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Public Policy

What is Public Policy?

The study of public policy is distinct from political science or economics in its focus on the application of theory to practice.  Public Policy students at Brown prepare to be effective change-makers who can easily collaborate with others in government, nonprofit, and for-profit organizations.  All students in the concentration should graduate with a command of the fundamental tools of policy analysis as well as an appreciation for varied institutional contexts within which public policy is made.

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PLCY 0100. Introduction to Public Policy.

An overview of policymaking and policy analysis in the contemporary United States. The course begins with an examination of traditional justifications for government action. We will then examine the discipline of policy analysis that has arisen to design and evaluate public policies. We will also consider critiques of the rational method and ask questions about how policy expertise fits into the political system. The course ends with classic works on organizations and implementation. Not open to graduate students. WRIT

Fall PLCY0100 S01 16783 TTh 2:30-3:50(03) (R. Hackey)
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PLCY 1000. International Environmental Law and Policy.

Our goal will be to examine whether and how well international organizations, national governments from the global north and south, and non-state actors cooperate to address human-environment interactions for the benefit of human societies, nature and the environment. We also examine how treaties, economic assistance, trade agreements and domestic laws affect international environmental governance. Toward the end of the semester, we will negotiate an agreement (NEWORLD) that will hopefully resolve several territorial, environmental and natural resource issues raised by the accelerating rate of ice melt in the Arctic. SOPH

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PLCY 1090. Polarized Politics (POLS 1090).

Interested students must register for POLS 1090.

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PLCY 1130. The American Presidency (POLS 1130).

Interested students must register for POLS 1130.

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PLCY 1150. Comparative Policies: Analyzing Policy Making Around the Globe.

This course is designed to comparatively study policymaking, policy knowledge, and policy intents, actions or inactions, in order to:
Develop a policy imagination through use of less-conventional modes of text.
Broaden and diversify understanding of policymaking by considering bottom-up and horizontal policymaking and policy advocacy—policy concerns, ideas and practices from grassroots organizations, marginalized communities, subaltern groups—and factoring in questions of power, difference and equality.
Provide exposure to international contexts and experiences.
Enhance capability to critique the global relevance of US-based or US-derived theories about public policy.
Provide knowledge of public policy issues and concerns.
Enhance visual literacy and writing capability. DPLL SOPH WRIT

Spr PLCY1150 S01 26162 TTh 10:30-11:50(09) (G. Augusto)
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PLCY 1200. Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation.

Broad overview of public policy analysis and program evaluation with emphasis on methodological issues involved in the analysis and assessment of government programs. Illustrations are drawn from a variety of substantive policy areas. Prerequisite: PLCY 0100, and POLS 1600 or EDUC 1110 or SOC 1100 or ECON 1620, or written permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to 40 Political Science and Public Policy concentrators. WRIT

Spr PLCY1200 S01 26030 TTh 9:00-10:20(01) 'To Be Arranged'
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PLCY 1280. Politics, Economy and Society in India (POLS 1280).

Interested students must register for POLS 1280.

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PLCY 1301A. Values, Policy, and Politics.

How can we ethically evaluate public policy options, proposals, and decisions? In what ways do the policy process, and on-the-ground realities complicate our ability to apply ethical ideals? This sophomore seminar explores these questions in a case-driven manner, designed to equip students to analyze and discuss the ethical implications of policy decisions across an array of topics, and to enable students to bring ethical analysis to bear in policy analysis and appraisal. The course is suitable for sophomores interested in disciplines such as public policy, political science, sociology, and applied ethics. SOPH WRIT

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PLCY 1400. Ethics and Public Policy.

What are the moral foundations of public policy analysis? How should individuals act when faced with ethical dilemmas in public life? This course will engage those questions in depth, beginning with case studies in ethics and policy and moving to cases involving ethical quandaries and moral dilemmas in public life.

Fall PLCY1400 S01 17058 TTh 1:00-2:20(10) (R. Cheit)
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PLCY 1490. Building a Better World: Film and Social Change (POLS 1490).

Interested students must register for POLS 1490.

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PLCY 1500. Comparative Policies: Analyzing Policy Making Around the Globe.

Analyzes the institutions and policy-making of several countries. Includes an anlysis of education policy, health policy, and social welfare policy.

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PLCY 1600. Economics for Public Policy.

This course examines the role of the public sector in the economy. We begin by exploring when and how the government intervenes in the economy. We also consider the impact of government intervention. We then use this theoretical foundation to examine current issues in expenditure, education, health, retirement, business competition, environment, cybersecurity, crime, financial, and tax policy. The student will acquire analytical skills to better evaluate existing and alternative public policy alternatives. Qualitative and quantitative methods will be used throughout the course. Class sessions require a significant degree of student participation.

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PLCY 1700B. Social Welfare Policy in the United States.

Exposes students to the key challenges for social welfare policy-making in the United States. Particular attention will be given to the formulation and administration of prominent welfare, health, and education policies. Course materials also will explore how demographic and economic trends affect the implementation of social welfare policies. Instructor permission required. This course satisfies the Public Policy Problems requirement. WRIT

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PLCY 1700F. Economics and Public Policy.

An economic analysis of major social programs in the United States. Topics include the possibility of market failure in the private sector, the redistribution of income, and incentive effects created by the programs. Specific policy issues to be examined are welfare reform, Medicaid, school finance reform, and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Enrollment limited to 20. This course satisfies the Public Policy Problems requirement.

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PLCY 1700G. Education Policy Challenges.

This course explores several key challenges facing both educators and policy makers in promoting good citizenship and realizing social justice in education. We will combine both normative and empirical analysis of questions such as how to promote good citizenship in the schooling of future citizens, the role of values in the policy process, and the challenges and opportunities presented by the policy environment. Students will encounter current developments in the study of civic education and empowerment, studies into the lived reality of racial inequality and disempowerment in schooling, and key issues in education reform.

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PLCY 1700H. Family Law and Policy.

A seminar exploring how the family is defined and regulated by the legal system and through public policy. Focuses on how well legal definitions of families coincide with the realities of modern American families, the role of the judiciary in constructing family policy, and the interaction between private family life and public rules. Topics include marriage,divorce, adoption, and reproductive technology.

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PLCY 1700J. GIS and Public Policy.

An introduction to the theory and practice of social science Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as applied to public policy analysis. Topics include: the geographical basis of policy issues, spatial mapping, and the use of ArcView software to study policy problems. This course satisfies the Public Policy Problems requirement.

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PLCY 1700K. Health Policy Challenges.

This course examines the topic of health reform through a variety of lenses – politics, policy, community organizing, and bureaucratic implementation. Specific issues include recent reform efforts at the national and state levels, including the Affordable Care Act and several Rhode Island state legislative campaigns over the past twenty years. During each of these legislative victories (or defeats), the interplay between politics and policy, community organizing and implementation have defined how successful the laws have been in improving people’s access to quality, affordable healthcare.

Spr PLCY1700K S01 25598 M 3:00-5:30(13) (R. Hackey)
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PLCY 1700M. Law and Public Policy.

This course will give students an introduction to business organizations – the law that governs corporations and partnerships, how they raise money in the financial markets, and to explore the public policy issues that inform the regulation of business and finance. We will look at business organizations, law that governs how companies raise money, operation of the stock markets, insider trading, and the regulation of institutional investors including mutual funds, hedge funds and private equity funds. We will finish by taking up corporations as persons, their social obligations and the recent Supreme Court cases on corporations and the First Amendment.

Spr PLCY1700M S01 26032 T 4:00-6:30(16) 'To Be Arranged'
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PLCY 1700P. Social Science Data Technologies.

Provides advanced training in the principle methods of data analysis across a range of substantive areas. Students will gain technical competence utilizing a variety of online internet research and data mining tools and stand alone software including but not limited to SPSS, Excel, Access, and ArcView (GIS).

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PLCY 1700Q. Urban Policy Challenges: Spatial Inequality in Metropolitan America.

We will read, analyze, and discuss seminal texts within American urban history to examine the historic relationship between social policy and spatial inequality in 20th-century American metropolitan development. Students will have a passing familiarity with how the conflation of federal policies, regional economies, and local politics has constructed metropolitan landscapes with inequitable distributions of both public and private resources. Students will gain experience in oral and written analysis of how housing policies have historically influenced the interaction and engagement of disparate identity groups, including diasporic black, Latinx, Asian-American, and white ethnic communities, with metropolitan American civic institutions. DPLL

Fall PLCY1700Q S01 17389 Th 4:00-6:30(04) (A. Pratcher)
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PLCY 1700R. Urban Revitalization: Lessons from the Providence Plan.

Explores policy issues facing cities today and examines how the public, private, and nonprofit sectors have mobilized in selected cities to address these issues. Topics include jobs and economic development, education, public safety, and regional approaches. Focuses on The Providence Plan, a joint city-state revitalization initiative designed to address the problems of urban poverty. Comparisons with similar programs in other cities. This course satisfies the Public Policy Problems requirement.

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PLCY 1700S. Policies Affecting Working Families.

Examines sociological and economic factors and current policies contributing to conflict between caring and earning which affects working families in the U.S. Investigates dynamic landscape of the American family and costs of providing and caring for family members. Considers government's and employers' roles in shaping policies, cross-national comparison of American policies with other leading nations, and links between policies and outcomes. Enrollment limited to 20.

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PLCY 1700T. Good Government.

An applied ethics course specifically for students with backgrounds in Public Policy, it will emphasize the primary themes of good government: openness, deliberation, and integrity. Students will develop an essay on good government and do research for case studies of ethical dilemmas involving public servants. Prerequisite: PLCY 0100 (or equivalent). Instructor permission required. This course satisfies the American Institutions requirement.

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PLCY 1700U. Communications, Advocacy and Public Affairs.

Teaches students about communication strategies and tactics for affecting social change, and examines how individuals and organizations frame issues and execute campaigns in order to change policy.

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PLCY 1700V. Nonprofit Organizations.

Contemporary nonprofits and their role in community building and shaping public policy are central to this course. Topics include how strong coalitions impact housing, welfare and children's policy, organizing empowered communities, the influential and engaged donor and building the value of nonprofits. Case studies will be featured and new nonprofit models will be conceptualized to strategically address critical human need. Enrollment limited to 20 juniors, seniors, and graduate students concentrating in Public Policy. This course satisfies the American Institutions requirement.

Spr PLCY1700V S01 26161 Th 4:00-6:30(17) (W. Allen)
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PLCY 1700Y. Crisis Management.

Introduces future policymakers to the multifaceted decision-making process in which governments, businesses, advocacy organizations, and the public are thrust into the throes of a policy crisis. Various crisis management theories, key stakeholders in a crisis situation, and the positive and negative effects of various strategies are analyzed. Enrollment limited to 20 junior and senior concentrators in Public Policy. This course satisfies the Public Policy Problems requirement.

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PLCY 1700Z. State and Local Government.

Examines state and local politics and government in the United States. The first part of the course examines the historical underpinning and division of power of the major political actors, institutions, and processes through both institutionalist perspectives. The second part focuses on the role of states in shaping significant policy areas including civil unions, education, healthcare, welfare, and the environment. This course satisfies the American Institutions requirement.

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PLCY 1701B. Public Organization and Management.

The aim of this course is to approach public sector organizations from a theoretical and systematic point of view in order to understand the proper function and role of public organizations in our society, and examine important conditions and factors required for effective public organization management. The boundary between the public and private sector is discussed as well as similarities and differences between the two. Also, challenges originating from the characteristics of our Knowledge-Information Society are discussed, along with potential solutions to address them. There are no specific prerequisites for the course; however, some essential knowledge in microeconomics and American government system is recommended. In case the course is oversubscribed, the enrollment preference would be determined by the student's class standing and the areas of study.

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PLCY 1701D. Global Graying: The Impact of an Aging Society on Public and Private Sector Organizations.

A “silver tsunami” is rolling across the globe. Governmental policy makers and business leaders are scrambling to adapt to a demographic phenomenon. A rapidly aging adult population combined with historically low fertility rates is reshaping the demand for retirement benefits, medical services and consumer products -- and threatens to unravel the social safety net established through governmental services like Social Security and Medicare.

Understanding Aging is critical knowledge – public or private sector. Students seeking roles in public policy will be even more consumed with the issues of an aging population and their impact on government, politics and public finance.

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PLCY 1701H. Congressional Leadership, Parties and Public Policy.

Focuses on the Congressional leadership, parties in Congress and their impact on political interactions, and public policy. The course will examine the relationship between the leadership in the Congress and the powerful elements in the House and Senate such as committee chairmen and the party caucuses as well as the media and lobbyists. Emphasis is on the decades long trend toward greater political polarization and its impact on the ability of the institution to respond effectively to address critical national priorities such as the federal debt, health reform immigration, nuclear proliferation and global warming. Enrollment limited to 20 juniors, seniors and graduate students.

Spr PLCY1701H S01 26035 F 9:00-11:30 (R. Arenberg)
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PLCY 1701I. Immigration: The Imaginaries of Race, Space, and Nation.

Immigration in the United States has been and continues to be about delineations of boundaries, of belonging. By definition, immigration delimits American national identity; however, it does so by defining it as a cultural notion. American-ness is a cultural identity, one that is explicitly descriptive about who belongs and who does not belong.

In this course, we will briefly examine the rise of American nationalism vis-à-vis the history of immigration policy in the United States.

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PLCY 1701J. Policy Implementation.

Why do well-intentioned policies sometimes produce unfortunate results? This course will examine how policies designed by elected officials, bureaucrats, and courts are translated into practice through implementation, how and why public policies succeed or fail to produce changes in practice, and how policy implementation bears on democratic governance. The course will consider policy implementation across policy domains, with recurring attention to k-12 education policy. Enrollment is limited to 20.

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PLCY 1701K. Governance in the Academy: A University at Work in the 21st Century.

Focuses on understanding and evaluating the governance of the modern university. Brown will be used as one example to illustrate and illuminate various aspects of university governance. Themes of leadership, effective decision-making, priority-setting, planning, conflict and crisis management, and optimal organizational structure and behavior will be discussed. Students will be well-versed in the language, structure, roles of actors, and general operations of university governance and equipped to analyze and asses the strengths and weaknesses of various models. Students with an interest in pursuing a career in academia or other non-profit organizations will benefit from this course. Enrollment limited to 20 juniors and seniors.

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PLCY 1701L. Comparative Institutional Decision-Making.

Designed to introduce students to issues of bureaucratic politics and policy making in comparative perspective. The premise of this class is that thinking about the role of the bureaucracy is crucial to any theory of how modern democracy should work, as well as to our understanding of how many different modern democracies do work. Enrollment limited to 20 juniors, seniors, and graduate students in Public Policy and Political Science.

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PLCY 1701M. Juvenile Justice Institutions and Policy.

Examines the historical and legal development of the juvenile justice system and provides an overview of delinquency theory. These frameworks are used to study the major institutions and current policy issues in the juvenile justice system. Special topics include teen and family courts, age of jurisdiction, racial disparities in juvenile justice, and female delinquency. Students engage in a semester-long project to develop a policy brief addressing a current issue in juvenile justice. Enrollment limited to 20 juniors and seniors. Instructor permission required. This course satisfies the Public Policy Problems requirement. WRIT

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PLCY 1701O. Labor Market Policy.

Students will learn how to use basic economics models to analyze important labor market policy questions. Topics will include minimum wages, payroll tax cuts, training subsidies, unemployment insurance, negative income taxes, and others. Students will also learn how to find and interpret important labor market data (for example, unemployment rates, payroll employment numbers, and wages) which are used by policy analysts to evaluate local and national labor markets. Prerequisite: ECON 1110, ECON 1130, or EDUC 1130; or instructor permission. Enrollment limited to 20.

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PLCY 1701P. Inequality, Poverty, and Public Policy in the United States.

The course uses a multi-disciplinary social science approach to examine the intersections of racial and gender inequality, poverty, and public policy in the United States. The course is an advanced reading seminar that explores various approaches to theorizing, measuring, and researching poverty and inequality. The course also critically examines the role of historic public policies in reinforcing existing inequalities and evaluates policies and strategies to reduce poverty and inequality. Enrollment limited to 20 juniors and seniors. DPLL

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PLCY 1701Q. Leading Social Ventures - Social Entrepreneurship in Action.

Leading Social Ventures is designed for students who are leading social ventures or aspire to create and lead them. "Action learning" means students will apply educational content to a specific entrepreneurial venture in the early stage of development.

Admission to the course is by application: The course is designed for students who are already developing a venture. You must attend the first and second class to be eligible-no exceptions. Enrollment limited to 25.

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PLCY 1701W. Race, Gentrification, and the Policing of Urban Space.

This seminar focuses on the relationships between structures and processes of racialization, gentrification, and the policing of urban space in the post 1970s United States. Through readings, lectures, and original research, students will develop analyses of a series of linked case studies in North American cities including Baltimore, Ferguson, New York, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Students will develop an inventory of concepts such as race, class, gender, sexuality, neoliberalism, rent, restructuring, scale, and space that are foundational for analyzing the interrelationship between housing and policing policies. DPLL WRIT

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PLCY 1701Y. Public Opinion and Public Policy.

It is hard to turn on the news in the United States today without hearing about the latest poll. Why do we care so much about what the masses think? We will take a comprehensive look at the concept of public opinion and its impact on public policy in the United States. We will examine normative and empirical theories about the nature and origins of public opinion. Next, we will explore how public opinion is measured in practice. The content from this course are designed to position you to have sophisticated conversations about public opinion in the United States. DPLL

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PLCY 1702A. Justice, Gender, and Markets.

This course will explore two main questions: how poor women connect to markets and how philosophical ideas about gender have influenced ideas about gender and justice and consequently, gender, justice and markets. These questions help us explore how justice, gender, and markets interact and create conditions that keep millions of women trapped in poverty. They help us then develop policies and programs that might help women escape entrenched poverty.

Spr PLCY1702A S01 26031 W 3:00-5:30(14) 'To Be Arranged'
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PLCY 1702B. Governing the Seven Seas: Law and Policy for the 21St Century.

This course explores the doctrines, laws and institutions that govern current and future uses of the world’s oceans and seas. We will examine governance of international and U.S. coastal waters with respect to delineation of territory and responsibility; defense, navigation and trade; environmental protection, including fisheries management and the use of coastal and international waters for waste disposal, energy development and commerce; and access and claims to the deep seabed. We will also consider the accomplishments and limits of ocean-related treaties, laws and plans in light of accelerating population growth in the coastal zone, emerging territorial conflicts in the South China Sea and the Arctic, and the effects of global warming-driven climate change on small island states and marine ecosystems. WRIT

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PLCY 1702C. Racial and Ethnic Politics and Policy in America.

Many of the most enduring social divisions, political conflicts, and pubic policy debates in the United States revolve around the issue of race, and to a lesser extent ethnicity. This course will examine the role of race in American politics and its contemporary significance to the nation’s citizens, politicians, and governmental institutions. It will focus on the experiences and activities of African-Americans, Anglo Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans, but will focus most extensively on African-Americans and Latinos, in the political and policy realm. DPLL

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PLCY 1702D. Ethics of Energy Policy.

This class explores ethical problems that arise in the context of energy policy. Topics addressed include: the ethics of climate change and emissions reduction policies; international equity as a central problem of energy policy;intergenerational equity as a central problem of energy policy; the ethics of natural resource depletion and conservation; the ethics of pollution control; standards for the public management of energy demand; energy demand and the ethics of economic growth;the ethics of energy consumption decisions by individuals, households and firms; scope of market forms of regulation in the energy policy arena; conflicts between economic, utilitarian and alternative rights-based frameworks.

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PLCY 1702E. Environmental Law and Policy.

If this course is successful, you will have a comfortable understanding of major federal environmental laws, as well as the complexity of policy formation and the practice of environmental law in the U.S. You will see how legal precedent, differing understandings of risk, and the efforts of government agencies, courts, public and private organizations, scientists and citizens have shaped solutions to environmental problems. You will also have the opportunity to use legal theories and frameworks to explore some contemporary environmental problems.

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PLCY 1702H. Crime and Punishment in the USA.

In matters of crime and punishment, the United States is exceptional. It imprisons a larger share of its population than any comparable society, past or present. It is also, the most violent country in the developed world. These are staggering facts, given that the US is also the richest society in world history. In this course, we sample work from a wide number of disciplines in an effort to understand this America “exceptionalism. We examine the arguments that justify (or reject) state-sanctioned punishment and we discuss what criminal justice reform looks like, today and what it might look like tomorrow. WRIT

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PLCY 1703C. Policy Making and Policy Makers in Domestic and International Contexts.

The objective of the class is to encourage a new understanding of the players, approaches, and potential in domestic and international policy making, and to provide students with a "real-world" perspective on how things get done in a variety of public policy contexts. The course will take two broader perspectives on these issues, inviting students to investigate policy making from the “inside out” -- i.e., from the perspective of key stakeholders within the legislative and executive branches -- and from the “outside in” -- i.e., from the perspective of key stakeholders in the media, lobbying organizations, non-governmental organizations, and business interests.

Fall PLCY1703C S01 17631 Arranged (P. Reeves)
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PLCY 1710. The Theory and Practice of Sustainable Investing.

21st century businesses and investors face a broadening and deepening array of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) risks and opportunities. Climate change, water scarcity, community conflicts, resource depletion, supply chain breakdowns, worker well-being and economic inequality pose present material challenges that make sustainability an imperative for successful corporations and investors.

We will examine current ESG strategy, trends, future scenarios, players, and frameworks and integrate that theory with practical investment performance analysis, metrics, and study of screens, asset classes, and diversification. The course maximizes student interaction with industry leaders and is taught through a mix of case studies, analyst reports, and lectures.

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PLCY 1771. Education, Inequality, and American Democracy (POLS 1770).

Interested students must register for POLS 1770.

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PLCY 1800. Investigating Modes of Social Change.

This course examines the range of approaches to making social change through democratic institutions and processes in the U.S. These approaches-- direct service, community organizing, policy/politics, philanthropy, social entrepreneurship and research/scholarship-- have different value systems, methodologies, strengths and limitations. There’s no one “right” approach, and the modes often intersect in ways that can be mutually reinforcing or counterproductive. The course will be valuable to students interested in being involved in social change during their time at Brown and in their future careers.

Fall PLCY1800 S01 16988 T 4:00-6:30(09) (M. Rosenberg)
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PLCY 1802. Engaged Research Engaged Publics.

Policy problems are complex. Policy analysis and design is both a science and a craft. Increasingly, policymakers have begun to acknowledge that effective policy research requires not only multiple methods of inquiry, but also interdisciplinary teams of social science researchers, citizens, designers, scientists, artists, consultants, and engineers, among other experts. Generating innovative policy solutions, from this approach, is not a straightforward, linear process, but instead a creative, collaborative, and engaged activity that requires not only iterative and dynamic research methods, but also storytelling, design, and other creative methods.

Fall PLCY1802 S01 16987 Th 5:30-8:00PM(05) (A. Levitas)
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PLCY 1810. Models for Sustaining Social Transformation.

This course explores the dynamics of creating, managing and sustaining social change activities in order to achieve the objective of true social transformation. The course will examine this pathway through the lens of several different social movements that are relevant in both the global and domestic spheres, including: water and sanitation systems, healthcare and public health, and urban planning and resilience.

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PLCY 1821. Bilateral and Multilateral Policy and Diplomacy.

We will examine the practice and profession of diplomacy and its relationship to the policy process. Focus will be on bilateral and multilateral diplomacy; while the practice will focus on a U.S. context, the lessons learned apply to other nation states. We will briefly review the history of inter-state relations, including the international legal basis for diplomatic relations. The practice has evolved over the years and has been greatly influenced by modern technology; however, it continues to incorporate such common functions as policy formulation, representation, reporting, negotiation, intercultural contacts and interaction with the media, parliamentary bodies and other external actors. WRIT

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PLCY 1822. Brown in Washington, D.C. Reflection Seminar.

This course is the required reflection seminar for participants in the Brown in Washington, D.C. program. The course is grounded in the 25 hour/week practicum that each student will complete during the semester. Potential placement sites include: government/public sector agencies (e.g., federal cabinet agencies, Congressional offices, state or municipal executive or legislative offices); not-for-profit organizations; and other organizations with a mission to support a range of types of work/placements for students. The seminar will examine issues in engaged scholarship and civic engagement through readings, case studies, participatory activities, and guest speakers.

Fall PLCY1822 S01 17390 Arranged (A. Hance)
Spr PLCY1822 S01 25689 Arranged (A. Hance)
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PLCY 1823. Brown in Washington, D.C. Practicum.

The Brown in Washington, D.C. practicum course is designed to provide students with a hands-on learning experience to complement their academic work at Brown. The course will feature 25-hour/week internships assigned to students based on their personal interests, policy interests, and post-Brown career objectives.

Students will be able to reflect on this internship experience and how it relates to their academic and post-Brown life during weekly reflection seminar classes that will also include career skill development sessions that can be directly applied to the internship experience and beyond.

Fall PLCY1823 S01 17391 Arranged (A. Hance)
Spr PLCY1823 S01 25690 Arranged (A. Hance)
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PLCY 1823Z. Gender and Public Policy (POLS 1823Z).

Interested students must register for POLS 1823Z.

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PLCY 1824. Social Change and Building Powerful Organizations.

This course will explore the dynamics and interplay between social entrepreneurship, social change, and policy. Drawing from the instructor’s experience as a co-founder and leader of The Real Food Challenge, an organization that leverages the power of youth and universities to create a healthy, fair, and green food system, students will explore frameworks for social transformation, and whether stable governance and effective policies are necessary for sustainable change.

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PLCY 1824K. The American Welfare State in Comparative Perspective (POLS 1824K).

Interested students must register for POLS 1824K.

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PLCY 1910. Social Entrepreneurship.

This course introduces students to social innovation and social entrepreneurship and engages them in identifying significant issues, problems, tools, strategies and models that drive bold solutions to complex contemporary problems. Enrollment limit is 40. Submit by 5pm on Friday, September 9, 2016 a required application here: You must attend the first class on Thursday, September 8, 2016. Accepted students will be notified on September 12. Students who do not attend the second class on Tuesday, September 13th will forfeit their spot in class.

Fall PLCY1910 S01 16792 TTh 10:30-11:50(13) (A. Harlam)
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PLCY 1970. Independent Reading and Research.

Supervised reading or research. Specific program arranged in terms of the student's individual needs and interests. Section numbers vary by instructor. Please check Banner for the correct section number and CRN to use when registering for this course.

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PLCY 1971. Independent Reading and Research.

See Independent Reading And Research (PPAI 1970) for course description. Section numbers vary by instructor. Please check Banner for the correct section number and CRN to use when registering for this course.

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PLCY 1990. Public Policy Colloquium.

An advanced two-semester research seminar for senior honors candidates in the public policy and American institutions concentration. Participants jointly consider strategies appropriate to researching and writing a senior paper before proceeding to individual research on topics they choose. Each participant is required to present a summary of his or her work to the colloquium.

Fall PLCY1990 S01 16793 W 1:00-4:00(17) (A. Levitas)
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PLCY 1991. Public Policy Colloquium.

See Public Policy Colloquium (PPAI 1990) for course description.

Spr PLCY1991 S01 26159 Arranged (A. Levitas)
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PLCY 2000. Institutions and Policy Making.

Studies how political, social, and economic institutions structure policymaking. Covers a variety of policy areas such as education, health care, technology policy, welfare, and social policy.

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PLCY 2010. Economics and Public Policy.

Examines issues in government spending and tax policy. Conceptual topics include the normative assignment of responsibility with federal systems and the equitable distribution of income. Specific policy applications are covered.

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PLCY 2015. Communications and Public Policy.

This course provides hands on experience for sharpening a variety of communication skills: writing, presentation, audio and visual. The goal of this course is to equip students with a diverse set of communication skills that can be used in a wide variety of settings. We begin by focusing on writing. The second part of the course covers presentation skills – from creating an effective visual representation of your policy to communicating this to a specific audience. For the last part of the course, emphasis will be on audio skills (e.g., podcasts, radio interviews) and constructing short 3 -5 minute videos.

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PLCY 2020. Public Budgeting and Management.

This course is designed to teach the political, theoretical and administrative aspects of contemporary public budgeting and management in the United States. You will examine the central role of budgeting in policy formulation and implementation and come to an understanding of the budget as a statement of competing for political priorities. In addition, the various roles of key institutions in the budgeting process will be studied.

Fall PLCY2020 S01 17513 MW 8:30-9:50(01) (P. Marino)
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PLCY 2030. Statistics.

Covers social and economic statistics and their role in public policy research. Among the topics explored are descriptive and inferential statistics, measurement, sampling, and multivariate analysis. Open to graduate students in Public Policy or Political Science.

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PLCY 2035. Statistics II for Public Policy Analysis.

The course introduces students to the use of multiple regression analysis and causal inference for analyzing data in the social sciences. We will study a variety of designs for empirical public policy analysis, from random assignment to quasi-experimental evaluation methods, and students will have the opportunity to analyze actual datasets. We will also study the strengths and weaknesses of various causal inference strategies.

Please note that students must be present at the first class meeting in order to be have the option to enroll in this course. They must have downloaded Stata 14 (available free of charge through and picked up and registered their iClicker on Canvas (see syllabus for details). Because the class meets once per week and the first assignment will be distributed during the first class, we will be launching directly into substantive material for the course. Week one/meeting one is not only an introduction. It is therefore essential that all students attend beginning from the first class meeting on 9/8/2016.

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PLCY 2040. Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation.

Broad overview of public policy analysis and program evaluation with emphasis on methodological issues involved in the analysis and assessment of government programs. Illustrations are drawn from a variety of substantive policy areas.

Fall PLCY2040 S01 16795 TTh 9:00-10:20(08) (Y. Neggers)
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PLCY 2045. Environmental Policy Analysis.

The first half of the course focuses on the economic principles imbedded in the environmental problems facing local, state, and national societies across the globe. Key concepts include common-pool resources, public goods, market failures, and the valuation of costs and benefits across environmental policies. The second half of the course builds upon the economic foundation through the integration of statistical and financial techniques common in the evaluation and management of environmental policies. Throughout the semester the course will require students to accurately apply these quantitative methods to problem sets and case studies drawn from past and present environmental policy debates.

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PLCY 2050. Program Evaluation.

Designed to equip graduate students with the knowledge and tools needed to become critical consumers of evaluation research and to conduct evaluations of various social programs and policies. Following an introduction to the field of program evaluation, the course will address specific topics including: logic models, process evaluations, experimental and quasi-experimental designs for outcome evaluations, and alternative data sources. Class discussions and assignments will utilize evaluation examples from a variety of substantive policy areas. Prerequisite: PPAI 2030. Open to graduate students only.

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PLCY 2055. The Politics of Policymaking in Comparative Perspective.

This course provides a broad introduction to political forces which policymakers operate. Policymaking and politics are often held as separate spheres. There is a tendency to view politics as something to be recognized and controlled In reality, policymakers are often faced with unavoidable political issues. Issue areas that relate to the political context of policymaking include: Why do some countries have stable institutions while others are subject to frequent regime change? Why do some institutional arrangements facilitate compromise and negotiation, while others impose obstacles to effective governance? Why do some policies privilege certain groups and marginalize others? Is there such a thing as technocratic as opposed to political policymaking?

Fall PLCY2055 S01 17342 M 3:00-5:30(15) (M. Blyth)
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PLCY 2065. Introduction to Data Science and Programming.

We live in the era of data-driven decision making in all aspects of our lives. The features on your iPhone, the images in an ad campaign, even the background colors on many websites are all carefully tested and chosen against their measurable impact on customer satisfaction, purchasing, clicks, or some other goal. In this course, we will be learning to use and apply those same principles to public policy and government programs. Our goal is to equip MPA students with the tools required to set up experiments, gather data, and begin to evaluate and design public policy and government programs.

Fall PLCY2065 S01 17431 Th 4:00-6:30(04) (S. Prasad)
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PLCY 2070. Decision Making.

This course will introduce the central theories, insights, and concerns of social psychology that are most relevant to the way people perceive and respond to public policy issues, political events, and the responses of those who do not share their views, priorities, and preferences.

Spr PLCY2070 S01 26234 TTh 10:00-1:00 (R. McDermott)
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PLCY 2125. Competition, Markets, and Not-For-Profit Organizations.

This is an Economics-based general management course which focuses on both “for-profit” and “not- for-profit” entities. Interdisciplinary in nature, this course draws upon concepts from marketing, statistics, economics, management, and finance.

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PLCY 2140. Politics, Public Policy, and Economic Development in Asia.

It is widely accepted that development is not simply an economic phenomenon. Political processes are intimately tied up with economic development. We will compare and contract the various Asian countries and models of development around themes identified above. The heaviest emphasis will be on China, India and South Korea. Economic policy will be the center of our discussion.

Fall PLCY2140 S01 17432 T 1:30-4:00(03) (A. Varshney)
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PLCY 2150. Strategic Communication.

This course provides students with information and insights about strategic communication and public policy: how effective messages are created and framed, why we respond to messages the way we do, and how to employ communications strategies to advance political and public policy goals. In addition, the course will give students practical experience in writing communications tools including press releases, op-eds, letters to the editor, testimony and short speeches. Through guest lecturers, the course seeks to introduce students to the perspectives of different critical actors in the policymaking process: public officials, media, interest group lobbyists, speechwriters and other professional communicators.

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PLCY 2160. Management and Implementation in Public and Non-Profit Organizations.

How and when can organizational leaders and staff become engines of policy and social change? How do the policies that elected officials, courts, and bureaucrats promulgate get put into practice? What affects whether those policies get put into practice? What affects whether those policies produce expected changes? This course is designed to help students identify and manage core challenges facing policy development, implementation, and sustainment in public organizations.

Spr PLCY2160 S01 26168 MW 3:00-6:00 (K. Wong)
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PLCY 2170. Leadership and Organization.

Leadership is an integral part of-and integral to-the policy process. Teaches students how to lead policy organizations effectively and efficiently, giving them the knowledge and skills necessary to conceive, sell, and implement policy. A review of effective leadership gleaned from historical and contemporary examples serves as a reservoir of knowledge from which students will draw throughout their careers.

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PLCY 2230. Skills for Future Diplomats.

Future diplomats, whether they work for governments, corporations or non­profit entities, will find new opportunities and face new challenges in promoting their international goals. They will work in a world where power is more dispersed, where players other than governments have a major role, where issues and organizations are social, cultural, regional and global rather than the sole responsibility of nation states, and where scientific and technological innovations are constantly changing the agenda and paths to influence. This course will introduce students to some of the issues and practices that will prevail as they seek to influence governments and societies.

Fall PLCY2230 S01 17062 F 9:00-11:30(01) (R. Boucher)
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PLCY 2300. Educational Policy: Perspectives from Developing Countries.

This graduate-level course will examine substantive education policy issues from a developing country perspective. It also provides advanced training in the tools and methods for conducting impact evaluations of educational policies and programs within the context of developing countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa. Prior coursework in statistics and/or econometrics as well as microeconomics is required. Enrollment limited to 20 graduate students. Instructor permission required.

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PLCY 2350. Thinking, Planning and Acting Strategically.

This course will focus on the strategic trends and issues which impact the public and nonprofit sectors and the role of strategic planning and strategic thinking as fundamental tools of public and nonprofit institutions to build high performance organizations, increase the value of their programs and services and enhance problem-solving. This course has been designed to support students in acquiring a mastery of practical skills in strategic planning and strategic thinking.

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PLCY 2400. Cost Benefit Analysis.

An introduction to the theory and practice of cost-benefit analysis (CBA). Topics include valuation of cost and benefits in primary and secondary markets, discounting, existence values, contingent evaluation, sensitivity analyses, and ethical considerations. The course examines federal and state guidelines regarding CBA and the application of CBA in these contexts via case studies. Prerequisites: PLCY 2010 and 2030. Open to MPA and MPP students in PLCY.

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PLCY 2445. Introduction to Public Policy.

The critical issues addressed in public policymaking involve political and moral choices, along with analytic and administrative aspects. Introduction to Public Policy has long been a signature course of the Brown program in public policy in part because this is where those choices—and the core values of public service and good governance informing them—are confronted most directly.

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PLCY 2450. Exchange Scholar Program.

Fall PLCY2450 S01 15022 Arranged 'To Be Arranged'
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PLCY 2455. Statistics for Public Policy.

Covers social and economic statistics and their role in public policy research. Among the topics explored are descriptive and inferential statistics, measurement, sampling, and multivariate analysis.

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PLCY 2460. Economics for Public Policy.

Examines issues in government spending and tax policy. Conceptual topics include the normative assignment of responsibility with federal systems and the equitable distribution of income. Specific policy applications are covered.

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PLCY 2465. Financial Management For Public, Health, and Not-for-Profit Organizations.

This course focuses on financial aspects of not-for-profit organizations. The objectives of this course include helping students (1) learn the basics of not-for-profit accounting and the construction of their financial reports, (2) become more intelligent users of the financial statements of nonprofit organizations such as private colleges, hospitals, charities, and cultural institutions and (3) better understand the factors that affect the financial condition and financial performance of such entities.

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PLCY 2475. Social Justice and Advocacy: Strategies for Change.

This course examines efforts that work toward social justice in contemporary political and social life. The class begins by evaluating different perspectives on how to define social justice. We consider the special challenges involved in defining social justice across borders or in diverse communities. We then examine strategies and channels used to promote social change.

Spr PLCY2475 S01 26033 W 8:30-11:30 (M. Weir)
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PLCY 2540. Urban Economic Policy.

This course will introduce students to the economic analysis of urban policy. We will use economic theory to analyze why cities exist, where they develop, how they grow, and how activities are spatially arranged within urban areas. As we ask each of these questions, we will examine how public policy can influence the outcome and review empirical evidence. As time allows, we will also examine the economics of poverty, housing, and other issues within the urban context. Prerequisite: PLCY 2010 or instructor permission.

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PLCY 2545. An Introduction to Public Finance in Multilevel Democracies.

This course will introduce students to the fundamental political, institutional, and technical issues associated with sub-national governance and public finance reform multilevel democracies. The course requires no prior experience with either intergovernmental finance or fiscal issues. Its central purpose is to explore how politics and policy shape the way responsibility for regulating, financing, and managing public services get defined and divvied up between levels of government in both federal and unitary states.

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PLCY 2550. Managing and Leading in Public Affairs.

Examines issues related to leading and managing in the realm of public affairs, covering foundation topics such as: honor, ethics, and accountability; management and organizational theory; organizational behavior; managerialism, performance, and strategic management; leadership; personnel management and social equity. Examining tools for effective relationship and networking building, cases will be used to apply concepts learned.

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PLCY 2555. Environmental Policy, From the Ground Up.

The seminar will examine selected environmental issues at local, national and international (especially Global South) levels which are at the center of widespread public concern. We will give critical consideration to some of the key ideas, concepts, discourses and approaches underlying public solutions to those concerns. The seminar will draw on literature and concepts from the fields of public policy and administration, science and technology studies, feminist theory, Africana Studies, and indigenous knowledge systems, as well as on practitioners’ knowledge.

Fall PLCY2555 S01 17307 W 3:00-5:30(17) (G. Augusto)
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PLCY 2600. Social Science Data Technologies.

Covers the applied use of data sources and computer software programs. Its goals are to teach students how to use common software packages and access policy-relevant data.

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PLCY 2650. Congress and the Federal Budget: Procedure, Politics and Public Policy.

Focus is on the federal budget process, political interactions, and public policy outcomes. The budget represents nearly one-quarter of GDP making those decisions central to the functioning of our democracy and the health of our economy. Emphasis is on the Congressional budget process, appropriations process, and revenue decision-making because the Constitution establishes Congress as the guardian of the nation's purse strings.

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PLCY 2655. Regulation and Compliance.

This course is designed to prepare students for work in heavily regulated policy arenas (which is pretty much all of them). You will receive training in the disciplines necessary to design regulations, evaluate compliance options, and generate regulatory analyses that policymakers will find persuasive. This is a practitioner’s course. As such, it is first and foremost a quantitative class. Familiarity with the basic concepts of microeconomics and statistics is assumed.

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PLCY 2660. Political Advocacy: Interest Groups, Lobbying and Political Influence in the U.S..

Will examine political advocacy by interest groups in the Americal political system. We will review theoretical and empirical research on how groups mobilize, interact with one another, and seek to influence electoral politics and policymaking. Throughout the course, we will ask whether organized interests facilitate or undermine the process of democratic politics. Prerequisite: PLCY 2000. Enrollment limited to 20 graduate students in Public Policy.

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PLCY 2665. Corruption in Politics and Policy-Making.

Corruption can distort the behavior of both elected politicians and appointed bureaucrats. In this course, we study how—within a democracy—corruption affects who is elected and appointed to government, what policies they pursue, and how those policies are implemented. Empirical examples are drawn from the US and Europe historically and from the present-day developing world. Enrollment limited to 20 graduate students in Political Science and Public Policy.

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PLCY 2675. Science and Technology Policy in the Global South.

Using both theoretical ideas and empirical examples, this seminar will explore the relationships among science, technology, society, and public policymaking in the Global South, in places where local science and global science often collaborate and sometimes clash. The class will investigate, from a variety of perspectives, how the governance of science and technology in various parts of the Global South is influenced by their past experiences, forms of public science organization, systems of knowledge, civic epistemologies and regulatory frameworks and strategic agendas for development, as well as the knowledge claims and concerns of social movements, and tensions in power and social relations.

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PLCY 2700. Advanced Organizational and Management Strategies.

This discussion-intensive graduate-level seminar focuses on a wide range of contemporary theories and practices in organizational and management strategies. Topics include organizational structure and design, communication, culture and diversity, change management, stakeholder relations, long-term strategic planning, as well as workforce development and leadership identification, development and succession strategies. Course assignments include team-developed reports and oral presentations. Enrollment limited to 18 Public Policy graduate students and junior and senior Public Policy concentrators; other students by instructor permission.

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PLCY 2705. Leadership.

This course will examine both the theoretical and practical aspects of leadership. We will begin by gathering information about the different aspects of leadership; gain an understanding of the varying approaches successful leaders have taken; and, raise and discuss moral and ethical questions about the roles of leaders. Throughout the course, you will have the opportunity to interact with leaders in the community as you discover and hone your leadership style.

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PLCY 2710. GIS and Public Policy.

This seminar presents an introduction to the theory and practice of social science Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as applied to public policy analysis. We will cover a variety of topics, such as the geographical basis of policy issues, spatial mapping, and use of ArcGIS software to study a wide range of policy issues. The course will involve discussions, hands-on computer laboratory exercises, take-home problem sets and a Practical Exam.

The goals of the class are: 1) learning how to use GIS software and techniques, 2) database development and editing 3) spatial modeling techniques, and 4) using GIS to study policy issues.

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PLCY 2715. Education Governance in Comparative Perspective.

This course will examine some of the governance issues associated with these trends by pairing critical readings with case studies. We will begin by surveying the historical relationship between how education gets defined as a public good, and systems of finance and governance. We will then examine the very particular trajectory of school governance and finance in America.

Course Goals: Robust understanding of how the competing, and hard-to-measure objectives (e.g. civic virtue, economic competitiveness, equal opportunity, personal growth) that people invest in schooling shape how education is defined as public good, and how it is governed and finance.

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PLCY 2720. Design, Governance and Urban Futures.

Design, Governance and Urban Futures examines ways of thinking differently about our urban future, from the perspective of public policy. Integrating some of the basic elements of the design process and systems thinking into the policy making process, this course defines a new toolkit for decision making and leadership in government. With a double focus on global and local urban topics, this course offers a hands-on approach to how thinking in design is slowly becoming a must-have skill for those shaping our cities at a time when large scale problems have never been more complex, elusive, and disorienting.

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PLCY 2725. Smart Policy.

The purpose of this course is two-fold. Students will read, analyze and understand the current research literature in the behavioral economics of policy reform. Second, they will continue themes and projects started in the RIIPL Smart Policy Consultancies, and use data collected as well as the RIIPL database to design a Smart Policy Innovation and a test of that innovation. Smart Policy Innovations will be considered for the RIIPL Smart Policy Fellowship for 2016-2017.

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PLCY 2730. The Political Economy of Hard Policy Problems.

This class tackles the “hard problems” of public policy. While governments are cajoled and enjoined to produce economic growth, do something about economic inequality and social mobility, and improve the life chances of millions through purposive action, actually delivering in these areas of policy is incredibly hard. These areas constitute ‘“hard problems” for policy for two main reasons. Economically, we don’t have much of a clue about how to do many of these things. Politically, there are powerful interests and entrenched ideas that like these areas of policy just as they are and work hard to keep them “hard problems.”

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PLCY 2750. Mediation, Negotiation, and Arbitration Strategies.

This graduate-level seminar is a synthesis of negotiation, arbitration, and mediation theories and practices as applied to public policy professionals. Course topics include interagency negotiation and cooperation, professional and workplace negotiations, agreements in legislative and advocacy environments, using non-governmental bargaining partners, role of government regulators, and international and cross-cultural agreements. Emphasis on analysis of ethical issues and strategies in the planning, formulation, and implementation of negotiated agreements. Enrollment limited to 16. Instructor permission required.

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PLCY 2755. Ethical Issues in Policy Analysis.

A greater understanding of the moral dimensions of public policy can improve the assessment of policy alternatives. Course begins with a brief overview of various ethical theories, with particular attention given to distributive justice and utilitarianism. Uses a variety of domestic policy case studies to identify and examine the role of ethics in policy analysis and policy choice. The latter part of the course will discuss the ethical conduct and responsibilities of policy professionals. Open to graduate students only.

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PLCY 2765. System Dynamics: Policy Analysis for a Complex World.

The course studies why so many public policy problems are challenging and often lead to disappointing results or outright failure. Students learn to conceptualize a social problem as a set of structures and policies that create dynamics and govern performance. The course introduces the tools of system dynamics for modeling and analyzing public policy. Using role playing games, simulation models, and management flight simulators, we develop insights essential to managing in a world characterized by dynamic complexity. Case studies include applications of system dynamics in healthcare, environmental policy, project management, and implementation of improvement programs.

Spr PLCY2765 S01 26034 T 4:00-7:00 (E. Patashnik)
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PLCY 2775. U.S. Foreign Policy: The Institutional Basis.

This course will examine the institutions that influence American foreign and development policy. Institutions provide the organizational framework, rules and social structures that in turn impact on the policy positions of those who are part of them. The agencies and bureaus that make up the national security cluster have both professional expertise and bureaucratic qualities. We will delve deeply into these entities to understand better their jurisdictional authorities and professional perspectives. We will use case studies and roll playing exercises to enhance understanding of these orientations and their impact on the policy process.

Spr PLCY2775 S01 26152 F 12:00-3:00 (J. Atwood)
Spr PLCY2775 S01 26152 M 10:00-1:00 (J. Atwood)
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PLCY 2780. Food Policy.

This course focuses mostly on domestic food policy, and will build on the conceptual framework of an interconnected food system, which underpins the movement of food from farm to table and back into the ground. We will consider stakeholders involved in the food system and the multiple, at times competing, factors that influence decision-making in this sphere, including economic interests, public health, environment/sustainability, and sociocultural. What are the forces shaping US food policy, politics, and the food environment in the 21st century?

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PLCY 2800. Policy in Action Consultancy.

The Policy in Action experience is designed to provide a rigorous and practical immersion with a client in a domestic or global community-based or institutional setting. The consultancy focuses on experiential learning and creative problem solving. Real world, complex contemporary problems are addressed, policy and practice-based solutions explored, strategies identified and future approaches recommended. Students conduct research to understand contemporary problems and issues and develop policy and practice-related solutions to address these issues and/or enhance an organization’s capacity.

Spr PLCY2800 S01 25691 Arranged (W. Allen)
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PLCY 2900. Research Workshop.

Group research projects centering on topics organized by the instructor. Students will be organized into small teams that will undertake research projects such as policy analysis, evaluation studies, organizational assessments, or data projects. Results of these projects will be presented in the seminar.

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PLCY 2980. Graduate Independent Study.

Please check Banner for the correct section number and CRN to use when registering for this course.


Eric M. Patashnik


Eric M. Patashnik
Julis-Rabinowitz Professor of Public Policy and Political Science


Marc J. Dunkelman
Fellow in International and Public Affairs

Public Policy

Housed in the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, the public policy concentration is dedicated to the study of health care and social welfare policy, education policy, urban policy, law and criminal justice, and media and technology. Public policy refers to societal initiatives to remedy social problems. Because social problems typically emerge from complex, multi-faceted social conditions, the study of public policy requires students to become familiar with the insights of diverse academic disciplines into how institutions facilitate or inhibit societal problem-solving. The study of public policy is an excellent framework for integrating ideas drawn from several disciplines around issues of real world significance. Concentrators with a particular interest in such applications should consider the Engaged Scholars Program. All concentrators emerge with a sound understanding of institutional change and are well-equipped to contribute to processes of social change.  

Required Courses: 

Core Courses:
PLCY 0100Introduction to Public Policy1
Ethics and Public Policy1
Ethics and Public Policy
Good Government
Economics for Public Policy1
Intermediate Microeconomics
Intermediate Microeconomics (Mathematical)
Economics of Education I
Statistics for Public Policy1
Political Research Methods
Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods
Introduction to Econometrics
Econometrics I
Introductory Statistics for Social Research
Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation1
Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation
Evaluating the Impact of Social Programs
Elective Courses: 1, 2
Three Broad Elective Courses: May be taken in any policy area3
Two more electives in one of the areas you have already studied2
Sample electives may include the following:
Health Policy
Comparative Health Care Systems
Emergency Medical Systems: An Anatomy of Critical Performance
Case Studies in Public Health: The Role of Governments, Communities and Professions
Health Policy Challenges
Technology Policy
Cybersecurity and International Relations
GIS and Public Policy
Technology and International Politics
Science and Technology Policy in the Global South
Environmental Policy
Environmental Economics and Policy
Environmental Law and Policy
From Locke to Deep Ecology: Property Rights and Environmental Policy
Urban Agriculture: The Importance of Localized Food Systems
Current Topics in Environmental Health
Governance, Law, and Ethics
State and Local Government
Congressional Leadership, Parties and Public Policy
City Politics
Topics in American Constitutional Law
Social Policy
Welfare Economics and Social Choice Theory
Social Welfare Policy in the United States
Policies Affecting Working Families
Juvenile Justice Institutions and Policy
Human Needs and Social Services
Urban Policy
Urbanization in China
Urban Policy Challenges: Spatial Inequality in Metropolitan America
Urban Revitalization: Lessons from the Providence Plan
Comparative Development
Housing and Homelessness
Modes of Social Change
Nonprofit Organizations
Leading Social Ventures - Social Entrepreneurship in Action
Investigating Modes of Social Change
Social Entrepreneurship
Investing in Social Change
Senior Capstone1
Total Credits11

 Two of the five elective courses must have a primary listing in Public Policy. One of the five must be designated as a writing course.


 One elective must be focused on global issues


Candidates for honors should apply in the Spring term of their third year. Successful candidates will enroll in the Public Policy Colloquium and prepare a senior honors paper.

Public Affairs and Public Policy

The Brown MPA - Change the World

The Brown Master of Public Affairs (MPA) at the Watson Institute is a one-year (summer – fall – spring) full-time program that provides students with the analytical foundation and management tools they need to tackle the policy problems of today. The program prepares students for careers spanning public service, all levels of government, NGOs, foundations, and the private sector.

Our unique, accelerated program offers:

  • Small class size and engaged faculty composed of world-renowned researchers and experienced practitioners
  • An interdisciplinary curriculum - take advantage of course offerings across the University
  • A two-week international policy immersion experience
  • A 12-week consultancy that ensures students are career-ready

For more information on admission and program requirements, please visit the following website:

Required Courses
Summer Sequence I ( 4 Weeks)
Economics and Public Policy
Summer Sequence 2 (4 Weeks)
Introduction to Public Policy
Communications and Public Policy
Global Policy Experience (2 Weeks)
Fall Semester (Regular Semester)
Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation
Management and Implementation in Public and Non-Profit Organizations
Specialization Elective 1
Specialization Elective 2
Spring Sequence 1 (12 Weeks)
Policy in Action Consultancy
Spring Sequence 2 (7 Weeks)
Financial Management For Public, Health, and Not-for-Profit Organizations
Social Justice and Advocacy: Strategies for Change
System Dynamics: Policy Analysis for a Complex World
Specialization Elective 3

Dual Degree Program: Master of Public Health (MPH) and Master of Public Affairs (MPA)

The School of Public Health and the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs  also offer a dual-degree Master of Public Health (MPH) and Master of Public Affairs (MPA) program.  Emphasizing a learning by doing approach, this rigorous, program will offer highly qualified applicants the opportunity to gain training in public health and public policy to prepare them to address the critical health policy issues in the United States and throughout the world.  The dual-degree degree program includes 19 courses as well as a Masters level thesis.  Students will benefit from the rich academic resources at the Watson Institute and the School of Public Health, as well as their extensive applied learning programs in Rhode Island, as well as throughout the United States and the world.

Interested students should apply separately to the MPH and MPA program. Applicants will indicate interest in the joint degree program on the application form. 

For more information on admission to the MPH program and it's requirements, please visit the following website: