Political Science | Public Policy: Approaches & Issues
Y565 | 23396 | McGinnis

Y565/V690 Public Policy: Approaches and Issues;
This class meets with SPEA V690: Seminar in the Policy Process

This seminar introduces graduate students to several alternative
theoretical perspectives that are especially important in the
scholarly study of public policy. It is primarily designed for
students in the Joint Ph.D. program in Public Policy, the field of
Public Policy in Political Science, or in the Public Affairs Ph.D.
program in SPEA. We will examine a wide array of theoretical
approaches, including policy stages, policy sciences,
incrementalism, institutional analysis based on rational choice
theory, public choice, policy networks, advocacy coalitions,
punctuated equilibrium, network governance, and discourse analysis.
Each student will be asked to complete a voluminous amount of
readings in diverse perspectives, with the expectation that each
will delve into the details of methods most appropriate for their
own research plans in other seminars. Most readings will be
analytical or conceptual in focus, but along the way students will
get exposed to the details of a few selected areas of substantive
policy. In addition to regular memos on course readings, students
will submit a seminar paper on a policy topic of their own choosing
in which they specify research questions that would be relevant from
different theoretical perspectives on a particular topic in public
policy. There will also be a final exam, with questions similar to
those that tend to be asked on Ph.D. examinations. Many articles
will be made available in electronic format, along with a few
required texts: Weimer and Vining, Policy Analysis, Sabatier,
Theories of the Policy Process, and Goldsmith and Eggers, Governing
by Network.