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The Roots of American Order: What Is Public Policy?

MPP 600

(4 units)

This course discusses concepts, systems, and institutions that participate in the development of public policy, both from historical and contemporary perspectives. Included is an attempt to lay the groundwork for the moral consequences of public action—­how, for instance, government distribution of benefits alters incentives and values. It also considers policy development and implementation by the private sector of business, labor, and nonprofit associations as well as the church, the family, and educational institutions, which have played such an important role in American society.

This course also introduces tools that are useful in the formal analysis of collective action, including a consideration of market failures, imperfect competition, and cost-benefit analysis. The larger purpose of this course, as well as MPP 601, is to consider how the ultimate objectives of public policy can best be met through a proper balance between constraints and personal freedom.