This course will introduce students to quantitative and qualitative methods for studying social policy problems. Topics to be covered include case study methods, sampling, survey techniques, simple and multiple regression, and experimental methodologies. The emphasis will be on the practical application of these models, rather than with formal proofs. Students will critically analyze selected research in a range of policy areas and skills will be reinforced by hands-on exercises using statistical software. The overall goal is that students become adept at selecting and applying the appropriate methodology for addressing a specific policy question, and at critically evaluating conference papers and policy reports. 1.5 credits.
Economic Perspectives on Social Policy
In this course, students are provided with the analytical skills needed to examine social policy problems from an economics perspective. Topics covered include supply and demand analysis; the theory of individual choice; the efficiency and equity impacts of policy tools such as taxes, subsidies, and regulation, and of social policy interventions in the areas of welfare, education, and the labor market. 1.5 credits.
Politics and Social Policy Design
This course will examine how political factors influence social policy design. Topics covered include agenda setting, policy formation, and implementation; how institutional factors such as federalism shape policy; the character of target populations in framing policy goals; and the role of ideas in defining policy problems. 1.5 credits.
The Social Context of Policy Implementation
This course will focus on one or more specific policies implemented at either the state or national level that incorporates a process evaluation and/or a mixed methods design. 1.5 credits.
In this seminar, students will learn how to communicate effectively in the public policy world. Students will summarize and critically evaluate technical and non-technical writing; complete writing assignments including policy briefs, op-eds, and grant proposals; and give oral presentations and speeches designed to appeal to different audiences. 3 credits.