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PPM-112M: Advanced Democratic Institutions and Policy Process

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Normed Course Outlines

PPM-112M: Advanced Democratic Institutions and Policy Process

Description: This normed module outline builds on PPM-102, Democratic Institutions and Policy Process by addressing institutional and process issues related to policy and administrative change and reform. As such, it is a natural complement to another module outline, PPM-111M, Advanced Policy and Management Analysis.

Learning OutcomesOn successful completion of this course students will have the skills and knowledge to utilize the concepts enumerated below and be able to understand and describe:

  • How governance institutions help shape policy outcomes, and the ways in which different institutional arrangements can either constrain or empower policy actors and ultimately help determine policy outcomes, including key differences between Canadian and American governance institutions and theories about how those differences influence policy outcomes in the two countries. 
  • The major political ideologies that compete for influence including economic liberalism and democratic socialism, and the ways in which ideas and interests interact within different political coalitions.
  • The role of the bureaucracy in the policy process including the contours of longstanding theoretical debates about the appropriate role of the public service in the policy process.
  • How "new public management” changed public administration in many OECD countries, and the major critiques of efforts to import private sector management strategies to public sector settings.
  • How public opinion can influence policy decisions in between elections, and the role of the media and opinion leaders in helping to shift public opinion and increase support for specific policy actions, including the importance of "framing" issues in a favourable way, and the necessity that policy leaders face of constructing compelling narratives that support their policy preference.
  • How various actors seek to influence the policy process, and why situations in which there are heavily concentrated costs but widely diffused benefits often produce sub-optimal policy outcomes in terms of overall public welfare.

Concepts to be Learned: New Institutionalism; Path Dependency; Institutionalism; Decline of Deference; Trust in Government; National Mood; Social Democratic Welfare State; Free Market Capitalism; Ideology; Liberalism; Mixed Economy; Neoliberalism; Socialism; Republicanism; Line Departments; Weberian Bureaucracy; Bureaucracy; Bureaucratic Independence; New Public Management; Shaming; Agenda Setting; Ideas in Good Currency; Attentive Public; Issue Attention Cycle; Issue-Framing; Narrative; Knowledge Networks; Regulatory Capture; Third Sector; Stakeholders; Epistemic Community; Policy Actor; Policy Community; Moral Suasion; Public Interest Group; Social Movement; Think-Tanks; Advocacy Group; Civil Society; Interest Aggregation; Interest Group; Iron Triangle; Lobbying.

Course Syllabi Sources for this Normed Course Outline: University of Toronto: PPPG-1001; Carleton University: PADM-5116; Harvard Kennedy School: DPI-101; Saskatchewan and Regina: JSGS-801; NYU Wagner: CORE-GP.1022; George Washington: PPA-6006; American: PUAD-612 and PUAD-608; Michigan: PP 510 The Politics of Public Policy;

Normed Topics in this Normed Course Outline

Like other normed topics on the Atlas, each of these has a topic description, links to core concepts relevant to the topic, learning outcomes, a reading list drawn from available course syllabi, and a series of assessment questions.

Recommended Readings:

Week 1: Institutional Designs and Paths

Kettl, D.F. and J.W. Fesler. 2009. What Government Does – And How it Does it. In The Politics of the Administrative Process, pp. 49-73.

La Palombra, Joseph. 2006. An Overview of Bureaucracy and Political Development. In Comparative Public Administration: The Essential Readings, edited by Eric E. Otenyo and Nancy S. Lind, 193-220. New York, NY: Elsevier.

Micklethwait, J. 2011. A Special Report on the Future of the State: Taming Leviathan. The Economist, March 23: 1-4. (PUAD-608)

Meier, K.J. 1997. Bureaucracy and Democracy: The Case for More Bureaucracy and Less Democracy. Public Administration Review 57(3): 193-199.

Leslie A. Pal, Beyond Policy Analysis 4th ed. Toronto: Nelson Education, 2010. Chapter 4.

Aucoin, Peter. “The Policy Roles of Central Agencies: Bruce Doern’s Approach to the Policy Process.” in Policy, Eds. G. Toner, L.A. Pal, and M.J. Prince. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2010. Pp. 59-76.

Mainwaring, Scott and Matthew Shugart. “Juan Linz, Presidentialism, and  Democracy: A Critical Appraisal.” Comparative Politics 29:4 (1997), pp. 449-471. (DPI-101) 

Linz, Juan. (1990) “The Perils of Presidentialism,” Journal of Democracy, 1(1): 51-69. (DPI-101)

Heclo, Hugh. “Issue Networks and the Executive Establishment”.

Weber, Max. “Bureaucracy,” in From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, eds. H.H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills New York: Oxford University Press, 1946. Pp. 1-7. 

Wilson , James Q. 1989. Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies Do and Why They Do It. New York: Basic Books.  Chapters 1,2,7,9.

Miller, Gary J. (2005) “The Political Evolution of Principal-Agent Models.” Annual Review of Political Science 8: 203–225.

Scott, James C. Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998. Introduction and chapters 9 and 10.

Lynn, Laurence E. (2001) "The Myth of the Bureaucratic Paradigm: What Public Administration Really Stood for." Public Administration Review 61: 144-160.

Peters, B.G. (2011). “Institutional Theory”, pp. 78-91 in The Sage handbook of governance, Mark Bevir (Eds). London: SAGE.

Atkinson, M. (1993) “Introduction: Governing Canada”, pp. 1-16. in Governing Canada: Institutions and Public Policy. M. Atkinson (ed.). Toronto: Harcourt, Brace Janovich Canada Inc. (PPG-1000)

Boothe, K., Harrison, K. (2009) The Influence of Institutions on Issue Definition: Children's Environmental Health Policy in the United States and Canada, Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice, 11(3): 287-307.)

Boucher. A. (2013). Bureaucratic Control and Policy Change: A Comparative Venue Shopping Approach to Skilled Immigration Policies in Australia and Canada, Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice (PPG-1000)

Week 2: Public Opinion, Ideas and Policy Frames

Cillizza, Chris. 2011. “Is the Presidential Bully Pulpit Dead?” The Washington Post blog “The Fix”:

Sides, John. 2011. “What Can Presidential Speeches Do? A Dialogue.” The Monkey Cage:

Cochrane, Christopher. 2010. “Left/Right Ideology and Canadian Politics.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 43, 4: pp. 583-605.

Lakoff , George. 2010. “Why It Matters: How We Frame the Environment.”  Environmental  Communication 4, 1:  pp.  70-81. 12

Kingdon, John W. 1995.  Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies. 2nd ed. New York: Addison Wesley Longman. Chapter 8:  pp.  165-195.

Burstein, Paul. 2003. “The Impact of Public Opinion on Public Policy: A Review and an  Agenda.” Political Research Quarterly  56, 1:  pp.  29-40.

Druckman, James. 2001. “On the Limits of Framing Effects: Who Can Frame?”  Journal of  Politics 63, 4:  pp.  1017-1040. 

Nyhan, Brendan and Jason Reifler. 2010. “When Corrections Fail: The Persistence of Political  Misperceptions.”  Political Behavior 32: 3 pp.  03-330.

Schneider, Anne and Helen Ingram.  1993.  “Social Construction of Target Populations:  Implications for Politics and Policy.”  American Political Science Review 87, 2:  pp.  334-47.

C.B. MacPherson, The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism; Hobbes to Locke. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1962. Read Chapter 6, pp. 263-277.

John Locke. Second Treatise of Government. Chapter 5.

US Declaration of Independence

Milton Friedman. “Created Equal”. Free to Choose. 1980: (Vol. 5).

Ulrich Beck. “Cosmopolitanism as Imagined Communities of Global Risk”. American Behavioral Scientist. Vol. 55, 2011.

Samuel Huntington. “The Clash of Civilizations”, Foreign Affairs Vol.72 #3, Summer 1993.

Week 3: Bureaucracy and the Formulation of Public Policy 

Thomas E. Patterson, We the People (New York: McGraw-Hill, 10th edition 2013) pp. 297-303 and 451-461

B. Guy Peters. 2010. American Public Policy: Promise & Performance. Washington, DC: CQ Press.: Chapter 2 (The Structure of Policymaking in American Government); Chapter 3 (Explaining Policy Choices); Chapter 4 (Agenda Setting and Public Policy); Chapter 5 (Legitimating Policy Choices); Chapter 6 (Organizations and Implementation)

Xun Wu, M. Ramesh, Michael Howlett, and Scott Fritzen. 2010. The Public Policy Primer: Managing the Policy Process. London: Routledge: Chapter 2 (Agenda Setting); Chapter 3 (Policy Formulation); Chapter 4 (Decision-Making); Chapter 7 (Toward Integrated Public-Making)

David Robertson. 2010. “Historical Institutionalism, Political Development, and the Study of American Bureaucracy.” In Robert F. Durant, The Oxford Handbook of American Bureaucracy (OHAB), Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Max Weber, “Essay on Bureaucracy” (1911).

David Osborne and Ted Gaebler, Reinventing Government: How the Entrepreneurial Spirit is Transforming the Public Sector (1992), contents, xixxxi, 12-16, 34-37.

Mark H. Moore, Creating Public Value (1995), 13-21, 65-76

Harlan Cleveland, Nobody in Charge (2002), 16-31.

Leslie A. Pal, Beyond Policy Analysis 4th ed. (Toronto: Nelson Education, 2010), chaps. 2, 3 & 4

Michael Howlett, (2009). "Policy analytical capacity and evidence-based policy-making: Lessons from Canada." Canadian Public Administration no. 52 (2):153-175. doi: 10.1111/j.1754-7121.2009.00070_1.x.

Michael J. Prince, “Soft Craft, Hard Choices, Altered Context: Reflections on Twenty-Five Years of Policy Advice in Canada,” in Laurent Dobuzinskis, Michael Howlett, David Laycock, eds., Policy Analysis in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007), 163-185.

Giddens, Anthony. 1971. Capitalism and modern social theory: An analysis of the writings of Marx, Durkheim and Max Weber, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. Part II: Weber.

James Q. Wilson. 1989. Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies Do and Why They Do It. New York: Basic Books, chapters 1,2,7,9.

Miller, Gary J. 2005. “The Political Evolution of Principal-Agent Models.” Annual Review of Political Science 8: 203–225.

James C. Scott. 1998. Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. New Haven: Yale University Press: introduction and chapters 9 and 10.

Robert K. Merton. 1957. Social Theory and Social Structure. New York: Free Press, chapter 6, “Bureaucratic Structure and Personality.”

Lynn, Laurence E. 2001. "The Myth of the Bureaucratic Paradigm: What Public Administration Really Stood For." Public Administration Review 61: 144-160.

Boyne, G. (1998). Bureaucratic theory meets reality: Public choice and service contracting in U.S. local government. Public Administration Review, 58(6), 474-484.

Moe, R. (1994). The “reinventing government” exercise: Misinterpreting the problem, misjudging the consequences. Public Administration Review, 54(2), 111-122.

Week 4: New Public Management

Osborne, David, and Ted Gaebler. (1992). Reinventing Government: How the Entrepreneurial Spirit is Transforming the Public Sector. Contents, xix - xxi, 12 - 16, 34 - 37.

Moore, Mark H. (1995). Creating Public Value. 13 - 21, 65 - 76.

Osbourne, S. (2006). A New Public Governance? Public Management Review, 8(3): 377-387.

Pollitt, Christopher, and Geert Bouckaert. Public Management Reform: A Comparative Analysis: New Public Management, Governance, and the Neo-Weberian State, 3rd Edition (New York: Oxford, 2011). Chapters 3 and 4.

Kettl, Donald F. The Transformation of Governance: Public Administration for Twenty-First Century America (Baltimore and London: Johns-Hopkins University Press, 2002). Chapters 5 and 6.

Zussman, David. “Alternative Service Delivery,” in Christopher Dunn (ed.), The Handbook of Canadian Public Administration. Don Mills, Oxford University Press, 2002, 53-76.

Johnson, David. Chapter 8: “Issues in Management Reform,” in Thinking Government: Public Administration and Politics in Canada, 3rd Ed. Toronto: UofT Press, 2011, 321-78.

Moe, Ronald C. “Exploring the Limits of Privatization” (1987), in Shafritz, Jay and Albert C. Hyde, Classics of Public Administration. Boston: Wadsworth, 2012. 469-78.

Moran, M. “Not Steering but Drowning: Policy Catastrophes and the  Regulatory State,” The Political Quarterly 72 (2001): 414 - 27.

Week 5: Media, Framing and Agenda Setting

Forester, John. 1984. “Bounded Rationality and the Politics of Muddling Through.” Public Administration Review 1: pp. 23-31.

Lambert, Craig. 2006. “The Marketplace of Perceptions: Behavioral Economics Explains Why We Procrastinate, Buy, Borrow, and Grab Chocolate on the Spur of the Moment.” Harvard Magazine (March-April).

Sunstein, Cass R. 1997. “Behavioral Analysis of Law.” University of Chicago Law Review 64: pp. 1175-1195.

Henrich, John, et al. 2001. “In Search of Homo Economicus: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small-Scale Societies.” The American Economic Review 91, 2: pp. 73-78.

Renwick Monroe, Kristen and Kristen Hill Maher. 1995. “Psychology and Rational Actor Theory.” Political Psychology 16, 1: pp. 1-21.

Tversky, Amos and Daniel Kahneman. 1981. “The Framing of Decisions and the Psychology of Choice.” Science 211, 4481 : pp. 453-458.

Wilson, Rick. 2011. “The Contribution of Behavioral Economics to Political Science.” Annual Review of Political Science 14: pp. 201-223.

B. Guy Peters. 2010. American Public Policy: Promise & Performance. Washington, DC: CQ Press. Chapter 4 (Agenda Setting and Public Policy)

Catherine Smith. 2010. Writing Public Policy: A Practical Guide to Communicating in the Policy Making Process. 2nd edition. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Chapter 3 (Definition: Frame the Problem)

Xun Wu, M. Ramesh, Michael Howlett, and Scott Fritzen. 2010. The Public Policy Primer: Managing the Policy Process. London: Routledge. Chapter 2 (Agenda Setting) Chapter 3 (Policy Formulation)

Week 6: Actors, Interests and Lobbying

Osbourne, S. (2006). “A New Public Governance?” Public Management Review 8(3): 377-387.

Phillips, S.D. (2006). The Intersection of Governance and Citizenship in Canada: Not Quite the Third Way. IRPP Policy Matters Vol. 7(4).

Blanco, I., Lowndes, V., Pratchett, L. (2011). Policy Networks and Governance Networks: Towards Greater Conceptual Clarity. Political Studies Review, 9: 297–308.

Patrick Le Galès. “Policy Instruments and Governance” in The Sage handbook of governance, Edited by Mark Bevir, pp. 142-160 London: SAGE, 2011.

Leslie A. Pal, Beyond Policy Analysis 5th ed. (Toronto: Nelson Education, 2013), Chapters 1,2, and 6.

Brooks, Stephen, “The Policy Analysis Profession in Canada,” in Laurent Dobuzinskis, Michael Howlett, David Laycock, eds., Policy Analysis in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007), 21-47.

HM Government. (2013). Policy Profession: Skills and Knowledge Framework. Available at:

Bakvis, Herman, and Mark D. Jarvis, eds. From New Public Management to New Political Governance: Essays in Honour of Peter C. Aucoin. Montreal: McGill-Queen's Press, 2012. Chapters 1 and 2.

Osborne Stephen, 2006. “The new public governance” Public Management Review, 8(3) 377 – 387.

Skogstad, Grace. 2003. “Who Governs? Who Should Govern? Political Authority and Legitimacy in Canada in the Twenty-First Century.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 36: 955-973.

Rhodes, R.A.W. 1996. “The New Governance: Governing Without Government.” Political Studies 44(4), 652- 667.

Peters, B. G., and J. Pierre. 1998. “Governance without Government? Rethinking Public Administration.” Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 8(2), 223-44.

Moran, Rein, and Goodin, (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Public Policy, Chapter 2, “The Historical Roots of the Field,” deLeon, pp 39-57, 2006.

Albert, Washington Post, “Can Government Learn How to Fail Fast?” 4/12/13.

Schultze, The Politics and Economics of Public Spending, pp 74-76, 1968.

Herbert Simon, “The Proverbs of Administration,” (1946); also in Administrative Behavior (1947). See comments on administrative rationality and the psychology of administrative decisions. 

Sample Assessment Questions:

1a) What is institutionalism? 1b) Political scientists often claim that the American system of government creates an “institutional bias” in favour of government inaction. Provide some examples of features in the American system that might contribute to such a bias. 1c) What are some of the key differences between Canadian and American governing institutions, and how might these differences influence policy development?

2a) Summarize the political differences between socialism and economic liberalism. 2b) How do shifts in public opinion influence policy outcomes? Provide one example of an instance in which a shift in public opinion has influenced policy direction and explain how public opinion was mediated through democratic institutions. 2c) Are principled beliefs frequently an important factor in shaping the actions of elected officials? Should they be, or should they rather seek to be maximally responsive to public opinion?

3a) Explain the key precepts of public choice theory and suggest at least one alternative to public choice theory that can help us understand why bureaucracies and public servants behave as they do? 3b) Identify three of the features of bureaucracy as described by the philosopher Max Weber. 3c) Discuss some of the differences between the public service and elected officials with respect to such issues as organizational behaviour, power dynamics and their incentives for action and inaction.

4a) Define “New Public Management.” 4b) What problems was the New Public Management approach meant to solve? 4c) Discuss some of the major critiques of New Public Management.

5a) How do the media influence the policy attention cycle? 5b) Explain the phenomenon of “framing” providing at least one example of a policy issue that competing policy actors seek to frame in ways that advance their preferred agenda. 5c) Select a current highly contested policy issue and pretend that you are an advisor for a cabinet minister who is set to announce an initiative relating to that issue and write a one-page memo to the Minister providing advice on how they should frame the issue, and describing the advantages of framing the relevant policy issue in the manner you advise.

6a) Who are some of the key actors, outside of government, who can influence policy outcomes? 6b) Explain what lobbying is from both a narrowly legal and a broader perspective. 6c) Provide one example of an organized interest group successfully contributing to a policy change or legislative outcome and suggest why some interest groups and policy actors are more successful in driving change than others.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last updated 15 June 2015.

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School of Public Policy and Governance