PLAW 305 Public Policy Analysis

Spring, Fall

The objective of this course is to introduce students to the field of public policy analysis. Rather than focusing on the institutions that make public policy, such as legislatures, presidents, governors, and courts, or the groups that impact the policymaking process, such as interest groups and the media; this course provides students with an Introduction to the tools used to analyze policies and a discussion of the political elements that affect this analysis. The course will be composed of several different elements: 1) a discussion of the various meanings of public policy analysis, 2) a presentation of the basic economic and political tools used to analyze public policies, and 3) practice at analyzing current policy controversies. Essentially, the goal is to ensure that student understand the basic economic principles used to evaluate different public policy proposals. However, as this is a political science course, other principal goals are to highlight the weaknesses of some of these economic assumptions, discover how politics may alter these otherwise sound assumptions, and examine the political environment in which policies are analyzed and adopted. This course does not focus on any one policy area, so students are encouraged to bring their own policy interests to the course. Not eligible if you have already completed the Topics course on Public Policy Analysis. Not offered every year.

Prerequisites:  Methods of Political Inquiry and Introduction to Public Policy or Introduction to Economics, or the permission of the instructor.