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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Rachel G. Kleit
PB AF 513
Seattle Campus

Public Policy Analysis

Production and use of analysis to support public policy decisions. Defining problems, devising alternative solutions, clarifying stakes in choices, predicting impacts of choices. Skills developed by working on specific policy problems. Assumes familiarity with statistics, microeconomic theory, and institutions and processes of American government. Prerequisite: PB AF 516 or permission of instructor.

Class description

This course is designed as a combination seminar and workshop to engage you with the definition, measurement, and analysis of policy problems. Policy analysis is part science, part art, and part politics; effective policy analysis considers the political and organizational dimensions of a problem along with its technical aspects. The goal of this course is to advance your critical understanding of these processes and your ability to apply this understanding to real world problems.

A quarter-long project will help you to integrate your knowledge of policy processes, organizational issues, and analytic techniques in the analysis of a topic of your own choosing. Seminar readings, in-class case exercises, and short assignments are designed to support this integration and application of skills.

Student learning goals

Develop critical understanding of alternative perspectives on policy analysis and the role of the analyst.

Become familiar with alternative approaches to the definition/description of problems and analysis of policy responses.

Develop skills in o interpreting information to define and measure problems; o finding, assessing, and using information to document problems and generate policy responses; o identifying policy goals and criteria; o analyzing and predicting the effects of alternative policy options.

Develop and apply skills obtained elsewhere in the core curriculum in the crafting and evaluation of alternative policy options.

Refine skills in the written and oral presentation of policy analyses.

General method of instruction

Combination seminar and workshop with the case method and guest speakers.

Recommended preparation

Evans School core curriculum.

Class assignments and grading

Bardach, Eugene (2009). A Practical Guide for Policy Analysis: The Eightfold Path to More Effective Problem Solving. 3rd Edition. CQ Press.

Weimer, David L. Weimer, Aidan R. Vining. (2004). Policy Analysis: Concepts and Practice. 4th Edition Prentice Hall.

Cases and selected chapters from other texts also.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Rachel G. Kleit
Date: 12/10/2008