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Policy Implementation

Course Code: PUBLG040

Course Tutor: Dr Marc Esteve (Department of Political Science)

One 2,000 word essay (50%) and one 2 hour exam (50%)

Credit Value:

About this Course

This course provides students with perspective on how policies are put into practice after being passed by legislative or executive bodies. Students begin by learning about broad, basic theories of top-down and bottom-up government, as well as the role of organisational design on the implementation of public policies.  Additionally, we look at policy implementation from a comparative perspective and analyse how it is influenced by different types of presidential and parliamentary systems.  From there, we examine a number of case studies in key policy areas and investigate how policy implementation is influenced by a number of factors, such as overlapping and conflicting pieces of legislation, goal coherence in agencies, agency collaboration, the presence of performance targets, the ability to observe agency outputs and outcomes, relationships with private contractors, changes in agency managers and changes in agency organisation. 

Course Aims

  • To understand broadly the issues facing actors responsible for policy implementation
  • To illustrate the differences between top-down and bottom-up implementation perspectives and the context for their use.
  • To understand how politicians interact with bureaucrats and why it matters for policy implementation
  • To understand how policy implementation varies across comparative institutional systems
  • To understand the role of the private sector in policy implementation
  • To understand the causes and consequences of bureaucratic reforms
  • To understand how multiple agencies work together to implement policy

*This module is for EMPA and MPA students only.

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School of Public Policy,
The Rubin Building,
29/31 Tavistock Square,
London, WC1H 9QU.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 4999,
Fax: +44 (0)20 7679 4978,

Postgraduate enquiries

Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 4982/4950

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Page last modified on 06 jun 16 10:47

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