Policy Analysis (GOVT2552)


This unit examines the nature of public policy and the processes which shape its content. Most of these processes apply across nation states, although they typically manifest themselves in nation-specific ways. First, the unit outlines the nature of public policy - dealing with such matters as definitions of policy and approaches to analysing public policy. These include the traditional 'policy cycle' approach, as well as alternative models based on rational choice, the roles of groups and networks, the nature of institutions and the power of socio-economic interests. Second, it examines the main building blocks of the policy process: actors, institutions, and policy instruments. Third, it examines key stages of the public policy process: notably problem definition, agenda setting, policy formation, decision making, implementation and evaluation. Examples are drawn from Australia and a range of countries throughout the world. Fourth, it examines policy-making in extreme, 'crisis' situations. Fifth, it turns its attention to Australian policy processes, focusing specifically on the areas of economic policy and indigenous affairs. Finally, it takes an overview of public policy processes in a global world, focusing on national policy-making autonomy in the context of globalisation, as well as challenges for the future. The unit is sufficiently flexible in terms of assessment, allowing students to concentrate on areas of interest.

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Further unit of study information


2x1-hr lectures/week, 1x1-hr tutorial/week


2500wd eval case study (40%) and 2hr exam (50%) and tutorial participation (10%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Prerequisites and assumed knowledge

12 Junior credit points from Government and International Relations



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If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.

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