Executive politics and the problem-solving capacity of the state

Policy-making is the core business of central government institutions, i.e. cabinet, ministerial departments and agencies. This course is about how this policy-making machinery works in different countries, and how this shapes policy outcomes. In translating demands and support from societal actors into policy action on the ground, executive government needs to solve challenging problems of decision-making, coordination, knowledge acquisition etc. The problem-solving capacity of the modern state depends on the capacity of its governmental and administrative institutions to manage these problems. How capable governments are to do so depends on contextual factors, such as government structures, political and administrative traditions and constitutional rules. In short: the problem-solving capacity of the modern state depends on the capacity of its governmental and administrative institutions. This capacity has been challenged by waves of reforms over the last three or four decades that aimed at changing the way executive government works, and also by more recent crises such as the financial crisis and more recently the so-called ‘refugee crisis' (at least in Europe).

This course is for 2nd year MIA and MPP students only.

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