Fall 2017 - 60770 - PA 383C – Advanced Topics in Public Policy

Politics of Public Policy

Policymaking is an inherently political process. While experts may calculate the costs and benefits of various policy options, outcomes depend upon politically based decisions and their underlying, often unarticulated, values and belief systems. Similarly, “policy entrepreneurs” may understand the politics of a situation but lack the practical skills to implement their policies. Effective policymaking, whether at the local, state, national, or international level, depends on good policy (however one defines the “good”), good politics, and good practice. This course will help students think and act tri-dimensionally by examining these three “goods” through a combination of theoretical readings and accompanying case studies in ethics, decision-making, leadership, strategic design, advocacy, negotiation, organizational behavior, and other key elements of public policy. Cases will range across the spectrum of domestic and international policy issues.

Students will write three short policy memoranda (of no more than 1,000 words each), contribute to one group memo of the same length, participate in a group oral presentation, and submit a final scenarios paper (of 3,000 to 4,000 words). Grades will be weighted roughly as follows: 30% for the individual policy memos, 10% for the group assignments, 30% for the scenarios paper, and 30% for overall contributions to seminar discussions. There will be no exams.  

SRH 3.220