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Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Making Public Policy

A photograph of a piece of paper, with President Barack Obama's signature at the bottom and a stamp above it that reads "APPROVED MAR 23 2010."
President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law on March 23, 2010. The bill, which reformed health care throughout the United States, provoked a highly partisan political battle during its passage through Congress. (Image is an Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy and is in the public domain.)




Course Overview

11.002J / 17.30J Making Public Policy

Provider: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Description: Fundamentals of Public Policy is an introductory course that explores policy-making as both a problem-solving process and a political process. We look at policy-making from the perspective of different focal actors and institutions, including: administrative agencies, legislators, the courts, the mass public, interest groups, and the media. We examine the interplay between policy development and institutions, and review normative and empirical models of policy-making.
Exploring these issues will require us to address questions like: How and why does something come to be seen as a "public problem" requiring a governmental response, while others fail to get attention? Why do we need public policies? What determines the content and nature of public policies? Who decides public policy priorities? Does public policy ever accomplish anything worthwhile?
This course aims to get students thinking about politics and policy as a part of their everyday life. We treat politics as a struggle among competing advocates trying to persuade others to see the world as they do, working within a context that is structured primarily by institutions and cultural ideas. Over the course of the semester, we raise the following questions: How do conditions become problems for government to solve, while other problems fail to attract government's attention? What sorts of political arguments are persuasive, and why? Why do we choose the policies we do? Do policies ever "work," and how would we know? We spend the first class of the course developing a policymaking framework and understanding ideology—taking a whirlwind tour of the American political system. After that, we examine six policy issues: health care, gun control, the federal budget, immigration reform, same-sex marriage, and energy and climate change. We wrap up with a summary class and a student-driven, in-class oral project.

Author: Prof. David Laws Prof. Steve Meyer

Date Published: 2015-08-05T14:31:11.225243

All/Social Sciences/Political Science

Languages: English


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