Spring 2010 Course Description

Advanced Topics in Public Policy

Section Title: Governance and Public Policy in a Globalizing World
Instructor(s): Laurence Lynn
Course: P A 388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy
(previously Seminar in Topics in Public Policy)
Unique Number: 62478
Day & Time: Mondays, 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Room: SRH 3.360
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information

This course fulfills requirements for the following specialization(s):

Description: Governance refers to how nations, organizations, and communities, both individually and in partnership with others, either public or private or hybrid, organize to accomplish shared purposes. The concept of governance applies to a single corporation, NGO, or public agency; to a particular country, to consociations such as the European Union; and to the United Nations or the World Bank. Governance can be defined with respect to a shared purpose, such as international development or HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, or with respect to a policy domain, such as homeland security or global warming.

Creating and sustaining effective governance is a major concern of policy makers in national governments and in regional and international organizations. The quality of governance is an issue in foreign and national security policy, international development policy, and virtually every domain of domestic policy. The sense of urgency infusing discussions of governance has as its sources both the globalization of the issues confronting national and international policy makers, from climate change to financial stability and terrorism, and the spread of democracy movements and democratic reforms following the end of the Cold War.

Policy debates concerning governance are lively and controversial. Many scholars and practitioners, for example, argue that, as a broad generalization, governance is becoming “post-bureaucratic” and that the boundaries between states and the institutions of civil society, especially in advanced democracies, are being redrawn to reduce government’s role. Others dispute this view and argue that trends in the forms and instruments of governance prove the adaptability, not the obsolescence, of traditional hierarchical/bureaucratic governance and confirm the path dependence of national institutional development. These and other issues raised in contemporary debates on governance in a globalizing world will be explored.

The goal of this course is twofold. The first goal is to familiarize you with the many different definitions, concepts, and models of governance that are encountered discussions of public policies toward governance and governance reform and in professional literature. The second goal is to equip you with the critical analytical tools and skills to evaluate the impact of various forms of governance, and of various proposals for governance reform, on the performance of governments and on the interactions between the state and civil society. Why does governance take the forms and evolve in the ways that it does both nationally and internationally? How do systems of governance “work”? How can we explain the success or failure of governance reforms? In the light of the answers to these questions, how can governance problems be solved?
Specific questions such as the following will be considered: Can national public policy affect student learning and achievement at the classroom level? Why did the United Nation’ “Oil for Program” in Iraq fail—or did it? Why did integration into the European Union have such different effects in Spain and Portugal? Under what circumstances should policy makers prefer (a) markets, (b) hierarchy, and (c) networks when designing public policies and programs? Why did Great Britain and Germany react so differently to the neo-liberal administrative reform movement called “New Public Management”?

A number of concepts useful to the analysis and comparison of governance systems will be introduced. These include transaction costs, common property resource, veto players, path dependence, chain of delegation, and principal-agent problems. These concepts are useful in expanding one’s grasp of why we observe what we do in governance systems and how those systems might be changed to produce different outcomes.

Course Readings:
Materials for the course include a book, Public Management: Old and New, by Laurence E. Lynn, Jr.; supplementary readings; and teaching and research cases. The book is available (in paperback) from amazon.com and at the Co-op East. Supplementary readings are available on ERes .

Class Discussion:
In general, the first half of each class will be devoted to discussion of the readings. You will be expected to come to class prepared with questions, critical comments, and insights based on the readings, which they will circulate to your classmates via the class listserv no later than the night before class. The second half of each class will be devoted to a discussion and analysis of assigned teaching and research cases.

You will be expected to participate in class discussions of issues raised by the readings and other assignments. Points for participation will be based on the quality (analytic insights, mastery of concepts, being on point), not quantity, of comments.

You will be expected to attend each class. If you are unable to attend on any given day, you should notify the instructor in advance. You will be allowed one excused absence without penalty.

You will be expected to complete the following assignments:
● Questions/Comments on Readings - as discussed above, you are expected to circulate questions/comments on the readings by the night before scheduled classes;
● Case Analyses –You will be expected to complete four case analysis memos of 3-5 double-spaced pages each (discussed further below);
● Course Paper –You will be expected to complete a 12-15 double-spaced page analysis of an issue or problem of governance chosen by the you (also discussed further below).

Your maximum score for the entire course is 100 points, which may be earned as follows:
● questions/comments on course reading and participation in case discussions: 20 points;
● case analyses: 10 points each, for a total of 40 points;
● course paper: 40 points.
Your final semester grades will be based on the +/- grade system, as approved by the Graduate Assembly.

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