Theories and Actors of the Policy Process
Course Code: PUBLG074
Assessment: One 3 hour unseen written examination
Credit Value: 30
About this course
This course looks at generalisable models and theories of the public policy-making process from a political science perspective. It provides students both with the analytic tools to understand variations of policy-making across issues and the opportunity to develop their own ideas and applications.
Students look at the contested role of political leaderships, bureaucrats and interest groups. Rational actor models, institutional concepts and pluralist approaches all offer different perspectives on the roles played by key actors in the policy making process. It goes on to explore the 'stages' in the policy process itself, including agenda-setting and decision-making.
Theories of policy-making vary in the extent to which they assume policy is 'made' by key actors and the extent to which it 'happens' in unplanned response to political interaction between multiple actors.
Some claim that policies can change only incrementally, yet innovations do occur and some policies 'self-destruct'. Theory and practice from the US, the UK and other OECD countries will be used to assess the evidence.
This is a core module for students registered on the MSc Public Policy programme and is not available as an optional module.