Fall 2019 - 59270 - PA 388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy
The Politics Of Public Policy
In the words of the political scientist Theda Skocpol: “[A]s politics creates policies, policies also remake politics.” This course will explore the interaction between public policies and political coalitions which may either sustain them or undercut them and lead to their modification, replacement or repeal.
An open-book mid-term and an open-book final will test the ability of the students to use the concepts we study to analyze the politics of particular public policy reforms.
In addition, near the beginning of the semester each student will choose an area of public policy of particular personal interest to the student as the basis of a case study, which will be turned in toward the end of the semester and which will also serve as the basis of an in-class presentation to peers.
Finally, each student will write a book review of one of three historical case studies, each focused on the politics surrounding a particular major piece of failed or successful Congressional legislation. The three books are Daniel Patrick Moynihan, The Politics of a Guaranteed Income: The Nixon Administration and the Family Assistance Plan (guaranteed income/earned income tax credit), Haynes Johnson and David Broder, The System: The American Way of Politics at the Breaking Point (the Clinton administration’s ill-fated health care initiative) and Daniel Boland, Philip Rocco and Alex Waddan, Obamacare Wars: Federalism, State Politics, and the Affordable Care Act (the Affordable Care Act).
Course grades will be determined as follows: Class participation (10%); case study with in-class presentation (30%); book review (20%); open-book mid-term exam (20%); open-book final exam (20%).
Two books are required:
- Christopher M. Weible and Paul A. Sabatier, Theories of the Policy Process, 4th Ed (2017)
- Eric M. Patashnik, Reforms at Risk (2008)
In addition, students will choose one of the two following three books for their book reviews:
Daniel Patrick Moynihan, The Politics of a Guaranteed Income: The Nixon Administration and the Family Assistance Plan (1973) (guaranteed income/EITC)
Haynes Johnson and David Broder, The System: The American Way of Politics at the Breaking Point (1996) (the Clinton administration’s health care initiative)
Daniel Boland, Philip Rocco and Alex Waddan, Obamacare Wars: Federalism, State Politics, and the Affordable Care Act (2016) (the Affordable Care Act)
Books are available for purchase at the Co-Op, and are also on reserve in the library.
Other readings will be available on Canvas.