Policy Making in the Public Sector

POL 108 at UC Davis

Societies have always faced a wide range of social problems. In modern societies, the state routinely intervenes to try to solve (or at least alleviate) these problems. When the state intervenes to deal with social problems, this is policy-making. It is not a foregone conclusion that the state will, or even should, intervene to solve social problems. How do the members of a diverse society decide when and how to support state intervention? And even when there is broad-based support for state intervention, how should the state respond to different kinds of policy problems? Finally, how effective is the state at solving social problems when it does intervene? Policy Making in the Public Sector explores these issues. The course begins by examining the policy-making process from a theoretical perspective, helping students develop a set of analytical frameworks for thinking about social problems and state intervention. The second half of the course examines policy-making in several specific issue areas, such as housing, transportation and crime.