Personal tools

Course Outline


Setting the scene for Policy Analysis

Download Course Brochure

What Policy Analysts really do

  An introduction to the seminar, welcoming of participants, and discussion of key issues facing contemporary policy analysts:
  • The role of policy analysis in society
  • Where policy analysts are employed
  • How policy analysts contribute to public decision-making
  • Formal and informal requirements for the policy analyst
  • Key relations of the policy analyst
  • The challenges that impede effective policy analysis
  • Managing your career as a policy analyst

What governments do

  An overview of the policy tools available to governments and why they use them:
  • The role of government in society
  • The importance of cooperation and coordination without coercion
  • The range of policy instruments governments use
  • The increasing complexity of issues facing societies and governments

Performing effective market analysis


An introduction to consumer choice, firm behaviour, and market processes, and an explanation for why policy analysts need to know about these things:

  • Why markets are viewed as primary allocative devices in society
  • The demand side of the market
  • The supply side of the market
  • Equilibrium in markets
  • Price signalling and interconnected markets

Market failure

  A discussion of key limitations of markets and appropriate policy responses:
  • Information asymmetries
  • Externalities
  • Public goods
  • Natural monopolies
  • Social equity concerns

Government failure


Why policy responses to problems can sometimes end up creating new sets of problems, and how to avoid that possibility:

  • The coordination role of government
  • The tendency for government to manage processes that fall into the “too hard” basket of other social institutions
  • Non-market counterparts to market failure
  • Concerns about abuse of power, undue influence, poor mechanism design, and technological lock-in
  • Path dependency and its relevance

Problem definition


A review of approaches to defining problems and proposing solutions. The definition of policy problems is never straight forward and one person’s solution will often turn out to be another person’s problem:

  • Social conditions versus policy problems
  • Intuitive approaches to problem definition and generation of solutions
  • Rational approaches and the use of frameworks
  • Considering unintended consequences
  • The “sensemaking” approach
  • Politics, agendas, and policy choice

Applying strategies for Policy Analysis


Cost-benefit analysis


How to use cost benefit analysis to determine the merits and relative merits of policy alternatives:

  • The central place of cost benefit analysis in policy analysis
  • The identification of negative and positive effects of a policy
  • Methods for estimating the costs and benefits of policy impacts
  • Methods for discounting future streams of costs and benefits
  • How analysts approach issues of human life and the quality of life

Comparative institutional analysis


An overview of a technique for comparing actual structural arrangements and drawing lessons from the analysis:

  • The merits of thinking comparatively
  • The importance of learning from practice
  • The dangers of superficial comparison
  • The practical value of good theory
  • How to conduct effective lesson-drawing work
  • How to make comparisons across time and across space

Implementation analysis


How implementation analysis can improve policy design and increase the likelihood that policies will have their intended effects:

  • The importance of successful implementation to policy work
  • How individuals and organisations interpret and re-interpret policy
  • How to assess possible barriers to effective implementation
  • The merits of sequence mapping and scenario writing
  • The distinction between theory failure and implementation failure

Developing policy reports and giving advice


An overview of issues that emerge when determining effective ways to communicate with your primary client and with other relevant stakeholders:

  • The importance of clarifying audience needs
  • How to structure a policy report
  • How to make effective use of evidence
  • How to use presentational tools, including goals/alternatives matrices
  • How to develop and present policy recommendations
  • How to developing oral briefings and presentations

Continuing to develop as a policy analyst


A discussion of ways that policy analysts can continue to build their knowledge, experience, and skills to become excellent practitioners in their field:

  • Tools and techniques in staying positive
  • Thinking creatively
  • Learning through deliberate practice
  • Leading change
Keep updated with the latest news and happenings  Follow us on Linkedin  Follow us on Twitter  Featured speaker presentations  Watch event highlights and exclusive interviews  Google+  Flickr-Informa Australia