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Democratic Institutions and Policy Process

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A Public Policy and Management Subject in the Institutions and Context Domain

Democratic Institutions and Policy Process

This public policy and management subject, under the Institutions and Context domain, deals with the fundamental problems of participation and democratic governance in contemporary political systems. It provides students with an understanding of public policy, decision-making in government and key elements of the policy process. This subject also examines the political institutions in democratic societies and their implications for the formulation and implementation of public policy.  Students consider how different institutional frameworks meet the tests of democracy, conflict management, effective governance and accountability. For some courses in this subject area, a key theme is studying the ways that the policymaking world has changed in recent years, forcing reconsideration of the traditional tools of policy analysis and public management. Specifically, it considers how the public policy challenges of the 21st century require policy-makers to see issues from multiple perspectives aside from that of the state – they must also see issues from the perspective of other stakeholders whose actions will be essential to the achievement of government objectives. 

The teaching topics immediately below are primarily from two first-year University of Toronto (PPG 1000: Governance and Institutions and PPG 1001: The Policy Process) and two first-year Carleton University courses (PADM 5116: Policy Analysis and Contemporary Governance and PADM 5117: Public Sector Management and the Canadian Political System). The provisional teaching topics below those are derived from the class titles of three different sections of the Harvard Kenendy School first-year course, DPI-101: Political Institutions and Public Policy.


 Teaching and Advisory Topics in Democratic Institutions and Policy Process

 Provisional Teaching Topics from HKS DPI-101A

The Constitution: Limited Government (using the case study, The War on Terrorism)

The Constitution: Federalism (using the case study, The 2010 Health Care Act)

Congress (using the case studies, Breakdown in Buget Negotiations; and Immigration Reform)

Congress and the Presidency (using the case study of the Pacific Rim Trade Agreement)

Presidential Powers (using the case study of War Powers and the Invasion of Iraq)

Bureaucracy (using the case studies of Reinventing Governement and Privatization)

Bureaucracy and Lobbies (using the case study of Defence Spending)

Judiciary (using the case study of the Supreme Court's Runing on Citizens United)

Civil Liberties (using the case studies of Wikileaks and the Diplomatic Cables; and Affirmative Action)

Public Opinion (using the case study of Global Warming)

Elections (using the case study of the Campagn Strategies of 2012)

Mass Politics (using the case study of Religion and Politics - Same-Sex Marriage)

Grassroots Politics (using the cases studies of Tea Party and of Occupy Wall Street)

Media and Politics

 Provisional Teaching Topics from HKS DPI-101C

The Demand Side of Public Polices

The State

Regime Types

Democracy and Development

Democracy and Inquality

Dictatorship and Resistance

The Economics of Democratization

The Shackles of Culture? (using the case study fo the Arab Spring)

Making Democracy Work: Constitution-writing

Parties and Representation

Legislatures and Executives

Local and Participatory Democracy

The Welfare State

Governing Across Divides

 Provisional Teaching Topics from HKS DPI-101D

Poltical Regime and Regime Change

Regime Type and Policy Making

Authoritarian Continuity

The State: Bureaucracy and State Capacity

Legislatures and Executives

Electoral Rules

Political Parties and Political Systems

Designing an Electoral System

Federalism, Decentralization and Participatory Governance

Governing Across Divides

Social Movements

Labor Unions and Public Policy

The Welfare State

Welfare in Developing

 Compass Courses on Democratic Institutions and Policy Process

  Harvard DPI-101: Political Institutions and Public Policy
  Toronto PPG-1000: Governance and Institutions
  Toronto PPG-1001: The Policy Process
  Carleton PADM 5117: Public Management

 Reports, Concepts and References

  Study Reports addressing Democratic Institutions and Policy Process
  Concepts used in Democratic Institutions and Policy Process
  Concepts used in Democratic Institutions and Policy Process (Longer, Provisional List)
  Reference Collections for Democratic Institutions and Policy Process

 Related Public Management Subjects

  Strategy and Structure
  Ethics and Accountability

 Additional Resources on Public Management and Process

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