GV477      Half Unit
Comparative Public Policy Change

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Michael Lerner

Dr Rehan Jamil


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 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 teachers.

Course content

The course examines explanations of policy change using comparative methods.

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 any pair of two jurisdictions can be used as examples in the assessed essay. Key topics include social policy, education reform, and environmental policy.


This course is delivered through a combination of seminars and lectures totalling a minimum of 20 hours across the Winter Term. This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Winter 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: 

Dodds, Anneliese. (2018), Comparative Public Policy (2nd ed.) Macmillan International Higher Education.

Hall, Peter (1997). "The role of interests, institutions and ideas in the comparative political economy of the advanced industrial state" in Comparative Politics: Rationality, Culture and Structure (Mark I. Lichbach and Alan S. Zucker, eds.). Cambridge University Press. Chapter 7.

Hacker, Jacob S., Paul Pierson, and Kathleen Thelen. (2015). “Drift and conversion: Hidden faces of institutional change” in Advances in Comparative-Historical Analysis (James Mahoney and Kathleen Thelen, eds.). Cambridge University Press. Chapter 7.

Breetz, Hanna, Matto Mildenberger, and Leah Stokes (2018). "The political logics of clean energy transitions." Business and Politics, 20.4: 492-522.

Brummer, Chris and Yesha Yadav (2019). “Fintech and the Innovation Trilemma.” Georgetown Law Journal, 107.2:235–308.


Video (20%) in the WT.
Research paper (80%) in the ST.

Students will create two 4–6 minute video blog posts interpreting a recent event through the lens of course material (one in the first five weeks of the term, one in the last five weeks of the term, 9 opportunities total), of which one will be submitted for assessment.

The research paper will consist of a comparative case analysis of 3000 words.

Student performance results

(2019/20 - 2021/22 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 18.1
Merit 72.3
Pass 9.6
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2022/23: 17

Average class size 2022/23: 8

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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.

Personal development skills

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