GV477      Half Unit
Comparative Public Policy Change

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Michael Lerner


This course is available on the MSc in European and International Public Policy, MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Bocconi), MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in Public Administration and Government (LSE and Peking University), MSc in Public Policy and Administration and MSc in Regulation. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

The course is capped at 2 groups.


Students should normally be taking GV4E9 Approaches and Issues in Public Policy and Administration or already have a good knowledge of comparative public policy. Waiving of these requirements will be at the discretion of the course teacher.

Course content

The course examines explanations of policy change using cross-national comparison.

The course will focus on cases in key policy domains (chosen according to the literature available and interest for wider analytical questions, as well as the expertise available), but in the examination and assessed essay, any set of (2) countries or international jurisdictions such as the EU can be used as examples. Key topics include: economic and social policy, education and labour market reform, technological change.


This course is delivered through a combination of seminars and lectures totalling a minimum of 20 hours across the Lent Term and the Summer Term. This year, some or all of this teaching may be delivered through a combination of online and on-campus lectures and seminars. This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Lent Term.

Formative coursework

Students will write one unassessed essay during the term.

Indicative reading

There is no single textbook but the following are particularly useful introductions: 

A Dodds Comparative Public Policy (Basingstoke, Palgrave, 2018); Various authors Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis Special Issue: Twenty years of the Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice: Research and Practice, Volume 20, Issue 1 (2018); M Moran, M Rein, and RE Goodin (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Public Policy (2008)


Online assessment (50%, duration: 7 days) in the ST.
Essay (50%, 3000 words)

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Student performance results

(2017/18 - 2019/20 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 21
Merit 72.6
Pass 6.5
Fail 0

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 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 differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching 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: Government

Total students 2020/21: 26

Average class size 2020/21: 9

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication