The policy process: Education, labour markets and the knowledge economy

Societies are changing at a seemingly unprecedented rate, which demands new public policies promoting equality and prosperity for all. This course introduces students to the foundations of public policy, policy analysis, and the policy process, with a broad thematic focus on education and skill formation in increasingly knowledge-based economies. Here, educational and related labour market policies are of pivotal importance, as they shape current and especially future societies. Students will learn about the rationale of policy analysis as a multidisciplinary field, the four perspectives on the policy process (rational, political, cultural and institutional) and the effect of institutions on policymaking. The course acquaints them with the tools and skills to answer questions such as: How are policy problems defined and put on the political agenda? Who are the actors, and how do they interact? What role does the institutional context play? Why are some issues tackled differently in (emerging) non-Western welfare states? How is knowledge capitalism and the digital platform economy changing skill formation and jobs? The course applies policy cycle analysis from a multidisciplinary perspective as well as state-of-the-art approaches to the study of institutional change and experimentalist governance, referring to various practical examples. Through systematic process tracing and comparative case studies, the group will learn to unpack complex policy processes. Topics covered include skill formation, the knowledge economy, welfare state policies, labor markets, inclusion, Europeanisation, and liberalisation processes, among others. In sum, the course enables students to analyse key factors that lie at the core of policymaking. The course also allows students to transfer the respective concepts and methods to other, related policy fields.

This course is open to 1st year MPP students only.


  • Lukas Graf , Assistant Professor of Educational Governance