20609 - PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION
Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 24
Class-group lessons delivered on campus
This course provides an introduction to the theoretical and empirical study of public administration in democracies. It addresses two fundamental problems. The principal structural problem demands a means situating policy-producing organizations into a configuration of political institutions. These structural solutions influence the fundamental behavioral problem of democratic public administration: how the managers of these organizations use their discretionary authority in ways that are both representative of public wants and effective in some pragmatic sense.
The main topics of the course are categorized by how they relate to two core values of democratic systems.
- Accountability relates the actions of public administrators to the policy goals of the people and their representatives.
- We examine ways in which organizations and their personnel become identified with policy implementation, generating incentives for expertise development and reputations for competent administration, while at the same time insulating politicians from "policy disasters."
- We catalog ways in which the outputs and outcomes produced by public administration can be evaluated by politicians and citizen-clients.
- We assess the extent to which public administration can be sanctioned through democratic means, particularly elections, and evaluate alternative accountability mechanisms as well as tradeoffs between democratic accountability and "good" public policy.
- Representation within public administration is the claim that organizations can be managed in ways that represent directly the concerns of citizen-clients.
- We study the independence of public administration from elected politicians as a means of commitment to policies and group interests.
- We review a variety of structures for direct public influence over administrative policymaking.
- Recognize the political choices involved in structuring public administration in different ways.
- Distinguish the outputs and outcomes of administrative processes.
- Assess the extent to which public administration can be democratically accountable and representative of public preferences.
- Understand the problems that new structures in contemporary public administration tax existing theories.
- Assess arguments about administrative reform.
- Analyze complex institutional situations.
- Draw lessons of theory for practice.
- Become educated consumers of theoretical and empirical analyses.
- Face-to-face lectures
Face-to-face lectures only.
- Research paper in collaboration with classmates (30%).
- Final exam (70%)
Final exam (100%).
All course materials are provided via the course Bboard site.