PB AF 513
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.
This course is designed to provide you with experience in policy analysis to integrate skills and knowledge that you have developed in core courses in economics, public management, quantitative analysis, and budgeting.
Policy analysis is the art, craft, and science of providing problem-solving advice to managers, policy-makers, or citizens. Policy analysis requires several distinct sets of skills: technical understanding of analytical tools, understanding the policy context within and outside of your organization, and the ability to produce and communicate practical advice. In this course, we’ll use short cases and a quarter-long project to practice these skills.
Student learning goals
Define and describe policy and management problems
Identify key policy goals and criteria to assess possible strategies
Craft appropriate and feasible policy options by borrowing, adapting, and creating
Analyze and predict the effects of alternative policy options
Communicate policy advice in written and oral presentations
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading
This course is designed as a workshop and in-class participation is crucial. Please come prepared to contribute to class discussion by preparing the readings, integrating discussion about your course project, and providing thoughtful feedback on the work of other students.
Students will pick one of the four case options. Write a 2-4 page memo that summarizes the policy problem, policy goals, possible strategies to deal with the problem, and your advice. Include a half page executive summary on the first page.
The memo is due by noon on the day the case will be discussed in class. I will use the memos as part of discussion and students should be prepared to discuss their memos in class.
The course project is designed to allow students to gain experience by completing a policy analysis on a topic of their choice. Students are given feedback on early pieces of the analysis; this allows an interactive process similar to that in many work situations. The project products are three memos and one class presentation.
Project Memo #1: Defining Policy Problem. (3-4 pages) 15% Project Memo #2: Policy Objectives and Options. (4-5 pages) 20% Final Project Memo (10-12 pages) 35% Case Memo (2-3 pages) 15% Class Participation 15%