PubPol 510

PubPol 510: The Politics of Public Policy

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Winter 2023
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This is a core course restricted to Ford School students only. Please contact [email protected] with any questions.

The primary objective of this core course in the MPP curriculum is to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed for effective political analysis of public policy issues and decisions.  The course covers conceptual and analytic frameworks for understanding political processes, institutions, stakeholders, contexts and policy decision making.  In addition, the course builds written and verbal communication skills, emphasizing the ability to convey clear and concise political analyses in a variety of formats, including policy memos.  

This section helps students understand the political context of the policy process. Most of our understanding will be based on domestic frameworks, with some examples and extensions to comparative and/or international contexts. Students will be introduced to the aspects of the "policy cycle", from problem definition and framing to implementation, and analyze how aspects of the political context, both inside and outside government structures, influence different aspects of the policy cycle. In particular, we will consider agenda setting, framing and rhetoric, and discuss how the way that we define, understand and discuss problems impacts  solutions to those problems.  We will then explore how political influences both inside and outside the government influence this process by considering social movements, public opinion, the media and institutions. During the course, students will also develop strategies for responding to the political environment and improve both analytical and communications skills.