Logo of Maastricht Summer School

Public Policy Process

Maastricht Summer School
Netherlands, Maastricht
Maastricht Summer School Netherlands, Bonnefantenstraat 2, 6211 KL Maastricht, The Netherlands
Tuition fee €299 one-time
More information



Course Description
The world of policy and politics, governance and government can be murky with seemingly transparent and tangled connections. Who gets to define the agenda, what type of policy will come to the fore, and who is accountable? This course sheds light on some of these concepts using the work of respected authors in the field. It allows learners to understand how a critical analytic and descriptive framework can help understand who is involved in the policy process, how it operates, and ultimately leads to a discussion about who is accountable. The answers to these questions help lay a solid foundation for further exploration of policy analysis and formation in other courses.
The course is divided into four units. The first unit serves as an introduction to public policy. The second unit introduces in detail the structure of the public policy cycle as defined by Paul Cairney. Unit three is dedicated to the actors in the policy arena and their decision-making process. Finally, unit four introduces the topics of accountability and policy evaluation.

• Understand the distinction between policy and politics, government, and governance.
• Understand how the national political discourse affects policymaking and decision-making.
• Understand the stages of the policy cycle and their interactions.
• Be able to think critically about the actors in the policymaking process in their own country and the influences and motivations they may have in the policy process.
• Be able to distinguish between outputs and outcomes, monitoring and evaluation.
• Understand the importance and relevance of the policy process and all stages of the policy cycle, thereby laying an important foundation for the next course on the techniques for monitoring and evaluation.
• Overall, the student should be able to critically reflect on the literature provided and be able to distil this knowledge into their own country context.

Recommended Literature
Paul Cairney, Understanding Public Policy: Theories and Issues, 2nd Edition, Red Globe Press (2011). Chapter 3

Christopher Bryant, « Government versus Governance: structure versus process », EchoGéo [Online], 43 | 2018, Online since 22 March 2018, connection on 04 May 2019. journals.openedition.org/echogeo/152888

Rodrik, Dani. 2018. “Is Populism Necessarily Bad Economics?” AEA Papers and Proceedings, 108():196-99.

Michael Hill, The Public Policy Process, 6th Edition, Routledge (2013), Chapter 9

John L. Campbell, Ideas, Politics, and Public Policy, Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 28 (2002), pp. 21-38. www.jstor.org/stable/3069233

Buse, Kent, Mays, Nicholas, Walt, Gill, Making Health Policy, McGraw-Hill Education (UK),2012, Chapter 2

Charles E. Lindblom, The intelligence of Democracy: Decision-Making through Mutual Adjustment (New York: The Free Press, 1965), pp. 21-84).

Suresh Chandra Babu, Smita Aggarwal, Junjie Chen, Role of Media in Shaping the Policy Process, IFPRI Discussion Paper 01651 (June 2017)

Amitai Etzioni, Mixed-Scanning: A “Third” Approach to Decision-Making, Public Administration Review, Vol. 27, No. 5 (1967), pp. 385-392
Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page. Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens, 2014.

John W. Kingdon, Agendas, alternatives, and public policies, Little, Brown, 1984, chapters 1-3

Thomas R. Dye, Understanding Public Policy, 2013. Chapter 3

Michael Hill, The Public Policy Process, Pearson (2013). Chapters 9, 11, and 13.

Sebastiaan Princen, Agenda Setting (Chapter 5), from Lelieveldt and Princen, The Politics of the European Union, Cambridge University Press (2011).

Gertler, Paul J.; Martinez, Sebastian; Premand, Patrick; Rawlings, Laura B.; Vermeersch, Christel M. J. 2016. Impact Evaluation in Practice, Second Edition. Washington, DC: Inter-American Development Bank and World Bank. © World Bank. openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/25030 License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.

Binnendijk, A. (2000). Results based management in the development cooperation agencies: a review of experience. Background report, DAC Working Party on Aid Evaluation.

Teaching Methods
Assignments, Lectures, PBL

Assessment Methods
Assignment, Attendance, Oral exam, Participation

Course Coordinator

Apply now! Maastricht Summer School 2023/24
Application deadline
28 Jul 2024, 23:59:59
Central European Time
Studies commence
5 Aug 2024
Apply now! Maastricht Summer School 2023/24
Application deadline
28 Jul 2024, 23:59:59
Central European Time
Studies commence
5 Aug 2024