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Course 2018-2019 a.y.

20635 - DEMOCRACY AND PUBLIC POLICY MAKING

Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English


Go to class group/s: 31

MM (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SPS/04)

Classes: 31 (I sem.)
Instructors:
Class 31: ANTHONY MICHAEL BERTELLI


Prerequisites

None.


Mission & Content Summary
MISSION

The course examines tensions between process of public policy making and democratic values. It provides students with an overview of both democratic theory and the policy process and addresses two important questions. How does representative government function when those who implement public policy have the authority to reshape democracy? How do contemporary forms of implementing public policy strengthen or weaken this tension? Addressing these questions is both timely and timeless, as it allows students to develop a framework for evaluating the democratic consequences of a wide variety of procedural reforms to the business of government.

CONTENT SUMMARY

The course is divided in two main blocks:

First block: 

  • The first block of the course addresses a provocative claim: How does representative government function when those who implement public policy have the authority to reshape democracy? The focus, then, is on both policy formation and implementation and the tension between the goals as well as the democratic values important in each stage.
  • To address this question, we study the theory of democracy, and focus most of our attention on the tensions between two major approaches to it: popular accountability through selection and sanction of representatives and deliberative democracy. This allows us to catalog a set of democratic values important to making and implementing policy.
  • We then develop a framework for evaluating the democratic consequences of various elements of the policy process. Specifically, our framework aims to assess when the accountability and process values of representative democracy are enhanced or obviated by particular structures for making and implementing policies. We employ our framework to analyse cases in various contexts.

Second block:

  • The second block of the course applies the framework developed just before to examine main trajectories of government reforms with respect to tensions with democratic values. In particular, emphasis is given to reforms informed:
    • By managerialist ideas and principles of competition and accountability for results.
    • By ideas of citizens’ and private actors’ involvement in government and principles of transparency and collaboration/partnership.
  • We move to examine some innovative trends in government including evidence-based policy, behaviorally-informed policies (i.e. nudging), policy experimentalism and policy evaluation, and critically assess these trends with respect to the values of representative democracy.
  • In each lesson we discuss together concrete examples of these trends drawn from current events.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)
KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Understand the core claims of theories of democracies.
  • Think carefully and critically about the democratic systems in which they live and work.
  • Understand various forms of policy processes and political institutions.
APPLYING KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Understand how democracy and the making of policies interact.
  • Identify the values with which democracy competes in policy making.
  • Assess democracy against claims about how to make and implement public policies.

Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Interactive class activities (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)
DETAILS

In addition to lecture-discussion sessions, the class includes occasional structured debates between groups of students.


Assessment methods
  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  •   x  
    ATTENDING STUDENTS

    Attending students are assessed on the basis of two examinations: partial (50%) and final (50%). Both examinations are constituted of short essay questions.

    NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS

    Non-attending students are assessed on the basis of a final examination only (100%). Additional mandatory readings (i.e. readings which are not required for attending students) are assigned and covered on the exam, which are constituted of short- and medium-length essay questions.


    Teaching materials
    ATTENDING STUDENTS

    To be decided at the beginning of the course. All materials are made available on the Bboard site for the course.

    NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS

    To be decided at the beginning of the course. All materials are made available on the Bboard site for the course.

    Last change 30/06/2018 23:26