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Public Policy Analysis


Course description

Pubic policies are of paramount importance in our western societies. They reflect State’s priorities, they offer public administration with guidelines for their actions and they establish a strong relation between the people and their government. As such, public policies exist in multidimensional realities that are often hard to grasp. On one hand, scholars seek to understand what shapes these public policies and explain why they take the form they do. On the other hand, other scholars focus their attention on public policies’ impacts on the society, as well as their outputs.

This course intends to develop students’ knowledge of public policy processes as well as their policy analysis skills and capacities. First, students will acquire a theoretical background that is essential to analyze any public policy. Second, they will learn the basic elements that shape public policies, in particular actors and institutions. Third, students will look into public policy processes and be exposed to three different analytical approaches namely: agenda setting model, cognitive models, and policy cycles. These approaches are based on the theoretical background that will have been previously presented and they encompass the basic elements students will have previously viewed. Finally, students will learn how to appreciate and assess a public policy using sound public policy evaluation techniques.


At the end of this course, students will:

  • Have good knowledge of theories, elements and processes of public policies;
  • Acquire skills and develop capacities to analyse and assess a public policy.

Reading material

  • Howlett, M., Ramesh, M. and Perl, A. (2009). Studying Public Policy. Policy Cycles and Policy Subsystems, Third Edition, Oxford University Press.
  • Howlett, M. and Ramesh, M. (2003), Come studiare le politiche publiche, Bologna, il Mulino.
  • Jordan, Andrew J. et John R. Turnpenny, The Tools of Policy Formulation. Actors, Capacities, Venues and Effects. New Horizons in Public Policy, Northampton (MA), Edward Elgar Publishing, Inc. []
  • Selected scholarly articles



Savard J.

Course director

Additional information

Academic year
Master of Arts in Economics and Communication in Public Management and Policy, Core course, Fundamental knowledges, 1st year
Master of Science in Economics, Core course, Minor in Public Policy, 1st year
Master of Science in Economics in Economia e Politiche Internazionali, Elective course, Elective course, 1st year