Political Science | US Domestic Policy (3 cr)
Y665 | 3450 | Bickers


This research seminar provides an overview of the literature on the politics
of U.S. domestic policy and gives students the opportunity to initiate a
research project on a regulatory topic of their choosing.  It is designed
for graduate students specializing in the field of public policy in the
political science program, as well as for students in the joint Ph.D.
program of political science and the School of Public and Environmental
Affairs.
The seminar will concentrate on three areas of American domestic policy:
social policy, regulatory policy, and distributive policy.  We will try to
gain an understanding of the patterns of growth and change in each of these
three policy areas during this century by addressing several theoretical
issues.  We will focus on differences and similarities across types of
policy goods, utilizing Lowi's policy typology, as well as the distinction
between private goods and different types of public goods, the distinction
between delivered policies and co-produced policies, and the distinction
between costs and risks.  We will look at the role that federalism plays in
the formulation and delivery of policies, by considering principal-agent and
top-down models and by considering the range of actors to whom
responsibility for producing policies is often delegated.  We will focus on
the roles played by different political actors, including policy
entrepreneurs, legislators, executives, and bureaucrats.  We will consider
the range of policy instruments available for implementing policies
different types of policies.  We will examine strategies available to
political principals to try to predetermine policy outcomes through the
design of bureaucratic structures and procedures.  And we will examine the
evolution and operation of policy subsystems around particular policy areas.
A key objective of the course is to provide students with an opportunity to
engage in original research on a topic related to the themes of U.S.
domestic public policy.  The course will culminate in a one-day conference
in which each student will present a draft of his or her project and have it
critiqued by three of the other students in the seminar.  The conference
will be held at my house, and, while informal, the delivery and critique of
the projects is an important and integral component of the course.  A final
draft of the paper, incorporating revisions suggested by the critiques, will
be due approximately one-week after the conference.