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PPG2008H: Comparative Public Policy

Course Description


This course is designed to expose MPP students to the scholarly literature on public policy across a wide range of countries. Through the study of public policy in other countries, students will deepen their knowledge of public policy, even Canadian policy.

Major theories and research paradigms will be examined, with a focus on the relationship between theory, research design and measurement. Emphasis will be on comparing wealthy countries, though policies from the developing world will be drawn upon as well. To begin the course will examine the sources of public policy, asking how institutions, ideas and interests shape policy. Then, the course will turn to how policy shapes society, thinking carefully about how we measure policies and how we distinguish outputs from outcomes.To focus the course study, students will explore two policy areas in depth. (Students interested in other areas will have many chances to engage with the relevant literatures.)

The areas of focus are:
1. Social policy, or “Who gets what and how much?”
2. Immigration and citizenship policies, or “Who is a part of our society?”
When students complete this course, they will be able to describe the range of variation in policies, analyze the causes and consequences of policy variation and communicate those ideas both orally and in writing. Their descriptions will draw on scholarly, policy, and journalistic sources, and their analyses will be both theoretically sophisticated and practically relevant. Finally, students in this course will produce original comparative research, enabling students to critically evaluate the quality of other research.

Spring (2nd year)

P. Loewen
L. White

Pre-requisite for enrollment: Successful completion of 3.5 MPP1 FCEs
Required of all second year students.