PSCI 503 Policy Analysis
Masters of Public Administration Program / Spring 2012 / Campus Class
LA 337 -- 4:10-6:30 (Tuesdays)
Telephone: 243-6181 / Office: LA 356 / Office Hours: 3- 4 p.m. Tue/Wed
The Spring 2012 begins on Monday, January
23 and ends Friday, May 11.
Public Policy: An Evolutionary Approach, 3/e, by Lester and Stewart (Students can use the 2/e of this book)
Issues for Debate in American Public Policy, 12/e, by The CQ Researcher (Supplemental reader; these books change each year, so you will need the 12/e)
Public Policy: Theories, Models, and Concepts, by McCool (Supplemental reader of classic articles; used for article summaries)
Public policy is one of the most exciting areas in political science and public administration. PSCI 503 is designed to provide students with an overview of the public policy process and an overview of the history and evolution of policy studies. The course also provides an introduction to the fundamental theories, concepts, terms, and methodologies associated with policy analysis, and an introduction to the basic procedures used in conducting policy analysis.
The purpose of the course is to acquaint students with the complexities of public policy and policy analysis. The course is intended to provide students with an adequate background at a level of understanding appropriate for a variety of public sector employment settings. The course will blend theory and practice. Much of the course (the last five or six weeks) will be used discussing and analyzing a series of policy issues included in the Lester and Stewart text and the Issues for Debate in American Public Policy text by Congressional Quarterly.
Objective #1: To provide students with a general understanding of public policy and policy analysis by reading and discussing classic and contemporary literature. Students will be exposed to the basic concepts, terms, and methodologies associated with policy studies. In this process, students will gain a general understanding of the history and evolution of policy studies. Students’ proficiency will be measured via class discussions. The written, comprehensive exam that was used in the past will not be used in this section of PSCI 503.
Objective #2: To enhance students’ ability to write concise reports pertaining to public policy. This objective will be accomplished by having students write article critiques and an 8-12 page policy summary. Details of these projects are explained later in the syllabus. Students’ proficiency will be assessed via the written article critiques and the policy summary paper.
Objective #3: To provide students with the basic procedures used to conduct policy analysis. Students’ proficiency in this area will be assessed by material included on the comprehensive exam. Students will also develop proficiency at "framing" policy issues. This idea is developed in the National Issue Forums books; you can view these booklets at Public Agenda, www.publicagenda.org for a variety of policy issues.
Upon success completion of the course, students should be able to:
It should be stressed that PSCI 503 contains many other secondary objectives. For example, oral communication skills and critical thinking skills are not primary objectives in PSc 503 but are deeply embodied in the course. Additional and more specific learning objectives can be viewed at PSCI 503 Learning Objectives.
REQUIREMENTS: POLICY PAPER, ARTICLE SUMMARIES, and ORAL PRESENTATION OF A PUBLIC POLICY ISSUE
There is not a written, formal exam in PSCI 503.
Article Critique Guidelines
The McCool text contains a variety of articles that will be assigned to students on the first day of class. Part of designated classes will be used for brief oral summaries of the assigned articles. The articles will be assigned to "individual students" and a written summary should be prepared to hand out to the class. The critiques constitute 20 percent of one’s final grade. All students are expected to read all of the assigned articles for each class but only have to prepare a written critique for their pre-assigned article.
Each student is responsible to have thoroughly read the article, be prepared to present an overview of the article, and be prepared to respond to questions from the instructor and the class. The total time of the presentation should be no longer than 5 minutes. There are some specific questions one should consider while reading the article and developing a summary.
1. What is the major subject and theme of the article?
2. What is the major question the author addresses?
3. What techniques, tools of analysis, or methods are employed by the author to answer the question?
4. What major points does the author make?
5. What does the author conclude? What suggestions are made?
6. What is the relevance of the article to theory or practice? (What does it mean?)
Click here for a sample article critique.
Each student will present a 30 minute presentation on a public policy issue. Students will select the policy, which must be approved to avoid replication by other students, and to ensure the policy areas is not too broad. This presentation is similar to what is used in PSCI 505 (the public budgeting class) but will consist of providing an overview of a policy, describing how the policy has been framed (or various ways it has been framed), an overview of the potential remedies to resolve the problem -- the pros and cons of the remedies. Students are encouraged to use PowerPoint or other presentation software.
Students may use the same policy that they plan to use for the take home exam. This policy does NOT have to be a broad policy, such as welfare or economic policy. It should be a narrow policy or a part of a much larger policy. For example, no one should select health care policy in America, but a person might select either the new prescription drug plan associated with Medicare or "providing prescription drugs for senior citizens," and examine the various proposals.
The last few sessions of the class will be used for presentations.
Policy Paper................ 40% Due May 8 (Tuesday)
Policy Presentation......40% Due when scheduled during the final weeks of class; presentations should begin April 17 depending on the size of the class
Article Critiques...........20% Due when presented in class
Attendance and Participation: Students are encouraged to attend and participate in class discussions. Poor attendance and poor quality or lack of participating in class discussions may affect one’s final grade. Students are expected to miss no more than two classes during the semester.
COURSE OUTLINE and READINGS
* Note: we will move quickly through the first nine chapters of the Lester and Stewart textbook
Session 1: Introduction / No readings assigned (January 24)
This is the introductory class and will cover some introduction to the various approaches and methods for conducting public policy.
Session 2 Introduction, Background, and Context: What is Public Policy? What is Policy Analysis? (January 31)
Lester & Stewart, Chapters 1,2
McCool, Sections 1,2 ______________
Assigned Articles (McCool)
"Interest Groups and the Nature of the State" by Truman _____________
"Three Types of Pluralism" by Kelso ______________
"The Golden Era of Interest Group Pluralism" by Garson _____________
"The Comparative Study of Political Elites" by Putnam _______________
"A Critique of Elitist Theory of Democracy" by Walker ______________
"The Political System Under Stress" by Easton ________________
"Policy Science as Metaphysical Madness" by Banfield ______________________
and Models (February
Assigned Articles (McCool)
"The Science of Muddling Through" by Lindblom _______________
"Stages of the Policy Process" by Ripley ___________________
"Four Systems of Policy, Politics, and Choice" by Lowi ________________
Session 4 Analysis in the Policy Process: Agenda Setting and Policy Formulation (February 14)
Lester & Stewart, Chapters 5,6
Assigned Articles (McCool)
"Developing Public Policy Theory..." by Greenberg, Miller, Mohr, and Vladeck _______________
"Typologies of Public Policy..." by Steinberger ___________________
"Promoting Policy Theory" by Spitzer _______________________
Behavior of the Modern Democratic State by Mitchell ________________
Assigned Articles (McCool)
"The Subsystems in Perspective" by Freeman ________________
"Issue Networks and the Executive Establishment" by Heclo _________________
"Patterns of Influence among Committees, Agencies, and Interest Groups" by Hamm ______________
Advocacy Coalition Framework of Policy Change and the Role of Policy Leaning
Therein" by Sabatier __________________
"Introduction: The Age of Dead Ideas?" by McCool ______________
"The Future: Theoretical Choices" by McCool _______________
Analyzing Public Policy Choices
This section will examine a variety of policies, including Education Policy, Welfare Policy, Crime Policy, and Environmental Policy from the Lester & Stewart text. Also, additional policies are included from the CQ Reader. In addition to what is assigned in the printed material, students will read summaries and overviews provided by Public Agenda. Adobe files are available that provide the general summaries for Public Agenda's studies. Public Agenda is located at http://www.publicagenda.org
note that only three policy chapters are included in the 3/e of Lester and
Stewart. There are more policy chapters in the 2/e.
Education Policy (Lester & Stewart, Chapter 10) and Education (Chapter 7 in the CQ Reader)
7. School Reform _______________________
Public Agenda's summary of education policy is located at http://www.publicagenda.org/citizen/issueguides/education
Session 7 Social and Welfare Policy (March 6)
Lester and Stewart, Chapter 11 and the following articles in the CQ Reader
5. Income Inequality ______________
6. The Graying Planet _______________
Public Agenda's summary of welfare policy http://www.publicagenda.org/citizen/issueguides/poverty-and-welfare
There is an article that appears in City Journal by James Q. Wilson. It is an interesting article titled, "Why We Don't Marry." It is related to welfare policy. ________________
Session 8: Health Care Policy (March 13)
No readings in Lester & Stewart
The following article in the CQ Reader
16. Health-Care Reform _____________________
Agenda's summary of health care policy is located at http://www.publicagenda.org/citizen/issueguides/health-care
A report from Public Agenda on Heath Care in America http://publicagenda.org/citizen/researchstudies/health-care-medical-research ___________________________
Session 9: Crime Policy (March 20)
Lester & Stewart, Chapter 12 (2/e only); there is not a chapter on crime policy in the 3/e. Read the articles at the Public Agenda link below.
Public Agenda's summary of crime policy is located at http://www.publicagenda.org/citizen/issueguides/crime
“Broken Windows,” by
James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling http://www.theatlantic.com/ideastour/archive/windows.html
Lester & Stewart, Chapter 13 in 2/e; Chapter 12 in 3/e; and Environment, the following articles in the CQ Reader
11. Managing Nuclear Waste _______________
12. Energy Policy ______________________
13. Climate Change _______________________
Public Agenda's summary of environmental policy is located at http://www.publicagenda.org/citizen/issueguides/environment
A report from Public Agenda on energy and the environment http://publicagenda.org/citizen/researchstudies/energy-environment _________________________________
Session 11: Spring Break April 2 – April 6 No Class
Session 12: Business and the Economy (April 9)
Th following articles in the CQ Reader about business and the economy
1. Public Employee Unions _______________________
2. National Debt ____________________________
3. Financial Industry Overhaul ______________________________
4. Jobs Outlook ________________________________
Assigned Article (McCool)
"American Business, Public Policy, Case Studies, and Political Theory" by Lowi _________________ (McCool's book)
Public Agenda's summary of economic policy is located at http://publicagenda.org/citizen/issueguides/economy
Direct link to Public Agenda’s report of immigration http://www.publicagenda.org/pages/immigrants _____________________________
Session 13: Presentations begin (April 17)
Session 14: Presentations (April 24)
Session 15: Presentations (May 1)
Session 16: Presentations (May 8) Exam Week; All work returned. Please note that the class will likely meet in a different room if Exam Week is needed for presentations. Policy papers are due; these are the written version of your presentation policies.
Guide and PSCI
503 Learning Objectives (The learning objectives are considered to be
part of the study guide. Although there will not be a traditional exam is
this section, the learning objectives should be reviewed by all students.)
Click the following links for samples of past policy papers.
2 (These are Word documents)
For students interested in foreign policy, visit Foreign Policy Online Magazine
Visit Public Agenda, which is a rich source of data and studies about public policy.
PSCI 503 / Spring 2012 Syllabus for the campus class
Below is the Table of Contents for the CQ Reader, 12/e
Business and the Economy
1. Public Employee Unions
2. National Debt
3. Financial Industry Overhaul
4. Jobs Outlook
5. Income Inequality
6. The Graying Planet
7. School Reform
Politics and Government (not used in PSCI 503)
8. Redistricting Debates
9. States and Federalism
10. Tea Party Movement
11. Managing Nuclear Waste
12. Energy Policy
13. Climate Change
Homeland Security and Foreign Policy (not used in PSCI 503)
14. Afghanistan Dilemma
15. Government Secrecy
16. Health-care Reform