Public Policy

The topic

The analytical concept of public policy was defined in the 1980s in order to help researchers grasp all the activities carried out by public authorities through space and time, governed by institutional actors and pursuing a common goal. Since then, both private and public actors have appropriated the term, which allows them to frame their activities within the sectoral public policies they lead. Thus, the term of public policy has moved on from the field of research to field of the day-to-day politico-administrative reality. Since the 1990s, this move has contributed to a significant restructuring of the public sector thanks to the inquiries it initiated about evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of public action.

  • Theoretically define the constitutive elements of public policy;
  • Illustrate the concepts presented using real-world case studies from sectoral public policies in order to enable a re-reading of each participant’s field of work;
  • Determine the place and role of policy evaluators in the cycle of public policy interventions;
  • Identify the roles of the institutions or persons mandating evaluations and those carrying them out.
Target audience
  • Students studying for the MAS in Public Administration (MPA);
  • Students studying for the DAS in Public Administration;
  • Managers of specific federal and cantonal public policies;
  • Representatives of NGOs, associations, the voluntary sector and interest groups;
  • Public policy analysts and evaluators;
  • Academics (students, doctoral students and teaching assistants).
Programme (subjet to modifications)
Teaching methods

The classes on this course are taught by IDHEAP professors and are based on a variety of teaching methodologies (presentations, case studies, group work, debates, role-playing). A particular emphasis is put on participants rapidly applying their new-found knowledge in practical applications.


Lecture préalable suggérée :

  • Bussmann, W., Klöti, U., Knoepfel, P. (éds.) (traduit de l’allemand par Fédéric Varone) 1998. Politiques publiques. Evaluation. Paris : Economica (collection Politique comparée), 327 p. (Version française de Bussmann, W., Klöti, U., Knoepfel, P. (éds.) 1997. Einführung in die Politikevaluation. Bâle : Helbing & Lichtenhahn).

Lecture obligatoire :

  • Knoepfel, P., Larrue, C., Varone, F. 2001. Analyse et pilotage des politiques publiques. Bâle : Helbing & Lichtenhahn (série Analyse des politiques publiques / Politikanalyse no 2) : chapitres 1-6.

Un reader d’articles scientifiques récents, portant sur les différents aspects des politiques publiques est distribués aux participant·e·s en début de cours. Cet appui pédagogique vise, entre autres, à illustrer des approches complémentaires, voire alternatives à celles défendues par les deux enseignants.

Practical information and Registration
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