PP423      Half Unit
Anticipatory Policymaking

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Alexander Evans


This course is available on the Double Master of Public Administration (LSE-Columbia), Double Master of Public Administration (LSE-Sciences Po), Double Master of Public Administration (LSE-University of Toronto), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Hertie), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and NUS), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Tokyo), MPA in Data Science for Public Policy, Master of Public Administration and Master of Public Policy. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

Policymaking in time (historical knowledge and long-range strategy in the public sector); behaviourial bias, group dynamics and decision-making; seven case-study sessions on long-range policymaking challenges (including pensions, climate policy, counter-terrorism, gender equality and rights, health insurance, defence planning, resilience and crisis preparedness); a comparative assessment of the 'official mind' (what is the cultural and professional identity of public servants - and how might that shape the advice and policies they develop); an assessment of different comparative international public service systems, and how these may influence long-range policymaking; and finally different methods of mitigating short-termism and error in policymaking (including policy planning, red-teaming, internal and external inquiries, training, drawing on or commissioning external challenge etc.). 


22 hours of lectures and 16 hours and 30 minutes of seminars in the AT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay and 1 other piece of coursework in the AT.

Students will submit the outlines of their essays and policy memos (in bullet point format) for formative feedback prior to submitting the final written versions for summative assessment. There will also be a formative presentation during the AT, with feedback, to develop policy presentation skills.

Indicative reading

  • Richard Neustadt, Thinking in Time: The Uses of History for Decision-making (1988)
  • Ivor Crewe and Antony King, The Blunders of our Governments (2013)
  • Suzanne Heywood, What does Jeremy think? (2022)
  • Richard Haas, The Bureaucratic Entrepeneur (1999)
  • George Orwell, Politics and the English Language (1946)


Essay (60%, 3000 words) and policy memo (40%) in the AT.

Key facts

Department: School of Public Policy

Total students 2022/23: 44

Average class size 2022/23: 15

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Lecture capture used 2022/23: Yes (MT)

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

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills