Not available in 2020/21
PP411M      Half Unit
Developments in Contemporary Policy-Making

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

The teacher responsible will be announced at the start of each year.


This course is available on the Master of Public Administration and Master of Public Policy. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

This course explores current and selected developments and issues in public policy-making viewed through the lenses of economics and political science.  Drawing upon contemporary academic and practitioner research, students will explore and analyse interaction across theory, frameworks, concepts and case studies.

On this course, students will apply the analytical tools that are introduced in core courses of the School of Public Policy (e.g. PP440, PP455, PP478, PP401, PP402 and PP404) with a view to enhancing and deepening their understanding of policy implications. Teaching is based on case studies and other practitioner examples and country experiences, underpinned by theoretical and conceptual models. The course is taught by specialist practitioners in policy-making drawing on the insights from economic and political science research.


20 hours of seminars in the MT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay and 1 presentation in the MT.

Students will submit a 1500 word formative essay in week 4. Feedback on this work will be used to inform the writing of the summative assignments.

Students will be required to present cases and key readings on rotation in the seminars throughout the term. These presentations are not summatively assessed, but will provide useful formative feedback on students’ learning.

Indicative reading

  • Carden, Fred. 2009. “Knowledge to Policy: Making the Most of Development Research.” International Development Research Centre, Sage Publications, Ottawa.
  • Corduneanu-Huc, C, Alexander Hamilton and Issel Masses Ferrer. 2012. “Understanding Policy Change: How to Apply Political Economy Concepts in Practice.” Washington D.C.: World Bank Publications
  • Gruber, J. 2011.  Public Finance and Public Policy, 3rd edition, Worth Publishers
  • Harford, T. 2013. The undercover economist strikes back: how to run or ruin an economy
  • Palfrey, T R. and Rosenthal, H. 1984 Participation and the provision of discrete public goods: a strategic analysis - in Journal of Public Economics 24(2):171-193
  • Shepsle, K. (2010) Analyzing Politics: Rationality, Behavior, and Institutions, 2nd edn, New York, NY: Norton.
  • Clark, W.R., M. Golder, and S.N. Golder (2018) Principles of Comparative Politics, 3rd edn, London: Sage.
  • Tsebelis, G. (2002) Veto Players: How Political Institutions Work, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Achen, C.H. and L.M. Bartels (2016) Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Further readings will be provided at the start of the course.


Essay (50%, 2000 words) in the MT Week 7.
Essay (50%, 2000 words) in the MT Week 10.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: School of Public Policy

Total students 2019/20: Unavailable

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Controlled access 2019/20: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills