Public Policy

Public policy uses the tools of economics, philosophy, and political science to evaluate government programs and design better ones. Students in the Government concentration explore the processes that affect government decisions -- for example, how campaign finance laws affect who gets elected to Congress. In contrast, students in the Public Policy concentration analyze government outcomes from a variety of perspectives -- for example, whether our public education system is fair to low-income students, and whether it is effective in keeping our economy internationally competitive. The public policy program is designed to provide all the tools necessary for students to investigate and assess government action in areas of interest to them, including crime, economic development, education, the environment, health care, welfare, and other public issues.

First-year students interested in a Public Policy concentration should take Economics 101 and at least one of the following: Economics 102, Government 116, Government 117, Philosophy 111, or Philosophy 112. Public Policy 251 and Government 230 should be taken by the fall of the sophomore year. Students interested in the concentration should consult as early as possible with the program’s director, Professor Wyckoff (Government).

[247F] The Pursuit of Happiness.
What is human happiness? What factors increase or decrease it? Why are some countries and cultures happier than others? How can government policies promote happiness? This course considers:-- the nature of happiness from the major philosophical traditions, --the cognitive biases that impede our ability to maximize happiness, --the empirical literature on subjective well-being from the fields of economics, political science, and psychology, --recent trends in capitalist societies and their effects on happiness, and --government policies that might improve human happiness. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, One course in statistics, from any discipline. (Same as Government 247.)

251F Introduction to Public Policy.
The study of policy analysis using and comparing a variety of disciplinary and analytic traditions. Consideration of controversies over particular policies at the national and local level and the premises underlying them. Examination of methods and principles used in formulating and evaluating public policy. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, Economics 101. Open to seniors with consent of instructor. (Same as Government 251.) Anechiarico.

280S Conflict Resolution: Policies and Strategies.
This course examines conflict from a variety of perspectives. We will investigate how arbitration, adjudication, and mediation differ, in addition to exploring how the policies and strategies of cultural and legal institutions dictate different approaches to mediation. Societies cope with conflict by enacting policies consistent with their culture and values. This course examines conflict resolution policies in the U.S. and abroad, including the legal system, the media, the educational sector, and international dispute resolution. Prerequisite, 101, 103, 106, 230 or consent of instructor. (Same as Communication 280.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Phelan.
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382S Topics in Public Policy.
The application of theories and methods of evaluation, design and implementation in an intensive study of a significant problem of public policy. Emphasis on skills of analysis, writing and group problem-solving. Coursework may be supplemented by field work as well as participation by scholars and practitioners sponsored by the Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, 251. (Same as Government 382.) Maximum enrollment, 20.

500/501 Senior Project.
A one- or two-semester senior project, culminating in a thesis. The Program.