George Mason University 1997-98 Catalog Catalog Index
Course Descriptions

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Public Policy Courses (PUBP)


The Institute of Public Policy

550 Topics in Public Policy (1-3:3:0). Selected topics in public policy not covered in fixed-content public policy courses.

601 Theory and Practice of Regional Economic Development (3:3:0). A focus on traditional theories of economic development (economic base, growth pole, infrastructure investment, location theory, central place theory) as well as nontraditional perspectives, emphasizing application of theory to practice through case studies.

602 Regional Economic Development and Technology (3:3:0). Introduction to the role of technology in economic development policy and practice. Examination of the processes of technological development and change in enterprises and collaboration among industry, government, and academic institutions through case studies.

701 Analysis for Public Decision Making (3:3:0). Prerequisite: PUBP 560 or equivalent. Course includes cost/benefit and cost/effectiveness analysis, as well as constrained optimization.

702 Advanced Statistical Methods in Policy Research (3:3:0). Prerequisite: PUBP 561 or equivalent. An introduction to some of the most popular quantitative approaches to management with a focus on economic analysis and decision making. Examination of the principles and applications of several quantitative techniques, noting especially the opportunities for their use in public policy analysis.

703 Multivariate Data Analysis in Public Policy (3:3:0). Prerequisite: PUBP 561 or equivalent. Course explores multivariate techniques of contingency table analysis, reliability and validity assessment, factor analysis and scaling, multivariate regression and analysis, and the analysis of variance and covariance. Emphasis is on applying multivariate techniques to real social science databases using sophisticated statistical packages.

704 Managerial Economics and Policy Analysis (3:3:0). Prerequisiste: PUBP 560 or equivalent. A focus on the application of microeconomics theory in analyzing public policy issues. Course is intended to provide the student with the capability to understand economic literature and theories.

705 Rational Choice and Uncertainty: Modeling Judgement (3:3:0). An introduction to the basics of decision analysis. Examination of quantitative modeling of judgement to aid evaluation of perplexing or controversial options involving conflicting objectives or uncertain outcomes. Course includes assessing uncertainty about events and quantities, directly and indirectly; changing uncertainty in the light of new evidence; gathering information before making a decision; and combining alternative ways of making the same judgement. Application to public policy, personal, legal, medical, and other decisions.

706 Environmental Decisions: Modeling Rational Judgement (3:3:0). Prerequisite: PUBP 705. Course discusses decision aids for environmental or other policy makers to make and defend decisions soundly and economically. Integrates public policy and environmental science with decision analysis; i.e., prescriptive models that quantify the knowledge and values a person or institution does (or should) bring to bear on a decision. Simple aids, based on decision theory, are applied to real consulting cases.

710 Topics in Public Management and Policy (1-3:3:0). Taught in workshop style. Most class meetings will involve an initial presentation by the professors or visiting speakers, followed by a one-hour forum exploring the implications of the presentation for leadership in contemporary society. Presentations range from disciplinary perspectives on leadership to the examination of different leadership styles. The workshop explores diverse aspects of leadership, especially as it applies to regional economic development. The course is highly interactive and involves regular participation by several faculty and students.

740 Topics in Public Policy: Science and Technology (1-3:3:0). Selected topics in public policy not covered by fixed-content public policy courses. Selected topics relate to science and technology.

770 Topics in Regional and Urban Development Policy (1-3:3:0). Seminar exploring the concept of leadership and institutional development in regional economic development. The first part involves presentations by faculty members on conceptual, theoretical, and methodological traditions regarding leadership and institutional development. The last part focuses specifically on the issue of leadership in the context of regional economic development.

780 Evolution of the Washington Metropolitan Economy (3:3:0). Exploration of the evolution and future of the Washington metropolitan area economy, its historical context, the role of federal spending, tourism, the technology sector, international business, regional organizations, local government policies, and forecasts. Evaluation of the development patterns in the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia, and Suburban Maryland.

785 Urban Development Economics (3:3:0). Examination of the changing structure and functions of the urban economy and develops the skills and knowledge for evaluating and remedying conditions inhibiting local economic development. Course includes case studies of redevelopment strategies, programs, and outcomes for inner-city neighborhoods, central and suburban business districts, waterfronts, and surplus military bases.

796 Directed Readings and Research (1-3:3:0). Independent reading and research at the doctoral level on a specific topic related to public policy as agreed to by a student and a faculty member.

800 Culture and Policy (2:2:0 to 4:3:1). A focus on the comparative analysis of the United States and Canada. The course seeks to illustrate the value of comparative analysis in the social sciences, of looking at the way two cultures, societies, and polities deal with the same needs and institutions. These two nations are highly similar, a fact that facilitates isolating the factors responsible for differences between them. A discussion seminar and laboratory is required in the four-credit version of this course.

801 Macro Policy (2:2:0 to 4:3:1). Demonstration of how macroeconomic, technological, demographic, and social forces affect the supply and demand for governmental services. Counterpart analysis of the impact of shifts in the patterns of international trade, the demographic composition of the population, and trends in the social structure are also examined. The course is intended to build an awareness of the need to factor alternative assumptions about the macro environment into policy planning; to show how macro events can affect both social welfare and policy performance indicators; and to suggest how national income accounting analysis and simple macroeconomic models can help to pinpoint impending trouble spots for public policy.

802 The Logic of Policy Inquiry (1-4:3:0). Prerequisite: Enrollment in doctoral program in public policy. Definition of policy research problems, questions, and hypotheses. Explores modes of policy research, analysis, and rhetoric, including interdisciplinary research strategies. The course uses information sources to emphasize written communication of policy research results. Course also discusses professional practice issues. 803 Topics in Culture and Policy (2:2:0 to 4:3:1). Selected topics in public policy not covered in fixed-content public policy courses. Selected topics relate specifically to culture and policy.

805 Public Policy Systems and Theory (1-4:3:0). This seminar examines policy-making systems and processes, and is organized around the U.S. Federal system, but the approach is comparative. The comparisons will be with both state governments and other countries. The seminar examines policy environments and participants, and emphasizes the evolutionary and dynamic character of policy making.

808 Education Policy: Process, Context, and Politics (3:3:0). Prerequisite: Advanced graduate standing in Education or Public Policy. This course explores the emerging field of education policy and politics and the extricable nature of policy and policy and politics in education through study of policy as process at the local, state, and federal arenas. Its primary focus is upon policy questions of compulsory schooling, curriculum and testing, governance, and finance, as well as value tensions of quality, efficiency, equity, and choice.

809 Education, Technology, and Public Policy (3:3:0). Attempts at educational improvement since Sputnik in 1957 have been largely without remedial effect. This course considers the strategic role of technology in a search for new solutions. Students acquire an understanding of the nation's recent attempts at educational improvement and of the underlying policy considerations; the shifting roles of state, local, and federal governments; and the technological opportunity to reach all Americans with education and training through the nation's emerging digital communications and information infrastructure. Working in teams, students will prepare a policy paper on some aspect of this issue using the Internet digital data network.

810 Theory and Methods in Regional Policy I (2:2:0 to 4:3:1). Introduction and critique of the theory and methods used in regional policy analysis. Students learn about central place theory, growth pole theory, and economic base theory, as well as other theoretical constructs used in regional policy analysis. . Further, methodological tools such as regional econometric modeling, multiobjective programming, shift-share analysis, economic base analysis, location quotient analysis, and input-output analysis are also introduced and examined. Finally, selected current regional public issues are examined using the theoretical and methodological constructs introduced in the first part of this course.

811 Theory and Methods in Regional Policy II (2:2:0 to 4:3:1). The second of two semesters of required concentration seminar sequence in regional policy. Only students who have participated in the first semester of this sequence (i.e., PUBP 810) will be admitted. Development of research papers that investigate some element or aspect of regional policy. In this seminar, students identify and develop topics with the goal of producing publishable papers. The students will develop the focus of their papers based on work carried out in the first semester, and will be expected to prepare a two-page proposal, followed by a detailed proposal and finally, the completed paper. Each of these will be critiqued in the seminar, which will be organized to conform to this process of review and critique. The instructor will work with each of the students individually, as well as in the seminar sessions.

814 International Trade Policy (2:2:0 to 4:3:1). A focus on institutions of international-trade management, and the trade-management choices facing the United States. After reviewing international trade theories, the course explores some recent writing on these institutions and choices. Then, students become involved in individual research into international economic issues, sharing methodologies and funding, and developing conclusions with the class. The four-credit version of this course requires a discussion section and research laboratory.

815 International Competitiveness and Regional Development (2:2:0 to 4:3:1). Exploration of the meanings, trends, and sources of international economic competitiveness. They must be sought in nation's economic and industrial structures, macroeconomic conditions, the actions of corporate stakeholders (management, employees, owners), and the microeconomic markets for labor, capital, and technology. Public-policy choices to increase competitiveness will be compared for their context-dependence and likely effects. An additional concern will be the subnational, regional sources of competitiveness, and the regional manifestations of international competition. The United States will be the case at the course's core, but comparisons will be drawn from Europe and East Asia. The course is designed for master's- or doctoral-level students who have either practical or academic background in public institutions and international issues.

816 The Rise of World Regional Economies in Competition (2:2:0 to 4:3:1). Examination of the role of government policy and federal laboratories in innovation and development. The context of such developments for specific regional economies worldwide is outlined. The course explores the central role of time in bringing innovations to market and the role of organizations in stimulating, directing, and maintaining the continued process of technological innovation.

817 Policy Research Topics: Transportation Policy (2:2:0 to 4:3:1). Research workshop examining the development of policy research and relevant methodologies linked directly to faculty and student interest. The course reviews in depth the interactive, identifies cutting-edge policy concerns, and executes a research program. The four-credit version of this course requires a discussion section and a research laboratory.

820 Technology, Science, and Public Policy I (2:2:0 to 4:3:1). The first of a two-semester core seminar sequence required for Ph.D. Public Policy students in the Science and Technology Policy concentration. Literature relevant to science and technology policy is covered. This core sequence begins with the postulate that technology has become a major casual force in the contemporary world. This seminar looks at the key formulations of the relationship of science, technology, and public policy. A research laboratory and special colloquia attendance are required of the four-credit version of this course.

821 Technology, Science, and Public Policy II (2:2:0 to 4:3:1). The second of a two-semester core seminar sequence in the Science and Technology Policy concentration. In this seminar, students develop research papers that investigate some element or aspect of science and technology policy. The course helps students identify and develop topics with the goal of producing publishable papers. Discussion meetings, a research laboratory, and colloquium attendance are required of the four-credit version of this course.

833 Topics in Public Policy (1-4:3:0). Selected topics in public policy not covered in fixed-content public policy courses.

840 Research Seminar in Policy Governance I (2:2:0 to 4:3:1). A survey of the major institutions that formulate and implement public policy in the United States. The seminar examines linkages between translation of public preferences into public policy and decisions about the societal and economic functions that are most appropriately carried out by governments and those that are best accomplished by private institutions and individuals. The four-credit course requires a discussion seminar and research laboratory.

841 Research Seminar in Policy Governance II (2:2:0 to 4:3:1). The second of a two-semester sequence (PUBP 840, 841) in the Governance and Management Policy concentration. The division of responsibilities among the several levels of government and between the public and private sectors is studied. The seminar focuses upon the impact of these divisions on the development of public policy in several policy areas, such as urban governance, environmental policy, and health care.

850 Seminar in Public Policy (1:1:0). A weekly colloquium series, required of Public Policy Ph.D. Students. The seminar features a variety of speakers from universities, government, and nonprofit sectors. Topics include policy formulation and analysis, as well as theoretical and methodological foundation.

852 Systematic Thinking for Social Action (2:2:0 to 4:3:1). During the 1960s and 1970s, Americans devoted a growing share of their national resources to public programs for meeting social needs. While funding for these programs expanded, dissatisfaction grew. In the 1980s, expectations decreased and funding decelerated while concerns with efficiency and effectiveness became even more important than in earlier decades. This course focuses on measuring social needs, evaluating the effectiveness of government programs to meet them, and estimating the costs and benefits of alternative programs. The context will be the past several decades of experience in the United States.

853 Ethics and Legal Issues of Social Experimentation (2:2:0 to 4:3:1). An examination of the moral and ethical dilemmas and issues raised by large-scale social experimentation. Issues such as balancing of benefits and harm, informed consent, protection of others' rights, and privacy are explored. While cases from the period of large-scale social experimentation in the United States are treated, additional focus is on the problems posed by the reconfiguration of these experiments over the past decade.

860 Social Theory and Public Policy (2:2:0 to 4:3:1). An introduction to social theory and how it affects public policy. Major theoretical frameworks in the social sciences are analyzed in relation to the role they can play in the formulation of public policies in such selected areas as poverty and inequality, the family, education, crime and drugs, and race and ethnicity.

861 Research Seminar in Culture and Policy (2:2:0 to 4:3:1). An emphasis on the integration of theory and method into empirical research projects. Among the issues covered are the linkage between theoretical constructs and empirical literature, the derivation of research questions from an existing body of literature, and the selection of methods appropriate to answer those questions. The seminar requires both the development of concrete proposals for empirical research and the criticism of such proposals.

870 Organizational and Policy Aspects of Informatics (1-4:3:0). An examination of the effects of informatics on national and international policy; setting international policy on informatics; ethical and social change in governments and organizations; shaping national policy in informatics; industry growth; and research methods from various scientific disciplines.

871 Organizational Processes and Technology (1-4:3:0). Prerequisite: PUBP 870. Introduction to the modern vertically and horizontally integrated organization. Focus is on the modern managerial policy aspects of creating, integrating, and managing modern information technology-enabled public and private sector organizations.

998 Research/Proposal for Dissertation (1-9:0:0). Work on a research proposal that forms the basis for a doctoral dissertation. May be repeated, although no more than 24 credit hours of PUBP 998 and 999 may be applied to doctoral degree requirements.

999 Dissertation (1-9:0:0). Research on an approved dissertation topic under the director on dissertation committee. May be repeated, although no more than 24 credit hours of PUBP 998 and 999 may be applied to doctoral degree requirements.


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