Policy Analysis in Practice
Successful policy analysis in real-world settings is far more than being able to analyze data, run regressions, use optimization models, or identify market failures. It involves:
The course is designed to teach you how to carry out all of these tasks successfully. You will learn a systematic multi-step process for conducting policy analyses on realistic policy problems. You will gain experience in applying that process to a variety of different policy problems through both class discussions and assignments. The examples used will primarily be based on real-world cases, with all the complexity that implies. The course will also improve your understanding of how public policies are actually developed, analyzed, and implemented in the real world, and it will show you how the work that policy analysts do can help to improve this process and lead to more effective policies and programs.
The focus of the course will be on how to analyze new policy problems and issues, not how to evaluate existing or past programs. Although we will review the results of some policies and programs that have been developed in the past, the primary goal of that will be to apply lessons from those experiences in analyzing new problems and developing policies to address them.
Statistics, econometrics, operations research, financial analysis, and other sophisticated analytical tools are taught in depth in many other courses at the Heinz College and elsewhere at Carnegie Mellon, and you will not learn more of these types of methodologies in this course. Instead, this course should complement those other courses by helping you understand when and how to apply analytic methodologies effectively in addressing real world problems. In addition, the course will demonstrate approaches to analysis that can be used when data or time are insufficient to allow use of complex methods, as is often the case in many policy analysis roles.
If you successfully complete this course, you will:
This course is designed for students in the Master of Science in Public Policy and Management program who have skills equivalent to what is taught in the School’s core courses in economic analysis, statistical methods, management science, financial analysis, organizational design, policy and politics, and professional writing. In addition, an understanding of American government institutions and programs will be necessary in order for a student to participate effectively in the class discussions and to successfully complete the assignments.