Taking Aim

cover art
160 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9780878408290 (0878408290)

February 2001
LC: 00-061025

American Governance and Public Policy series



Taking Aim
Target Populations and the Wars on AIDS and Drugs
Mark C. Donovan
As elected lawmakers confront complex social problems, they inevitably make choices to single out certain populations for government-sanctioned benefits or burdens. Why some groups and not others are targeted is the central question explored in this analysis of the congressional response to two related public health crises.

Weaving case studies from the wars against AIDS and drugs with an empirical analysis of fifteen years of congressional action on these issues, Mark Donovan shows how members of Congress balance problem solving with re-election concerns, paying particular attention to their need to craft compelling rationales for their actions. His analysis shows that, counterintuitive as it may seem, most target populations with negative public images are selected to receive benefits rather than burdens.

Demonstrating that it is possible to analyze simultaneously both policy rhetoric and policy outputs, this book shows how problem frames and policy decisions evolve through the dynamic interplay of conflict participants.
Gerard W. Boychuk, Karen Mossberger, and Mark C. Rom, Series Editors
"A modest but useful step forward in the literature on target populations and policy design . . . A useful volume that advances discourse on target populations . . . This book will be useful to readers who are interested in the formation of public policy, who are interested in the nature of policy design—especially as policy design is linked to target populations, and who study the nature of the linkage of social problems with policy solutions. In the final analysis, this book makes a nice. . .contribution to the literature."—American Politics