ProfCert Comparative Public Policy

Academic Year 2019/2020

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 10)

This seminar course explores a range of concepts, theories and findings in public policy research with a view to understanding similarities and differences in policies across advanced industrial societies. In doing so, it deals with issues of definition, classification and measurement. What is policy? What is the difference between policy outputs and policy outcomes? How can they be measured? How can we distinguish types of policy and is it useful to do so?
We also examine existing research that seeks to explain policy outputs and policy outcomes. Why do some countries respond differently to similar problems? What does the policy making process look like? Which factors influence policy making? Do policy actors like parties and interest groups matter? Do interests or ideas matter? Do policy makers undergo a learning process? Do they learn from one another's experiences?
We will use discussion of these fundamental questions as a platform to explore substantive policy areas. The course is centred on weekly reading and participation in class. It places a strong emphasis on recent research. 

Further Information:

  • understand the main analytical concepts underlying comparative policy analysis; 
  • be able to assess competing explanations for variation in policy outputs and outcomes; 
  • have a good understanding of policy--‐making in substantive policy areas in cross - national comparative perspective; 
  • be able to identify current research puzzles and unresolved problems in the literature.

Curricular information is subject to change