This article presents to public health professionals concepts and perspectives from political science relevant for creating a healthier public policy. Currently, there is no uniform vision of what constitutes public interest and the decisions of public administrations tend to be based on compromise. In public debate, what is paramount is the capacity to persuade. From the perspective of public policy analysis, the crucial issue is definition: the final decision depends on the definition of the problem that has emerged triumphant in the public debate among competing actors with different definitions of the problem. From a policy analysis perspective, the problems entering the agenda of public administration does not necessarily correspond to their severity, as competing actors try to impose their point of view. Because of its historical evolution, the Spanish political system has specific traits. The relatively weak democratic tradition tends to make the decision process less visibles, with strong technocratic elements and weaker social articulation. Both the juridical tradition and liberal rhetoric portray lobbying as contrary to public interest, when in fact it is constantly performed by powerful vested interest groups, through both personal contacts and economic connections. Regulatory policies, with concentrated costs and diffuse benefits, seem to be moving from Spain to the European Union. To promote healthier public policies, the development of civil society initiatives and the building of coalitions will play an increasingly greater role in the future.
|Journal||Gaceta sanitaria / S.E.S.P.A.S|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2001|