Central European University A Program for University Teachers, Advanced Ph.D. Students, Researchers and Professionals in the Social Sciences and Humanities Summer University

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PUBLIC POLICY PROCESS AND ANALYSIS
July 5-30, 1999
Course Director: László Váradi (Budapest University of Economic Sciences, Hungary)

Resource Persons

Lance T. LeLoup (Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, USA)
Martin Potucek (Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic)
László Váradi (Budapest University of Economic Sciences, Hungary)
David H. Greenberg (University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore Maryland, USA)
Iris Geva-May (University of Haifa, Mt. Carmel, Israel)

Educational goals
The very fact that the term ‘public policy’ and the vocabulary of policy-making have to be newly invented in the local languages of the CEE region indicates the novelty of policy studies and policy analysis in the region. Taking this background into account, the course has two main objectives: (1) to provide an understanding of the complexities of policy-making and policy analysis through multi-disciplinary analytic frameworks which draw upon a variety of social science fields; (2) to offer a unique opportunity to gain information, knowledge, and skills on public policy process, public policy analysis, cost-benefit analysis, and policy evaluation. The course provides a basis for developing new policy courses by the participants either offered within existing public policy/public administration programs, or other programs which educate students who will work for governments, legislative bodies, and civic or business organizations.

The significance of the course
The multi-disciplinary character of public policy making has still not been incorporated into the curriculum of most CEE universities. The departmental structures existing within universities still preserve the traditional boundaries of social science disciplines and impede the emergence of the multi-disciplinary study of public policy. Furthermore, public policy programs, in which such courses fit best, are rarely found in the region.
Outside the universities, political debates are often framed in ideological and historical terms, with no informed connection to contemporary realities. Moreover, policy discussions and the evaluation of alternatives lack the depth of analysis found in countries with longer traditions of democracy. By and large, decision makers and public administrators sometimes lack up to date conceptual and analytical knowledge and the skills needed to manage effectively in a democratic society with a market economy.

The content of the course
The course provides:
 1  a conceptual foundation of the rationales for and limitations of public policy
 2  establishes an understanding of the major characteristics of policy-making
 3  provides practical advise about how to do policy analysis and policy evaluation
 4  demonstrates the application of a policy-analytic framework and analytic techniques for    conducting policy analysis
5  provides frameworks, methodology and techniques for evaluating public policy and    program outcomes

First section – the topics of policy-making process; fundamental concepts, approaches, and typologies; the policy environment and ways in which political institutions shape the process of policy formulation and adoption; exploration of implementation as well as bureaucratic and judicial policy-making. Cases are drawn from contemporary policy issues such as budget, economic, health and social welfare, defence and foreign policies with actual policy-making examples which demonstrate how institutions and processes can affect outcomes.

Second section – empirical policy research cases drawn from the Czech Republic with background identifying the function, place, and organization of policy research, and methodology. Applicability of single method approaches, illustrations of complex research methodologies in policy formation and implementation. Participants will be required to formulate their own research design of selected policy problems.

Third section – a policy-analytic framework is introduced and its components are explained in detail. The rationale of this framework is to improve public policies by searching for socially desirable outcomes by using the concept of market failures and the other limitations of the competitive market in contrast to the concept of government failures. The concept and the operational effects of generic policies (tools for governmental intervention) will then be explained. This concept demonstrates how every policy intervention involves trade-offs – that is, it may correct certain failures in the public arena, but may suffer from inherent limitations and, hence create new problems. The craft of policy analysis is demonstrated by showing how the analyst can systematically compare concrete alternatives in terms of their impacts relative to a comprehensive set of goals (values).

Fourth section – the course magnifies one widely used approach to policy analysis by describing how benefit-cost analysis can be used to evaluate public sector programs and policies. After introducing the basic theory and concepts that underlie benefit-cost analysis, methods are described that are used to empirically perform benefit-cost analysis. The methods will be illustrated with studies of actual cases.

Fifth section – policy (program) evaluation of policy effectiveness by measuring outcomes. The role of evaluation and evaluation models, the methodology and standards of evaluation with selecting criteria and setting standards, measurement principles and tools, approaches to quantitative outcome evaluation. This part of the course concludes with a demonstration of techniques which aid further utilization of evaluation findings and factors relevant to policy implementation.

Last session – discussion about the development of public policy courses at the participants’ universities.

The length of the course is four weeks, twenty teaching days.

Requirements for participation in the course
Though the course does not require prior understanding of the complexity of policy-making and/or of a policy-analytic framework, it requires participants who are well educated and preferably have prior teaching and/or research experience in one of the empirically oriented traditional social science disciplines and/or economics. Building on the respective previous knowledge and skills of the participants the course is going to be offered on an advanced level both in terms of its comprehensiveness and in-depth analytic techniques.
 

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