Abstract for: Public Policy Implementation Modeling: The Classic Case of EDA in Oakland

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the potential benefits of collaboration between system dynamicists and traditional public policy analysts. We discuss implementation issues that are uniquely problematic in the public sector, and we present a simple, first draft of a system dynamics model of a complex case that is often cited as the seminal work in the implementation literature: Pressman and Wildavsky's narrative of the implementation problems that undercut an ambitious federal government initiative to combat persistent unemployment among minorities in Oakland, California in the late 1960s. Our model is just the beginning of our attempt to provide a dynamic framework for understanding the Oakland case and, more ambitiously, to develop a general model-based framework for interpreting the performance of government policies and provide guidance at the design stage of policy formation so that feasibility issues can be subjected to more operational scrutiny before implementation begins.