(Online Course) Pub Ad for IAS Mains: Public Policy - State Theories & Public Policy (Paper -1)

(Online Course) Public Administration for IAS Mains Exams

Topic: Public Policy: State Theories & Public Policy

In Max Weber’s influential definition, it is that organization that has a “monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory.” In thus includes such institutions as the armed forces, civil services or state bureaucracy, courts, and police.

Pluralistic Public Policy

Classical Pluralism: Public policy represents all sections which works for the benefit of all. It is not based towards interests of any particular group and is Sensitive interests of whole society. Pressure group activity plays the most important role in Public Policy.


Certain groups are more influential in policy making exercise. Public policy is not impartial and is biased in favour of some. Public policy is the product of relative strengths of various pressure groups and interests of the state public policy further the interests of the business class. It also furthers the state’s interests.

Public Policy of Capitalist State

Marxist: Public policy carries the interest of the bourgeoisie.

Neo Marxist: Public policy is influenced by the powerful groups among the bourgeoise. More powerful groups among the bourgeoise are able to influence the policy in the favour.

Public Policy of Marxist State

  • Public Policy is egalitarian and provides equal benefits to all sections.
  • There is no discrimination and no incentives are given to business class. Public Policy is directed towards more equality.

Public Policy of Leviathan State

  • Public Policy is oriented towards more state intervention, more taxes, more government expenditure, more government activities and more bureaucratic control of private sector, voluntary sector and individual life. Typical example would be a welfare state like India in which state carries out Imperative and Centralized Planning, State participation in economic activities, high regulation and control of market; welfare programmes.

  • Public Policy is based on Keynes philosophy and is responsive to demands of policy. Even without demand, actions are taken for weaker and marginalized sections (deficit financing etc.)

Liberal Feminist

  • Public Policy flows from general concern of equality and justice. For eg. Gender Budgeting, reservation of women in various institutions.
  • Public policy aims empowerment and welfare of all and social and Economic justice for all.
  • It is not biased in favour of anyone of any group.

Radical Feminist

  • Public Policy flows from a general concern for maintaining and perpetuating the male hegemony in the society.
  • Public policy is aimed at evidently bringing welfare to disadvantaged sections (women in particular) but is intended to increase the dependence of disadvantaged sections on the powerful structures.

  • The real issues of empowerment is not taken up and public policy is piecemeal, addressing only small part of the problem. Public Policy further increases gender inequality. It provides welfare as beneficiaries not as partners.


1. Minimalistic State

  • Public Policy is concerned with minimal functions – Providing legal framework, board economic direction, provide suitable environment for individual and markets to function. State performs the role of a night watchman.
  • Public Policy is geared towards domestic order, legal framework, economic stability, increasing competition, controlling monopoly etc.
  • Public Policy is restricted to core areas.

2. Development State

  • Public Policy is focused on State Development in economic life with a purpose of promoting industrial growth and economic development.
  • Public Policy is geared towards participation with the market.

3. Social Democratic State

  • Public Policy is aimed at state intervention for social restructuring.
  • The Focus of public policy is on redistributive justice; attempt to eradicate poverty, reduced social inequality.
  • Public Policy follows Keynesian philosophy viz. to manage/regulate capitalism to promote growth and maintain full employment.
  • Public Policy growth advocated demand management through policy viz. Deficit Financing, public spending and taxation.

4. Collectivist State

  • Public Policy is aimed at total state control of economic activities.
  • Public Policy is too detailed.
  • If Focuses on centralized and directive planning and Public sector.

5. Totalitarian State

  • Public Policy geared towards maintaining control in all aspects.
  • Public Policy strengthens the state and weakness the private and voluntary sector.
  • Public Policy is very detailed.

6. Elite State

  • Public Policy is dictated by the elite. If flows from elite to masses;
  • Masses have no participation in policy formulation.
  • Public Policy is designed to perpetuate and intensify the gap between elite and masses.

7. Competition State

  • Public Policy focuses on investment in education, technical up gradation; supporting market in increasing efficiency, reducing costs to be globally more competitive.
  • Human Resource Development is a major priority.
  • Pblic Policy supports a largely private economy with inputs from government in spheres where intervention is required.

8. Laissez Faire State

  • Public Policy is totally liberal, covering very few areas of public areas like Law and Order, Security etc.
  • Public Policy provides no control of economy activities.

9. Hollow State

  • Hollowing out of state – Functions that once belonged to the state have gradually been transferred to other institutions and bodies.
  • In prior Communist countries and developing countries.
  • Role of state and its significance are threatened by developments like ethnic conflicts, organized crime etc.
  • Emergence of “Statements nations”, tribes and clans. E.G. Kosovo (Albanians Kurds.
  • Public Policy of Hollow States in incapable of bringing any substantial change in economic or social life of the state.

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