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API-505M: Policy Analysis

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Harvard Kennedy School

API-505M: Policy Analysis

Description: This module gives students training and practice in the skills of applied policy analysis.  It will equip them to define problems systematically, and to select and apply analytical tools, in the service of better policy decisions.   Put differently, and more briefly, it aims to inculcate the characteristic MPP habit of mind.  Two related conceptual themes underpin the course.  The first is the architecture of alignment among mission, capacity, and support.  The second is the structured identification and processing of options, generally in the absence of perfect or complete information.  These two themes provide the conceptual structure into which many specific analytic tools can be slotted as the challenges of a particular policy arena require.  The module features a mix of case discussions, short lectures, and electronic tutorials accessed outside of class time.  In addition, students—working both individually and in groups—will apply the tools of policy analysis to real-world, real-time policy issues of their choosing.  Throughout the module there will be opportunities to practice, and to get feedback on, policy-relevant communication. 

Faculty John Donahue, Mary Jo Bane, Dan Levy

Source: At http://http://www.hks.harvard.edu/degrees/teaching-courses/course-listing (accessed 21 February 2013)

 

Teaching Topics Addressed in this Course, Organized by Public Management Subject

 Decision Sciences for Public Management

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 Evaluation and Performance Measurement

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 Strategy and Structure for Public Management

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Additional Course Description in Syllabus

This module—open to first-year and second-year MPPs only—gives students training and practice in the skills of applied policy analysis.  It will equip them to define problems systematically, and to select and apply analytical tools, in the service of better policy decisions. Put differently, and more briefly, it aims to inculcate the characteristic MPP habit of mind. Two related conceptual themes underpin the course. The first is the architecture of strategic alignment among mission, capacity, and support. The second is the structured identification and processing of options, generally in the absence of perfect or complete information. These two themes provide the conceptual structure into which many specific analytic tools can be slotted, as the challenges of a particular policy arena require.

The module features a mix of case discussions, short lectures, and electronic tutorials accessed outside of class time. In addition, students—working both individually and in groups—will apply the tools of policy analysis to real-world, real-time policy issues of their choosing. This course is designed for both first and second year students in the MPP program.

Required Readings

  Dixit and Nalebuff, The Art of Strategy, Chapter 1, "Ten Tales of Strategy"

Donahue, The Privatization Decision (Basic, 1991), Chapter 3, “Organizational Form and Function”

Gupta, Analyzing Public Policy, Concepts, Tools and Techniques, 2nd Edition, Chapter 14, "Choosing the Best Alternative: Cost-Benefit Analysis"

Grindle and Thomas, Public Choices and Policy Change:  The Political Economy of Reform in Developing Countries (Johns Hopkins Press, 1991), Chapter 6, “Implementing Reform: Arenas, Stakes, and Resources"

Hammond, Keeney and Raiffa, Smart Choices, Chapter 6, "Tradeoffs"

Herman B. Leonard, “A Short Note on Public Sector Strategy-Building,” May 2002

Stokey and Zeckhauser, A Primer for Policy Analysis, Chapter 12, "Decision Analysis"

   Weimer and Vining, Policy Analysis, 5th Edition, Taxing Alcohol to Save Lives (pp. 411-423)

Commentary by the Atlas editors: The Frameworks/Tools indentified for this course provide excellent topic titles for the Atlas subject Decision Sciences for Public Management. They are:

Strategic Alignment
The Bardach Policy Analysis Frameworks
Use of Evidence
Cost Effectiveness
Political Stakeholder Analysis
Generating Alternatives
Making Tradeoffs
Decision-making under Uncertainty
Agency Theory
Contracting
Game Theory
Sensitivity Analysis
Cost-Benefit Analysis
Time Preferences
Political Analysis.

    Page created by: Ian Clark, last updated 21 February 2013. The content presented on this page, except in the Commentary, is drawn directly from the source(s) cited above, and consists of direct quotations or close paraphrases.

     

     Syllabus

    API-505M Spring 2013, Mary Jo Bane, Jack Donahue, Dan Levy.docAPI-505M Spring 2013, Mary Jo Bane, Jack Donahue, Dan Levy

    Important Notices
    © University of Toronto 2008
    School of Public Policy and Governance