Political Science (PSCI) 4315 - 001
Public Policy Making
Spring Semester, 2000
Turlock Campus

Professor: Dr. Susan H. MacDonald
Class meetings: MWF: 2:30 - 3:28 p.m.
Room 202, Classroom Building
Office: 132 A Classroom Building
Office hours: 1:00 – 2:30 Wednesdays and Fridays;
9:30 – 11:30 on Thursday; and by appoint-ment
Office phone: 667-3291 (direct line)
667-3388 (for appointments)
e-mail: SMacDONALD@stan.csustan.edu

Required texts
Dye, Thomas R. Understanding Public Policy 9th edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc. 1998.

Stone, Deborah Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision Making. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & company, Inc. 1997.

Stencel, Sandra L., editor, Issues for Debate in American Public Policy. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press. 1999.

Course purpose

The University Catalog indicates: "This course will address two areas of the policy making process: a) the role of so-cial/political institutions with particular attention to ad-ministrative agencies, interest groups, and the judiciary in addition to the presidency and Congress; b) principal models of policy formulation including elitism, systems theory, and incrementalism. Policy making in a number of specific domes-tic problem areas will be studied. Prerequisite PSCI 1201. PSCI 3304 recommended."

In addition to these two foci, the course will introduce stu-dents to a critique of the rational modeling approach, which proposes, instead, a political perspective of policy develop-ment.

Because public policy making does not take place in a vacuum, but is practiced in the context of specific issue areas, the course will also consider examples of the policy process it-self. Four issue areas will be examined by the entire class, and each student will select another policy area of his or her choosing to study in greater detail. Instructor approval is required before the policy issue can be analyzed.

Learning objectives

Students are expected to learn the basic models that have been used to analyze public policy as well as limitations with these standard approaches. Students should also be able to relate specific issue areas to the public institutions in-volved in managing various problems. Finally, students are expected to learn how to analyze a policy issue and look be-neath the surface of an issue to understand some of the more fundamental struggles taking place.

Course organization

The class will meet every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 2:30 to 3:28 p.m. in Room 202 of the Classroom Building.
Students will be expected to take an active role in class meetings by staying current with all reading assignments, participating in class discussions, and pursuing independent research in the form of a policy analysis and class presenta-tion. Class attendance is expected. Students who miss class cannot participate, and this will be reflected in their grade.

Assignments and grading

1. Class participation 10%
2. Test 10%
3. First Memorandum 10%
4. Second Memorandum 10%
5. Third Memorandum 10%
6. Final Presentation and Paper 25%
7. Final Examination 25%

Students are expected to apprise the professor of their paper topic and preferred date of presentation by March 3, 2000.

Students will be evaluated on the basis of the following:
1. class preparation
2. clarity of thought in oral and written expression
3. organization of information
4. conciseness of argument
5. comprehensiveness of information included
6. presentation of materials (graphics, etc.)

The first memorandum should contain the student’s problem statement. This is a 1-2 page memorandum to your supervisor (a.k.a. the professor) indicating:
1. what policy you propose to examine,
2. why you believe the present policy is inadequate, and
3. what model you believe best captures the policy prob-lem (this may change by the end of the course).

In other words, you are expected to describe the policy you hope to examine during the course.

The second memorandum should identify the major constituen-cies or stakeholders involved in the issue area and what po-sitions each takes. This memorandum may take as many as 4-5 pages and should focus on both the causes of the present pol-icy and on its present effects or consequences.

The third memorandum should identify the institutions in-volved in developing, approving, and implementing any policy recommendation and what role(s) each plays in the process.

The final presentation is expected to take approximately 20 minutes and introduce the rest of the class to the basic ele-ments of the policy problem, the approach you have taken to analyze it, and the institutions involved.

The paper should be approximately 10 pages and include sec-tions on each area addressed by the three memoranda and an-swer the question: "Which approach (Dye’s or Stone’s) pro-vides the greater insight into understanding the policy issue you have identified. Elaborate." I will provide more guid-ance as the course progresses.

Plagiarism

Intellectual honesty is central to any academic endeavor. However, in advanced undergraduate work it is especially im-portant. Developing careful habits of independent thinking and attribution of ideas is vital to the intellectual en-deavor. The classroom, then, provides valuable space for the open exchange of ideas and the nurturing of habits that pro-mote and sustain intellectual honesty.

Course Outline
Week 1
Feb 16 & 18
Introductions: Course expectations

Policy Analysis: Definitions
Required readings:
Dye, chapter 1

Week 2
Feb 21, 23, 25
Models of Politics
Required readings:
Dye, chapter 2 (pages 13-26)

Models of Politics
Required readings:
Dye, chapter 2 (pages 27-38)

First Exam (10%)

Week 3
Feb 28,

Mar 1 & 3
Civil Rights
Required readings:
Dye, chapter 3

Criminal Justice
Required readings:
Dye, chapter 4

NB: March 1 is the last day to add without a fee and the last day to drop with a refund.

Economic Policy
Required readings:
Dye, chapter 9

First Policy Memorandum due. (10%)

Week 4
Mar 6, 8, 10
International Trade & Immigration
Required readings:
Dye, chapter 11

American Federalism
Required readings:
Dye, chapter 12

Inputs and Outputs
Required readings:
Dye, chapter 13

Week 5
Mar 13, 15, 17
Policymaking Process
Required readings:
Dye, chapter 14

NB: March 14 is the last day to add with a fee;
the last day to drop without a refund; and the last day to request CR/NC grading

Mar 15 Policy Evaluation
Required readings:

Dye, chapter 15

Mar 17 Dye Review


Week 6
Mar 20, 22, 24
Policy Paradox
Required readings:
Stone: Chapter 1

Policy Paradox
Required readings:
Stone: Chapter 2

Mar 24 Policy Paradox
Required readings:
Stone: Chapter 3

Second Policy Memorandum due. (10%)

Week 7
Mar 27, 29, 31
Policy Paradox
Required readings:
Stone: Chapter 4

Policy Paradox
Required readings:
Stone: Chapter 5

Policy Paradox
Required readings:
Stone: Chapter 6

Week 8
Apr 3, 5, 7
Policy Paradox
Required readings:
Stone: Chapter 7

Policy Paradox
Required readings:
Stone: Chapter 8

Policy Paradox
Required readings:
Stone: Chapter 9

Third Policy Memorandum due. (10%)

Week 9
Apr 10, 12, 14
Policy Paradox
Required readings:
Stone: Chapter 10

Apr 12 Policy Paradox
Required readings:
Stone: Chapter 11

Policy Paradox
Required readings:
Stone: Chapter 12

Week 10
Apr 17, 19, 21
Policy Paradox
Required readings:
Stone: Chapter 13

Policy Paradox
Required readings:
Stone: Chapter 14

Policy Paradox
Required readings:
Stone: Chapter 15

Apr 24-28 Spring Break – No class

Week 11
May 1, 3, 5
Policy Paradox
Required readings:
Stone: Conclusion

Civil Rights Revisited
Required readings:
Stencel, chapter 9

Criminal Justice Revisited
Required readings:
Stencel, chapter 9

Draft papers supporting student presentations may be submitted for initial review and comment.

Week 12
May 8, 10, 12
Economic Policy Revisited
Required readings:
Stencel, chapter 13

International Trade & Immigration Revisited
Required readings:
Stencel, chapter 14

Review

Week 13
May 15, 17, 19

May 22
Student Presentations (25%)