Refreshed course: Economic Choices in Public Policy

I will be teaching this year over the Spring on the Sciences Po (IEP, Paris) Masters of Public Affairs programme. My course is a fully refreshed version of the course I taught on their inaugural programme in 2005/6.

The aims of the course are:

  • To enable students to understand where economic choices should, are and can be made and to learn how to re-evaluate received wisdom about the role of the market and government in public policy.
  • For students to appreciate the importance of understanding the role of the fundamental assumptions behind economics in making public policy and the possibilities of using some of the recent more practical, but less academically studied, non-traditional directions in economics to analyse and inform policy change.
  • For students to be able to assess economic issues, identify choices and convey their findings through broad economic concepts rather than ‘doing economics’.

The approach will be very practical and is intended to strengthen the skills of those who work with economists, but not as economists, in the public sphere to stand their ground. To be able to understand and challenge from a position of strength based on evidence or sound argument.

There are no formal prerequisites. Students must be ready to work on understanding some technical economic and sometimes mathematical concepts although they will not necessarily be required to do any advanced mathematics.

In brief, this course will enable students to understand where economic choices should, are and can be made. Learning how to re-evaluate received wisdom about the role of the market in public policy and to question both when it is applied and when it is rejected and where government intervention may be preferable or essential (and implicitly vice-versa).

Students will understand the ‘myths’ about markets, the importance of understanding the role of the fundamental assumptions behind economics in making public policy and the possibilities of using some of the recent more practical, but less academically studied, non-traditional directions in economics to analyse and inform policy change.

Overall, students will learn the ways in which political decisions and economic systems are linked and why different models are more or less appropriate in different conditions. Whether they are economists or not students will also learn the important skills for dealings between experts and non-experts in government and other similar public policy settings.

Students will learn how to assess economic issues and convey their findings through broad economic concepts rather than ‘doing economics’.

The series of lectures and discussions will take in study of specific policy areas where we can see different choices and relate the above ideas to analysing how those choices work, especially in the area of social protection and wider social policy.

For those with economic training the course is also valuable as it will encourage learning to move away from the core, narrow, economics syllabus in order to understand economics in a way that has reality for real world government and public policy.

You can follow me @stuartastill on twitter to see some of the course material in the run up to teaching and during the course.

If you would be interested in seeing the book that will emerge (in due course) from the course material on this topic please get in touch, I will be happy to hear your views on what you would like to read about.

Advertisements

About stuartastill

Consultant: interested in analysis that impacts politics i.e. everything! Can do difficult equations - but avoids when working with humans
This entry was posted in teaching. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s