Department of Political Science


Making Policy Work

Course Code


Course Tutor

Dr Manu Savani (Department of Political Science)


One 3,000 word essay

Credit Value


About this course

Policy-makers face day-to-day choices about how to achieve their objectives. They need to know about how to use the resources under their command to get the best results. This course is about how policy-makers can use these tools of government effectively, and what evidence is there about what works most effectively.

Methods of evaluating public policy are covered, with a focus on the use of experiments, such as randomised controlled trials. Different tools of government, like regulation and finance, are considered. 

There is a focus on practical examples, such as policies on the use of illegal drugs, local economic development and performance management. The final part of the course examines behavioural economics or the ‘nudge’ policy agenda, which is currently often used by governments across the world to improve public policy. At the end of the course, there is usually a class visit to a policy-maker to examine how the tools can work in a practical context.