Top » Teaching » 2023 Introduction to Policy-making Processes

Introduction to Policy Process Analysis (2023)

Fall Semester, Wednesdays, 9.00-10.40 Room 310J

This course provides an introduction to theoretical frameworks for analyzing policy processes. It starts with an overview of canonical theories on policy processes, such as problem definition, incrementalism, agenda setting, implementation, and bureaucracy. We will also discuss the influence of cultural and institutional contexts and the role of knowledge in the policy process. This course will also cover recent trends, such as policy networks, advocacy coalition, policy transfer, and deliberative democracy. The course will discuss the practice of policy-making in Japan as well. The course is structured around pre-class readings and in-class discussions. Students are asked to present a synthesized summary of their assigned readings in the class.

Each student should read these reading materials before the class and be able to discuss his or her lessons from reading them. One of the students will be assigned to provide a short summary (20 min.) of the material at the beginning of each class. Students are then asked to discuss how the lessons can be applied to analyzing various instances of policy-making in recent years.


Reading materials will be provided to each enrolled student at the beginning of the course in the PDF format.

Schedule (TBD)






Lindblom, C. (1959). The Science of "Muddling Through", Public Administration Review, 19 (2), pp. 79-88 and Lindblom, C. (1979) "Still muddling, not yet through," Public Administration Review, 39, pp. 517–526.


Path dependence

David, P. (1985) Clio and the Economics of QWERTY, The American Economic Review, 75(2), pp. 332-337.


Agenda setting

Kingdon, J. (1995). Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies (2nd Ed.). New York, NY: Addison-Wesley. Chapter 9.


Problem definition

Stone, D. (1988). Policy Paradox: the art of political decision making. New York, NY: W.W. Norton. Chapter 6.


Institutions (1)

Argyris, C. (1992). On Organizational Learning. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell. Chapter 1.


Institutions (2)

Ostrom, E. (1990). Governing the Commons. New York, NY: Univ. of Cambridge. Chapter 3.


Policy transfer and lesson drawing

Dolowitz, D. and Marsh, D. (2000). Learning from Abroad: The Role of Policy Transfer in Contemporary Policy-Making, Governance, 13(1), pp. 5-23.;

Rose, R. (1991). What is Lesson-Drawing, Journal of Public Policy, 11, pp. 3-30.


Scientific advice

Stirling, A. (2010). Keep it complex. Nature 468, pp. 1029–1031;

Pielke, R. (2007). The Honest Broker: Making sense of science in policy and politics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Chapter 2.


Science policy

Funtowicz, S. and Ravetz, J. (1993). Science for the Post-Normal Age, Futures, 25(7), pp. 739–755.


Japanese policy processes

Freeman, L. A. (2000). Closing the Shop: Information cartels and Japan's Mass Media. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press. Chapter 3;

Schwartz, F. and Pharr, S. (eds.) (2003). The State of Civil Society in Japan. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Introduction.


Public participation

Arnstein, S (1969). A Ladder of Citizen Participation. Journal of the American Institute of Planners, 35, pp.216-224;

Peattie, L. (1968). Reflections on Advocacy Planning, Journal of the American Planning Association, 34 (2), pp. 80–88;

Carpenter, S. L., & Kennedy, W. J. D. (1988). Managing Public Disputes: A practical guide to handling conflict and reaching agreements. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Chapter 2 [no need to review the case descriptions]


Deliberative democracy

Guttman, A. and Thompson, D. (1996). Democracy and Disagreement. Cambridge, MA: Belknap. Chapter 2;

Reich, R. (ed.) (1988). The Power of Public Ideas. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Chapter 6.






Class participation 30%, Short quiz in each class 30%, Final essay (5 pages, single spaced) 40%