• Erika Louise Y. V. (Philippines)

A comparative analysis between distributive and redistributive policymaking



When human life and resources are concerned there are no social excuses but mandatory accountability and responsibility. A political wind of change can be seen as the national building becomes a collective vision to improve both public administrations and our country as a whole. Nation building becomes the spirit of times where there is productivity through people which entails a collective vision among the government and the people. Possible developments waiting ahead and changes in a state’s social, economic, and political environment call for the need for public administration through policy-making to cater to the needs of the new generation.


Different decision-making styles can be chosen by the policy stakeholders and policymakers who are competing to reach a policy that would agree with their interests. Stakeholders can bargain, wherein they adjust their partially inconsistent goals to formulate an acceptable course of action. Among these types of policy making is Distributive and Redistributive Policymaking. Distributive policies aim to allocate resources either collectively or personally to people or are geared towards infrastructure. These policies are broadly accessible and the crux of it is that these benefits when allocated are “indefinitely divisible.” On the other hand, Redistributive policies are those which reallocate costs and benefits between individuals or groups. A clear distinction between the two rests on the source and distribution of welfare and benefits.


According to Theodore Lowi's (1964) policy typology, the distributive policy takes resources from a broad group of people and apportions the resource to a narrower group where such distribution is equal amongst them. However, a redistributive policy envisions two stakeholders namely the ”winners and the losers.” According to Lowi (1964), it intends to manipulate the allocation of wealth, property, personal or civil rights, or some other valued item amongst social classes or racial groups of subgroups in society. The best description of this is a tax policy that adheres to the principle of a progressive tax system where higher rates are applied to those earning higher levels of income.


Although both typologies address the distribution of welfare, much must be taken into consideration in weighing the overall ability of such policy to address the interests of the community regarding a country's current social realities. One should be guided in considering which political typology to undertake, one that results from centralization, where power remains at the top of the hierarchy, should not be taken. It creates the collective interests of the elites to compensate for their unsatisfied needs. A shift from a Centralized, top-down to a Decentralized, diverse flow of power would allow change to affect not only those on the top of the hierarchy but as well as those from the bottom.


A decision-making process that starts from the citizens to those in central control would allow for a diverse flow of power. It should foster a dynamic integration between the citizens and those in power. Even if in a hierarchical structure the populace is under the administration, the assumption is that goals and development can be achieved through cooperation. Public Administration builds community development wherein it entails a bright future ahead for every country. In the light of perplexing challenges that our country faces today, as long as the administrative value exists as one being “by the people, for the people,” a sense of community will see through at the heart of the administration through the right policy-making.