Spring 2018 - 60690 - PA 383G – Policy Making in a Global Age | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin

Spring 2018 - 60690 - PA 383G – Policy Making in a Global Age

Policy Making in a Global Age


This course offers a comparative look at the making and implementation of policy in the global arena. It explores key concepts and theories concerning national interest, ethics, negotiation, decision making, strategic design, and crisis management, and it applies those concepts via case studies and simulations in diplomacy, trade policy, development assistance, peacekeeping operations, security policy, and transnational advocacy movements. The course aims to help students learn not only to analyze but also to implement policy: it employs an action-oriented approach that obliges students to react as a policy-maker would and thus gain a better appreciation of how and why states, organizations, and leaders act as they do.

In seeking to bridge the gap between theory and practice, the course is divided into two parts, “Concepts” and “Applications.” The first focuses on the acquisition of key theoretical and conceptual approaches on which we will draw in part two as we apply these concepts. We will employ case studies throughout, but in the first half of the course they will be used to explicate the concepts, while in the second half we will use cases to apply concepts already learned. Cases will span every region and every major power (along with several lesser ones and a number of non-state actors), and cover a wide range of issue areas.   


Students will write three short policy papers and one longer research paper in the form of a case study, make one formal oral presentation, and participate actively in class discussions. Grades will be weighted roughly as follows: 30% for the three policy memos, 40% for the case study, and 30% for the oral presentation and overall contributions to seminar discussions.  There will be no exams.

Required Books

  • Richard K. Betts, American Force: Dangers, Delusions, and Dilemmas in National Security (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011)
  • Ernest May and Phillip Zelikow, The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House during the Cuban Missile Crisis (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2001).
  • Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations (Basic Books, 5th edition, 2015).
  • Robert Hutchings and Jeremi Suri, Foreign Policy Breakthroughs: Cases in Successful Diplomacy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015)


SRH 3.316/3.350