PUBP 2010: Political Processes Fall, 2015
Prof. Richard Barke, Georgia Tech School of Public Policy ___________________________________________________________________
Politics in the policy process is about combining individual and social beliefs, values, and preferences about a public problem into a collective decision that, ideally, promotes the public interest. Our focus is both on the “why” (models and theories about why the process works as it does) and the “how” (knowledge about how professionals and citizens can be effective as policy analysts or advocates in an inescapably political environment).
The course will incorporate many examples from real-world politics and policy, but this is neither a casual survey of current events nor an introduction to political science or American politics. We will use many current examples to illustrate and explore concepts covered in the readings and lectures. Students are expected to have a sincere interest in the political process and to approach policy issues with a well-informed and critical perspective. Attention to current issues is essential.
During the course we will examine a variety of aspects of policy studies and policy making. Your overall objective is to develop a coherent framework for understanding policy. Feel free to focus your learning on how these aspects relate to an area of public policy of particular personal or professional interest. By the end of the course you should have a strong understanding of:
- The relationship between social science and policy studies, and between policy analysis and advocacy
- Fundamentals of constitutional principles: representation, checks and balances, liberty
- Differences between market decisions and political/policy decisions
- How people form political opinions and the roles of various stakeholders in policy making
- Rational choice models and behavioral characteristics of decision making (e.g., biases, heuristics, time horizons)
- The roles of experts and laypersons in policy making
- Agenda-setting, issue-framing, and problem definition
- The impact of facts, numbers, values, and narratives on political processes
PUBP 4440/6440: Science, Technology, and Regulation Spring 2015 Prof. Richard Barke, Georgia Tech School of Public Policy
COURSE PURPOSE: Regulation touches nearly every aspect of our professional and personal lives. It involves multiple stakeholders with conflicting objectives; competing justifications and approaches; conflicts about the roles of public judgments and scientific and technical expertise in the face of profound causal uncertainties; the balancing of costs/risks with benefits; and mixtures of many types of knowledge in pursuit of effective and efficient solutions. Georgia Tech students who will become leaders in business, government, and law will benefit from understanding how complex problems such as these can be addressed. Understanding regulatory processes requires knowledge of underlying economic, legal, and political principles, the history and trajectory of regulation, and techniques used to analyze proposed regulations.
LEARNING OBJECTIVES: After completing this course, students will understand:
- political, economic, and legal rationales for regulation,
- the concepts of markets, market failures and non-market failures as applied to regulatory policies,
- the role of administrative law in shaping regulatory procedures and decisions,
- the interactions among the three branches of government and the regulatory agencies,
- strengths and weaknesses of experts and the public as participants in regulatory policy,
- how professionals (scientists, policy analysts, etc.), citizens, and interest groups can shape regulatory policies
- the political use and misuse of cost-benefit analysis in regulatory policy making
- the roles of risk perception, communication, analysis, and management in complex decision making, and
- the impacts of diverse values, types of knowledge, and conflicting interests in regulatory policy disputes.