Hi, I'm Professor Paula Lantz, and welcome to Course 3 in our series on data analytics for the public sector. This course is focused on a main activity that involves data analysis, which is different types of policy analysis. In the weeks for this course, we're going to be talking about several different ways in which policy analysis is done in the public sector and the fundamental role of data. To get us started however, we need to talk about policy. What exactly is policy and why does it matter so much in the work of the public sector? Our roadmap for this week is to first of all, define policy and different types of policy. We will then apply a useful policy typology to two important public issues, tobacco use and climate change. We'll also talk very generally about the policy-making process and the role of different types of data and analysis in that process. Finally, for this first week, we'll have an introduction to different types of policy analysis, which we'll then dive into in much more detail in the following weeks. I'm really excited to be with you as you learn more about public policy and policy analysis, as I've been engaged in policy analysis and teaching about it for my entire career. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. What is policy? At its most general level, a policy is a course of action or a principle of action adopted or proposed by a government, political party, business, organization, or even an individual, us as individuals can have our own personal policies. For our purposes, we're focusing on public policy, which includes constitutions of governments and their subdivisions, laws, regulations, administrative rules, court decisions, and other courses of action undertaken by governmental entities. This includes funding priorities as well. Now public policy can be both formal or informal, and we'll talk more about that in a moment. Public policy is created by all branches of government, legislative, but also the administrative and judicial branches of government, and public policy is far-reaching. It has a lot of influence not only on the public sector itself, but also on the private sector, the non-profit sector, and the general public. Public policy shapes in both good and problematic ways, all of our systems, institutions, organizations and communities and society. The most simplistic policy typology that's used in the world of public policy is one that distinguishes between formal policy or policy with a P, and informal policy or policy with a p. I assure you that policy experts talk about policy with a P or a p. Formal or P policy includes things like laws, regulations, executive orders, court rulings, administrative rules, budgetary rules, entitlement programs, so on and so forth. The most important characteristic about formal policy is that there are consequences for not following the policy. Consequences like having a fine, losing a license or some other privilege, or even criminal consequences. Formal policy does tend to have an impact on a large number of people. But again, it's most important characteristic is that there are consequences for not following or obeying the policy. Examples and there are many, there's just a few listed on a slide, and it includes things like national health insurance and pension programs, tax codes, anti-discrimination laws, environmental regulations, all the laws related to driving, laws related to the legal age for many activities like using alcohol, tobacco, getting married, buying a firearm, school attendance, and so forth. Laws regarding the sale of counterfeit or knockoff goods, and government mandates to wear a mask on mass transit during a pandemic. Now, on the other hand, we have informal policy or policy with a p. Informal policy is things like guidelines issued by a professional association or the government, the recommendations of expert panels, rules within institutions, different types of local programs for youth, government grants for capacity-building. I hope you're getting the picture here. Informal policy is, well, less formal or rigid than formal policy with a P, it tends to be smaller in scope and often smaller in the use of resources. But again, the most important part of informal policy is that there are really no consequences for not following the policy. Some examples of informal policy include public information or education campaigns. For example, Portugal has an anti-hate campaign aimed at children that's called the No Hate Ninjas Campaign. Brazil has a public information campaign on how to protect your own personal data. Some other examples are all the guidelines and recommendations that are out there by governments and expert organizations regarding wearing a mask. Now, a mask mandate by a government is a form of P policy. If there are consequences for not following it, like not being allowed entry into some place if you're not wearing a mask, sometimes even getting a fine if you're not wearing a mask. But guidelines and recommendations regarding wearing masks to protect against COVID-19 spread are an example of informal policy. In addition, there's lots of international agencies that issue all recommendations, best practices, reports, guidelines, etc. This includes reports and guidelines that come out from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This group has issued a number of recommendations for both formal and informal policy changes. Let's do a couple more quick examples. While we're all required to pay our taxes. This is a very formal type of public policy. There are also some tax incentives that are informal policies that are trying to nudge rather than require or force certain types of behavior. For example, 17 of the countries in the European Union offer tax breaks to consumers who purchase electric vehicles. You're not required to do this. There's no consequences if you don't do it, but if you do, you get a break on your taxes. Also, government grant programs for community development, for health and other types of scientific research for the arts etc, can also be considered informal policy.