more people from the diaspora to come work for the country. Naturally, only those from the developing world will be available to migrate here and particularly those from Africa. The issue of race relations stands a variable worth considering in this endeavor. Locals, despite being aware of the labor deficit, are still skeptical about the influx of foreigners. 

This immigration policy in the Obama administration has been through rocks due to its political undertone. The Obama regime has considered working on a system that allows the illegal immigrants who have already found their way to the country to enjoy citizenship. This policy came into being through a balance of both of political and economic avenue. The economic bit of it was in the sense that the government needed to attract people who would come work for the country to support its growing economy. In contrast, they wished to appeal to the populations who had propelled them to power. It was a policy that went against the provisions of the law barring people from illegally migrating to the country. This is a testimony of how a political decision can cut across all facets of life although the balance is ideal. The economic view here also calls for a realistic approach to the way people are required to handle policymaking. The making of a policy is a multidimensional approach that calls for a meaningful amount of time to address as many possible ways as possible. In the same way, it requires that people charged with this role have to indulge constructively with all the stakeholders of all classes.


The two options of economic policy are dependent on the need with which such a policy came into being. Instances, where populist views are present, require a political approach. The interests of the people have to be satisfied in any economy, and political leaders must ensure that such is achieved. The public interest is at the heart of any political solution. In the case of American immigration policy, it is likely that the government had a double chance to go with the two policies. The country needed labor while having to address the issues of illegal immigrants from whom the leadership of the day expected to get some support later. This is however not the case in all situations. It was ideal for the Obama administration to justify their actions through the two approaches. 

On ideal conditions, economic approach to any formulation policy exercise is better than the political approach. It is a sustainable approach since it caters for both the appropriateness and the sustainability of policy. A well-formulated economic policy meets the cost and viability threshold. This has also been cited as a cause for the many instances in countries that are politically stable. It is always difficult to formulate economic policies in a country that is politically stable. Political stability is the basis for which any other economic policy can be run. A country thus needs to consider managing its political temperatures for the sake of economic progress. The conditions necessary for a stable political environment is the existence of a better way that will be realizable through decision-based judgments. In essence, the players have to create a platform where they can easily identify the variables that are influential to such a cause.

In the matter relating to the development of policy for the whole country, it is important to allow all players to study the contributing factors to the policy at hand and create an easy environment for everyone to act right. The main contributory issues to this kind of language revolve around economic experts dealing with data collection and analyzing them as required. This fits the case where people have to accommodate many other challenges that emanate from both technical and conceptual angles. The fact that many other instances of human interests happen from an advancement of public policy, it is important to look into the extensive and far-reaching impacts of each. There can never be any other better way to handle a public policy, which meets all stakeholder interests without paying attention to the small specific gains derivable. A policy maker will always work towards assessing both the general effectiveness and the particular effectiveness of their policies. It calls for the actualization of every public policy in line with the needs of everyone targeted. 

Instrumentalism in Policy-Making

The need to address the challenges of the society influence the way policies are made. In this regard, instrumentalism is suggested as a sustainable principle of policy formulation. It proposes a systematic and piecemeal implementation of what is proposed as the operating policy. Incrementalism is suggested as an implementation avenue that assures that the implementers do miss a step or overwork themselves. Mistakes are always bound to happen when implementing a new policy. Checks and balances that accompany this implementation can only work if the process is done at a manageable pace. Incrementalism as a school of thought is common in economic avenues of decision-making. Such situations described by ´if´ moments give room for related conditions. The reality in an economy is that certain results come through if and when some conditions are met and when such happens then specific actions need to be taken. This sequence of interdependency in policy thoughts is common in economic policies. Incrementalism thus comes in to smoothen such a rather complex series. Modern day policy makers rely on data collection and analysis for better decision making. Therefore, there needs to be an empirical process towards the creation of any realistic policy. 

Incrementalism is related to path dependency policy of decision-making. Path dependency is the description that puts that history matters when handling issues of current times. That the sequence of events always predicts what next should follow. The past is useful to any decision maker since its assists him or her to set out the trajectory of events as needed. Through incrementalism, a policy maker will have a greater reliance on path dependency than in any other situation of decision-making. Therefore, it is worth noting that incrementalism is a complement to the policy of path dependency. They both draw parallels from the assumption that merit emanates from growing at a manageable pace.

Policy feedback as a government policy formula also draws many similarities from incrementalism. Policy feedback is the government's way of making policies based on the current economic conditions. The kind of decisions made emanates from the feedback gotten from studies about market trends. The two policy formulas share the common approach that for one to adequately determine the immediate future, the present must be understood. They also recognize the role and influence of past events as they happened. Both act as a policy maker’s benchmark on what they should do to learn the next trend. The correct policy is that which mirrors the trajectory of economic progress from the past to the present. Incrementalism is thus a positive way of conducting decision-making. These two reflect changes that happen in the economy at any time and will consequently necessitate a change in the prevailing policy; a situation described a policy drift. In the case of non-decision making, undesirable results are also likely to be experienced. In the end, a policy drift will be inevitable to salvage a deteriorating situation.

Remedying a Recession

Economic mishaps do not happen by accident but through a series of systemic failures in the economy, which could be artificial or natural. A policy maker will rely on sequential data collected to make the right decisions for the moment. This is path dependency. Incrementalism though will inspire a systematic solution where recovery efforts shall be sequentially administered. The government of the day will need to set the agenda that supports a recovery of its economy among its people. This will call for the exercise of political power as deemed fit. Many times, non-decision making will keep allowing new challenges to set it. In the event of change beyond salvage level, a policy drift will be required and must be timely for effectiveness.

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 16). Political vs. Economic Approaches to Decision-Making.


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