This unit focuses on the nature of public policy and the processes by which it is produced. Relevant issues are common to all nation states, although they take specific forms in each individual country. First, the unit takes an overview of public policy - dealing with basic themes such as 'What is policy?' through to different approaches to understanding the policy process. These include policy cycles, rationality, interest groups, institutions, and socio-economic interests. Second, it maps out and examines the main components of public policy making: actors, institutions and policy instruments. Third, it focuses on aspects of policy-making processes which often attract a high level of attention from analysts. These include problem definition, agenda setting, decision-taking, policy implementation, policy evaluation and crisis policy-making. Fourth, it examines wider issues in terms of the state and who ultimately holds power over the making and shaping of public policy. Finally, it examines the 'bigger pictures' of long term policy trends, and the extent to which national policy making capacities and processes have been affected by globalisation. Assessments offer a large element of flexibility, allowing students to concentrate on areas of particular interest.
1x2000wd Short Essay (30%), 1x4000wd Long Essay (50%), 1x Seminar participation (20%),