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Policy Design (STG-MA-A02-23)


Department STG
Course category 1st Year
Course type Course
Academic year 2023-2024
Term 1ST SEM
Credits 5 (European Credits (EC))
Contact Francioni, Cino
  Course materials


This Unit is taught in year 1 because it is foundational. Foundational does not mean simple or irrelevant: you will soon discover how to benefit in terms of insights and conceptual clarity from the foundational skills of inter-disciplinary policy design. A the outset, we will address questions such as: what is policy design, what is the difference between actor and stakeholder, how do some policy problems get on the agenda and others not, what is the room for policy entrepreneurship. This will allow us to define the field of policy analysis, critically reflect on the concept of ‘design’ and choose how to model actors. An important example will be modelling bureaucracies and de-centering the study of bureaucracies. We will then relate actors to policy types, exploring the argument that ‘policies determine policy’. 

In the second part you will explore two dimensions of public policy: As Narrative and as Grammar. We will compare what we can do with analytical tools for narrative analysis and institutional grammar coding, and see how the tools can empower you ‘to do public policy’. For example, narrative analysis can be deployed to de-construct authoritarian discourses and to forge alternatives to populist accounts of European integration. We will follow up on this normative dimension with examples. 

In terms of tools, we will also have a look at evidence-informed policy, with the examples of impact assessment, gender impact assessment, and consultation. In this case too we will combine building up analytical skills with critical interrogation on the value and limitations of evidence-informed policy in terms of ‘justification’ of choices. What is the role of evidence and what is the role of values in appraising policy options is indeed a big normative question we will address. 

We will then move to multi-actor frameworks like policy networks, the Advocacy Coalitions Frameworks and the Multiple Streams Models. We will develop skills in understanding policy networks and coalitions: why they emerge, what keeps them together, why they fall apart, and, in the case of advocacy coalitions, how the competition between coalitions impacts on policy change. Another multi-dimensional model is the Multiple Streams Model, where we find problems, actors, and policy solutions blended and often leveraged by a policy entrepreneurs. But, are entrepreneurs accountable, and, especially in global and transnational settings, so to whom? Is policy entrepreneurship compatible with standards of democratic legitimacy? A couple of pedagogical games will provide practical skills in understanding the logic of policy entrepreneurship. These games are based on the P Cube project  

Finally, the last session will be led by you with the delivery of Policy Hackathons. 

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Page last updated on 05 September 2023

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