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Unformatted text preview: Central European University Master of Arts in Public Policy The Policy Process, Policy Analysis and Public Sector Management 6 credits (Alex Fischer) Description of the course The aim of this course is to introduce students to theories of the policy process and ideas about bureaucracy, decision-making, problem-solving and public management. It addresses conceptual work on the policy process, discusses different methods of policy analysis and analyzes key concepts of public administration. The course begins with a discussion about the substantive reasons for state interventions (e.g. market failures, distributional goals) and different kinds of government failures (e.g. rent-seeking, government capture but also problems linked to the aggregation of individual preferences). It continues with some theoretical lenses on public policy: Is policy-making simply the technocratic task of choosing the best solution to a generally recognized problem? Or is all what we can expect for tomorrow an incremental change of yesterdays’ policy – no matter how appropriate it was? Does policy-making occur in a highly hierarchical structure or is it in the hand of very different kind of actors linked to each other in networks? Are these actors maximizing clearly defined self-interest in a rational way or is the metaphor of policy processes as “garbage cans” more appropriate, where means and ends may not be always stable and policy outcomes difficult to predict? In a further part of the course, some key concepts of policy-making are discussed. First of all, policy processes are embedded in an institutional framework. Each political system has its own formal and informal “rules of the game” which structure the policy process, define who has access to decisions and how they are made. Hence, political institutions are also highly important for the outcome of the policy process. Secondly, most policy suggestions cannot be realized – simply because of an unfavorable political power configuration. We will discuss the importance of 1 different resources with regard to the exercise of power. Moreover, some simple tools of social network analysis will be presented as a method to measure political power structures. Thirdly, in most democratic systems no single unitary actor is in power. Thus, the strategic interactions between the actors having important resources at their disposal are important. In this part of the course, some simple tools of game theory are presented in order to learn how to analyze different actors’ constellations.theory are presented in order to learn how to analyze different actors’ constellations....
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