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The Master in Publlic Policy offers a "common core" composed of 5 fundamental teachings that all students will master independently from the chosen policy stream.
These pluridisciplinary courses are designed to provide students with a solid foundation and comparitive approach of public policy combining economics and statistics, law and regulation, management, politics, history, ethics and digital humanities. Students need to follow 5 core courses from the list below.
Ethics and Democracy
This course presents the ethical considerations (welfare, good, right) involved in public decisions in democracy: What is ethics? What are the main normative ethical considerations that drive public policy decision: consequentialist ethics, deontological ethics, virtue ethics.
It equips policymakers with those ethical guidelines in a variety of concrete public policy examples: free expression, free speech, religious and cultural diversity; life ethics, health ethics, and animal ethics; transhumanism; immigration; defense; global warming…
The course also address the foundation and legitimacy of public policy in democracy: deliberative democracy, public accountability and transparency of public decision, reflexive governance; and questions the role of experts and policymakers in democracy and how to improve trust in public institutions.
Leadership, Management and Decision-Making
This course focuses on the leadership and management of organization and behavioural foundations of public policy.
It shows how to mobilize in a coherent and comprehensive way the required instruments for leading and transforming organizations: how to communicate in particular in times of crisis, how to negotiate with deep understanding of the variety of motivations and organizational cultures, how to set the agenda and take decision, how to manage complex projects and big projects and how to implement organizational transformation.
The course provides a multidisciplinary approach to this question with concepts and concrete case studies from leadership, management, communication, sociology of organizations, behavioural economics and psychology.
Law, Regulation and Public Policy
Irrespective of your previous course of study and skill-set, this is a pre-requisite foundational course for all students. You will have the opportunity to register for more specialised courses should you be interested in studying competition and anti-trust law.
Public policy, law and regulation entertain a complex interrelationship characterised by the multiplication and interaction of normative systems as well as the growing porosity between private and public normative orders. This complexity is further compounded by the concomitant (and occasionally competing) public demands for transparency, participatory processes and efficiency.
This course proposes to concentrate on the normative process and to study the protean nature of norms.
Normative process: the institutional framework for public action
The course analyses the different institutional frameworks, which regulates legislative process whether it be at the international, European or national levels. Particular attention will be paid to the articulation between these different legal orders, the hierarchy of legal norms as well to jurisdictional issues through concrete case studies (e.g. the WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism, international and European treaties). The course will also seek to shed light on "sub-national" institutional frameworks and, notably, (independent) agencies that are called upon in many countries to exercise delegated powers.
The diversity of norms: production in context
Norms are produced in very different ways depending on the country. For instance, the relative weight and effect of the law (norms enacted by a legislative body) vs. regulation (norms adopted by executive bodies) vs. the contract (norms consented by private parties) varies nationally (and over time). Or the respective roles of the judiciary and arbitration mechanisms. In order to best understand these differences, the course adopts a comparative approach, referring to historical, institutional, sociological traditions as well as the legal philosophy that underpins them.
As future public affairs leaders - and whether you are called upon to decide, to advocate or to evaluate public action - you will inevitably be confronted with economic argument and its (eventual) constraints on policy-making. This core course will provide students with the fundamentals of economic reasoning and theory. The course will focus, in particular, on competing conceptual frameworks that will allow them to appreciate (or not) the efficiency and the legitimacy of State intervention in the economy.
The course seeks to answer the following questions:
- Why should public authorities intervene? (allocation, stabilization, redistribution)
- How can public authorities intervene, i.e. what economic instruments do they have at their disposal? (regulation, taxation, subsidization)
- What role do market failures play in justifying State intervention? (externalities, information asymmetry)
- How do the concepts of public property and public goods affect production and allocation of resources whether it is at the national level (public auctions) or the European, international levels (quotas, emission trading)?
- How does economics shed light of the issues of public finances and fiscal policy?
This course proposes to tackle one of the main challenges of the XXIst century: the necessarily complex relationship between government, societies and experts that dogs the policy cycle every step of the way. Why and how do certain issues (problems) make it onto the public agenda? By what process are they to be prioritised? How is the action undertaken to address them (problem-solving) to be agreed upon so as to ensure public acceptance, confidence and effectiveness?
At the very heart of the Master in Public Policy, the course sets out to understand why and how public policies are created as well as how they interact with social, political dynamics and players… other than those directly driving them.
To deal comprehensively with these questions, the course deliberately combines theory and practice: it relies on concrete illustrations and draws upon fundamental, multidisciplinary concepts in political science, sociology of public action and economics.
The course follows focuses on three themes.
The development of public policies
It will analyse, chronologically, the typical policy cycle, i.e. the identification of a public "problem" warranting policy action ("problem solving"), agenda-setting, and subsequent formulation, implementation and evaluation ex ante and ex post of a public policy.
Social and political contextualization for the implementation and management of public policies
It present an analysis of different administrations and their personnel, the role of interest groups, the relationship between public and private players, social movements, transnational dynamics, State reform movements, often engendered by the international agenda.
Evaluation of public policies
Long neglected, the evaluation of public policies has become an important, if not THE essential component of policy cycle. Students will be offered the keys of evaluative analysis based on contemporary experimentation and development of evaluation methodology in countries of the North and the South as well as on the complementarity of economic and non-economic methods (e.g. qualitative and participative methodology). Very closely related to the fundamental Public Economics course this last part should be read together with it.
Quantitative Analysis and Empirical Methods
"Run the numbers by me…", "What are the stats?"
Number-crunching is an inescapable dimension of the policy cycle. Whether you will need to supply them or refute them, it is imperative that future policymakers acquire the principal quantitative methods used in research, in the formulation and implementation of public policies.
The course sets out to achieve three learning objectives:
- to demystify and facilitate access and recourse to quantitative methods;
- to present the logic inherent to quantitative analysis with an initiation to the most commonly used statistical method;
- to provide the tools for critical reflection on the use of quantitative methods in works and publications (reports, documents of analysis or research) which inform public debate
To ensure that students get the most out of this course, they will be divided into two groups. The course is taught in parallel using two distinct methodologies.
1. 24-hour lecture over the semester
The majority of students will follow a 24-hour lecture over the semester (classes may be 2 or 4 hours long).
The course will primarily focus on practical exercises that will confront you to data analysis supported by figures. At the end of the semester you should be able to:
- Identify and understand the principal tools of bivariate or multivariate quantitative analysis;
- To enumerate and use intelligently different tools acquired in order to undertake data analysis;
- To draft pertinent, grounded commentaries concerning the results obtained.
This particular course format emphasizes "learning by doing" quantitative analysis as opposed to memorizing mathematical formulae so as to enhance understanding.
2. Theory and praxis
For a few dozen students, the course will alternate between theory (theoretical and empirical social statistics) and praxis. For the latter, the course will take place in a computer laboratory so that students may apply these theoretical concepts to real data sets and research issues by using international survey techniques and STATA software.
Before each practical session, you will be required to read a research paper chosen both for its intellectual content and for its use of the quantitative methods covered by the practical class in question. Students will be assessed on the basis of a short quantitative research paper (50%), practical exercises, their participation to in-class debate on mandatory readings and general oral participation (10%).
Technology and Public Policy
Many public policy choices and decisions involve a deep understanding of the current challenges raised by science and technology: Energy (nuclear, renewals and green resources, smart cities); Climate change and Global Warming; Digitalization, Robotics and Big Data; Artificial Intelligence; Genetically modified organisms and stem cell research; Nanotechnologies and biotechnologies.
Future policy makers need to be aware on how scientists themselves think about those issues and interact with the rest of the society. Many policy decisions are also made when there is uncertainty about the future impact of scientific and technological evolutions linked to human activity. There are often based on some risk assessments in an environment where probabilities cannot be precisely quantified, "catastrophic" evolutions cannot be ruled out; and in precense of tipping points.
This course provides an in-depth analysis of these questions with high-level scientists who introduce the main above-listed technological and digital topics, and the associated challenges raised for public policy. The scientists will also provide a deep understanding of the relationship between science and democracy. Students will be invited to draw their own conclusion on how science should inform and influence public decisions, the best process and governance arrangements, and, more broadly, the relationship between "experts" and policymakers.
- Cultural Policy and Management
- Digital, New Technology and Public Policy
- Economics and Public Policy
- Energy, Resources and Sustainability
- Global Health
- Management and Public Affairs
- Markets and Regulation
- Politics and Public Policy
- Social Policy and Social Innovation