Political Science | Public Administration, Law and Politics: Public Policy A&I
Y565 | 10049 | McGinnis

Public Policy:  Approaches And Issues
This course also meets with V690

This seminar introduces graduate students to 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 as well as students specializing in
the field of Public Policy in Political Science or the Ph.D. in
Public Affairs program in SPEA. Students from other programs are
welcome, space permitting; they are encouraged to contact the
instructor before enrolling.

We will examine the standard range of theoretical approaches,
including policy stages, policy sciences, incrementalism,
institutional analyses based on theories of rational choice and
bounded rationality, social and historical institutionalism, public
choice, policy networks, advocacy coalitions, punctuated equilibria,
multiple streams, network governance, and narrative 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, and along the way students will get exposed to few details of
substantive policy. The primary focus of this seminar is on theory.

Required texts include Sabatier, Paul A., ed. 2007. Theories of the
Policy Process, 2nd edition, Goldsmith, Stephen and Donald F. Kettl,
eds. 2009. Unlocking the Power of Networks: Keys to High-Performance
Government, and Weimer, David L., and Aidan R. Vining. 2010. Policy
Analysis: Concepts and Practice, 5th edition. (Earlier editions of
Weimer and Vining are quite similar). In addition to regular memos
on course readings, students will submit a final exam, with
questions similar to those that tend to be asked on Ph.D.
examinations. Students are expected to participate actively in class
discussions, and will be graded accordingly.