Comparative Public Policy

Module code: L2052
Level 5
15 credits in autumn semester
Teaching method: Lecture, Seminar
Assessment modes: Coursework, Take away paper

Why do public policies differ from country to country? How can we explain these differences? Why are some governments more successful than others in solving particular policy problems?

These are the key questions that will be explored in this introductory module to comparative public policy.

The first part of the module explores theoretical issues relevant to the analysis of public policy, including both the stages of policy process and the main theories put forward to explain cross-national and temporal differences in public policy.

The second part of the module uses these theoretical tools to examine in detail specific policies, including welfare and social policy, pension policy, family policy, labour market policy, immigration policy, and education policy.

For each policy area, we will examine the roles of various actors, interests and institutions in the policy process, as well as the influence of broader structures and ideas in policy making.

Module learning outcomes

  • A good understanding of the main theoretical models and interpretations of public policy-making
  • A detailed knowledge of cross-national differences in one or more policy areas and be able to use different theories to explain those differences
  • Ability to critically analyse primary and secondary sources and to construct and present rigorous oral and written arguments
  • Ability to use IT effectively for retrieval and presentation of relevant information