The Pedagogy of Policy Analysis, 23 May 2017

An Atlas presentation for a seminar with Leslie Pal on policy analysis concepts in the MPP/MPA Core Curriculum

1 – Questions for discussion

  • What policy analysis concepts should be taught in the first year of the MPP?
  • Which courses should teach which concepts?
  • Can comprehension of these concepts be assessed with online quizzes?

2 – Definitions and Beyond Policy Analysis

3 – Policy-analysis-focused courses taught at Toronto, Carleton, and Harvard

  • Toronto PPG1001 The Policy Process
    “This core course in the MPP program aims to help students understand the connection between politics and public policy by making sense of the political environment in which policy decisions are made, and the political forces at work throughout the policy process. The course proceeds in two parts. First, students explore foundational theories of policy making that seek to capture the role of organized interests, the importance of political institutions, and the influence of ideas and ideology. Part two builds on this theoretical foundation by focusing on each specific “stage” of the policy process, investigating how policy issues emerge, agendas are set, programs designed and implemented, and outcomes evaluated. Particular attention is paid to how well theories of human motivation and rational decision making apply to real-world experiences in public policy.”
  • Toronto PPG1000 Governance and Institutions
    “This course is intended to provide foundational knowledge of key governance structures and political institutions at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels in Canada. The course will examine the Constitution, the Westminster parliamentary system, federalism, and the courts. In this course, students will consider emerging challenges to existing institutions, including the rise of cities, demands for self-government among Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples, and the transition from government to governance, and will conclude by reflecting on the quality of Canada’s democratic institutions in comparative perspective.”
  • Toronto PPG1007 Putting Policy into Action – Strategic Implementation of Public Objectives
    “This is a foundational course in professional policy practice. It is interdisciplinary, drawing on key concepts from science, social science, business and public administration as well as the world of the policy practitioner. This course introduces students to thinking in a critical, integrated way about how to deliver on public policy objectives in the context of a dynamic political and stakeholder environment. Specifically, it examines key considerations in developing an implementation strategy for a policy initiative.”
  • Toronto PPG1008 Program Evaluation for Public Policy
    “This course will introduce students to both quantitative and qualitative methods in program evaluation for public policy. Students will gain an understanding of when and how to use various methods of program evaluation and will be exposed to both theoretical concepts and case studies.”
  • Carleton PADM5120 Modern Challenges to Governance
    “Modern challenges to states, citizens, and policy-making, explored with the help of contemporary and historical thinkers. Topics may include: inequality; national security and intelligence gathering; identity; globalization and global finance; trade agreements and property rights; climate change and environmental challenges.”
  • Carleton PADM5121 Policy Analysis – The Practical Art of Change
    “Contemporary techniques of policy analysis. Topics may include: risk assessment, policy design, options analysis, and scenario-writing.”
  • Carleton PADM5122 Public Management Principles and Approaches
    “Principles and processes of public-sector management as they function through cabinet-parliamentary government, federalism, the public service and the judiciary. Institutional reforms and changes in the philosophy of public sector management.”
  • Harvard MLD110 Strategic Management for Public Purposes
    “Everybody needs a strategy. Strategy is the best concept we have for thinking about future action in light of our aspirations and current capabilities. MLD-110 focuses specifically on strategic management and leadership in the public arena in democratic societies; how leaders, managers and social entrepreneurs devise and execute strategies for change. Critically examines the assumptions, concepts, and tools of public problem solving applied around the world. Important elements in the course include: formulating and articulating mission, vision and public value; translating objectives into metrics and measures of performance; designing service delivery and production systems; embedding values and long-term objectives in organizations; analyzing and shaping organizational culture; and working through public, private and non governmental organizations, including coalitions, partnerships and networks and across organizational boundaries. Classes are framed through the lens of decision makers exercising leadership and managerial skills in an uncertain world. Most class meetings are case discussions, supplemented with conceptual materials, exercises, and group work. One or two visitors and an optional site visit bring live cases to the class. Course materials are drawn from the United States, other industrialized countries, and developing countries. The course is designed for students with management experience.”
  • Harvard DPI101 Political Institutions and Public Policy – American Politics
    “This is a course about fundamental problems of participation, democratic governance, and conflict in contemporary political systems. It will provide students with an analytical toolkit for understanding and acting on the political dimensions of policy problems. This section considers these questions primarily through the prism of American political institutions and the context they create for policymaking. (The I and J sections look at systematic variations across different sorts of political institutions in both advanced and developing democracies, as well as in countries that are not democracies. See Harvard DPI101 Political Institutions and Public Policy – Comparative.) The class develops the skills for effective political analysis and advocacy, including memo- and op-ed writing, as well as the skills to brief actors who need to know everything about the politics of a situation in a short period of time.”

4 – The most policy-analysis-focused core subjects (4 of 17) and core topics (12 of 120) in the MPP/MPA Core Curriculum

5 – The most policy-analysis-focused core concepts (70 of ~1,200) in the MPP/MPA Core Curriculum, arrayed by topic

Policy Analysis and Process

The Study of Policy Analysis and Process

Policy Analysis

Policy Design

Lasswell’s Policy Sciences

Pal’s Elements of Policy Content

Policy Consistency

Pal’s Types of Reasoning in Policy Analysis

Policy Analysis’s Impact on Policymaking

Policy Capacity

Interests and the Policy Process


Pal’s Glossary of Conceptualizing Interests in Policymaking

Problem Definition and Agenda Setting

Pal’s Aspects of Problem Definition

Issue Framing

Policy Images

Policy Window

Policy Instruments and Design

Typologies of Policy Instruments

Pal’s Classification of Policy Instruments

Policy Design and Social Values

Models of Decision Making

Rational Decision Making Model

Lindblom’s Incrementalism and Muddling Through

Postmodernist Critiques of Rational Decision Making

Governance and Institutions

The Study of Governance and Institutions






Competing Values in Governance and Institutions

Institutional Dynamics within Government

Centre vs. Periphery

Guardians vs. Spenders

Staff vs. Line Positions

Speaking Truth to Power

Policy Advisory Systems

Cabinet Decision-Making System

Modernizing Government

Skogstad’s Four Competing Models of Authority

New Public Management

Kernaghan’s Bureaucratic/Post-bureaucratic Framework

Aucoin’s New Public Governance

Networked Governance

Digital Government and E-Government

Management Differences between Public and Private Sectors


Evaluation and Performance Measurement

The Study of Evaluation and Performance Measurement

Policy Analysis and Policy Evaluation

Contrasting Purposes of Evaluation

Categories of Program Evaluation

Process Evaluation

Efficiency Evaluation

Impact Evaluation

Logic Models

Cost-Benefit Analysis in Evaluation

Cost-Effectiveness Analysis

Implementation and Delivery

The Study of Implementation and Delivery

Implementation vs. Policy Design

Implementation Theory

Pressman & Wildavsky’s Implementation Model

Hogwood & Gunn’s Elements for Successful Implementation

Sabatier & Muzmanian’s Framework of the Implementation Process

Bardach’s Implementation Game

Principal-Agent Problem

Public Choice Theory

Fiscal Context

Allison’s Three Models of Government Action

Fayol’s Theory of Administration

Niskanen’s Budget Maximizing Model

Downs’ Typology of Officials

Designing the Delivery Model

Doing Nothing as a Policy Instrument

Using Information-Based Policy Instruments

Using Expenditure-Based Policy Instruments

Using Taxation-Based Policy Instruments

Using Regulation-Based Policy Instruments

Using Direct Provision as a Policy Instrument

Organizing and Measuring for Performance

Attribution Problem

Performance Reporting

5 – Can online quizzes assess concept comprehension?

Quizzes in Atlas206 Internship Reading
Quiz 8 – Twenty Concepts in Policy Analysis and Process Quiz 7 – Fifty Concepts in Governance and Institutions Quiz 9 – Forty Concepts in Implementation and Delivery

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified 22 May 2017.

Image: CleverTogether, at, accessed 27 March 2017.