Measures employed by governments to influence economic activity, specifically by manipulating the money supply and interest rates. Monetary and fiscal policy are two ways in which governments attempt to achieve or maintain high levels of employment, price stability, and economic growth. Monetary policy is directed by a nation's central bank. In the U.S., monetary policy is the responsibility of the Federal Reserve System, which uses three main instruments: open-market operations, the discount rate, and reserve requirements. In the post-World War II era, economists reached a consensus that, in the long run, inflation results when the money supply grows at too rapid a rate. Seealso monetarism.
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Collective governmental effort to control the incomes of labour and capital, usually by limiting increases in wages and prices. The term often refers to policies directed at the control of inflation, but it may also indicate efforts to alter the distribution of income among workers, industries, locations, or occupational groups. Seealso wage-price control.
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Measures employed by governments to stabilize the economy, specifically by adjusting the levels and allocations of taxes and government expenditures. When the economy is sluggish, the government may cut taxes, leaving taxpayers with extra cash to spend and thereby increasing levels of consumption. An increase in public-works spending may likewise pump cash into the economy, having an expansionary effect. Conversely, a decrease in government spending or an increase in taxes tends to cause the economy to contract. Fiscal policy is often used in tandem with monetary policy. Until the 1930s, fiscal policy aimed at maintaining a balanced budget; since then it has been used “countercyclically,” as recommended by John Maynard Keynes, to offset the cycle of expansion and contraction in the economy. Fiscal policy is more effective at stimulating a flagging economy than at cooling an inflationary one, partly because spending cuts and tax increases are unpopular and partly because of the work of economic stabilizers. Seealso business cycle.
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Use of government to make economic decisions with respect to the use of resources. In communist countries with a state planning apparatus, detailed and rigid planning results in a command economy; land, capital, and the means of production are publicly owned and centrally allocated, and the government makes both micro- and macroeconomic decisions. Microeconomic decisions include what goods and services to produce, the quantities to produce, the prices to charge, and the wages to pay. Macroeconomic decisions include the rate of investment and the extent of foreign trade. In most industrialized countries, governments influence their economies indirectly through monetary and fiscal policies. A few key economic sectors may be publicly owned, but the trend has been toward the privatization of industries that were socialized in the aftermath of the Great Depression and World War II. Japan is the most notable example of economic planning in a capitalist framework; government and industry cooperate closely in planning patterns of capital investment, research and development, and export strategies. Seealso capitalism, communism, socialism, zaibatsu.
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Economic policy of the Soviet Union (1921–28). A temporary retreat from the failed War Communism policy of extreme centralization and doctrinaire socialism, the new measures included the return of most agriculture, retail trade, and light industry to private ownership (though the state retained control of heavy industry, banking, transport, and foreign trade) and the reintroduction of money into the economy. The policy allowed the economy to recover from years of war. In 1928 chronic grain shortages prompted Joseph Stalin to begin to eliminate private ownership of farmland and to collectivize agriculture under state control, effectively ending the NEP. By 1931 state control was reimposed over all industry and commerce.
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A policy is a deliberate plan of action to guide decisions and achieve rational outcome(s). The term may apply to government, private sector organizations and groups, and individuals. Presidential executive orders, corporate privacy policies, and parliamentary rules of order are all examples of policy. Policy differs from rules or law. While law can compel or prohibit behaviors (e.g. a law requiring the payment of taxes on income) policy merely guides actions toward those that are most likely to achieve a desired outcome.
Policy or policy study may also refer to the process of making important organizational decisions, including the identification of different alternatives such as programs or spending priorities, and choosing among them on the basis of the impact they will have. Policies can be understood as political, management, financial, and administrative mechanisms arranged to reach explicit goals.
Corporate purchasing policies provide an example of how organizations attempt to avoid negative effects. Many large companies have policies that all purchases above a certain value must be performed through a purchasing process. By requiring this standard purchasing process through policy, the organization can limit waste and standardize the way purchasing is done.
The State of California provides an example of benefit-seeking policy. In recent years, the numbers of hybrid vehicles in California has increased dramatically, in part because of policy changes in Federal law that provided USD $1,500 in tax credits (since phased out) as well as the use of high-occupancy vehicle lanes to hybrid owners (no longer available). In this case, the organization (state and/or federal government) created an effect (increased ownership and use of hybrid cars) through policy (tax breaks, benefits).
The policy formulation process typically includes an attempt to assess as many areas of potential policy impact as possible, to lessen the chances that a given policy will have unexpected or unintended consequences. Because of the nature of some complex adaptive systems such as societies and governments, it may not be possible to assess all possible impacts of a given policy.
An eight step policy cycle is developed in detail in The Australian Policy Handbook by Peter Bridgman and Glyn Davis: (now with Catherine Althaus in its 4th edition)
The Althaus, Bridgman & Davis model is heuristic and iterative. It is intentionally normative and not meant to be diagnostic or predictive. Policy cycles are typically characterised as adopting a classical approach. Accordingly some postmodern academics challenge cyclical models as unresponsive and unrealistic, preferring systemic and more complex models.
Some policies may contain additional sections, including
Policies may be classified in many different ways. The following is a sample of several different types of policies broken down by their effect on members of the organization.
When the term policy is used, it may also refer to:
There is often a gulf between stated policy (i.e. which actions the organization intends to take) and the actions the organization actually takes. This difference is sometimes caused by political compromise over policy, while in other situations it is caused by lack of policy implementation and enforcement. Implementing policy may have unexpected results, stemming from a policy whose reach extends further than the problem it was originally crafted to address. Additionally, unpredictable results may arise from selective or idiosyncratic enforcement of policy.-Citation Needed
Types of policy include:
These qualifiers can be combined, so for example you could have a stationary-memoryless-index policy.