Policymaking: Actors, institutions and processes

10-12 September 2020 | Executive MPA seminar

Public policies are governmental activities addressing societal problems and therefore closely linked to the idea of problem-solving. This problem-solving, however, is situated in a political setting shaped by divergent interests, power games and inherent uncertainty about the future. How public policies are designed and implemented is therefore shaped by the interaction of a variety of actors pursuing their specific interests. Policy analysis is about the link between politics and problem-solving (enacting policies).

This course introduces analytical perspectives on the policymaking process. It covers key aspects of policymaking such as agenda setting, policy instruments, policy implementation and evaluation. The key competences for policymakers conveyed in this course are: 1. Understanding how political processes shape policymaking, i.e. how interaction between (self-interested) actors influences policy design and implementation as well as the final outcome of policies; and 2. Understanding how policy analysis can improve public policy and governance. The course aims to provide a general toolkit which participants can use in diverse situations.

The course emphasises theory-guided self-reflection about participants’ past experiences in the policy process. It deals with foundational concepts and debates that are at the core of public policy as a field of practice and research.