Course syllabus



POLITICS 757: Comparative Public Policy

SEMESTER 1, 2018

15 points

Course Convenor: 

Jennifer Curtin -

Contact hour: Wednesday 3.15-4.15

Professional Teaching Assistant

Justin Phillips -

Contact hour: Wednesday 1-2pm (9 Grafton Road)


Course delivery format:

9-5pm in Week 1, Week 4, Week 7 and Week 10

(Timetable and room details can be viewed on Student Services Online)

This class time includes time a mix of group quizzes, the discussion and application of ideas drawn from readings, team presentations, lecturer-led sessions, group work and consultation. When possible, we will also draw on guest policy specialists.

Students are expected to read required materials prior to class, attend all classes, and participate in class discussions. In addition to class time, the course requires students commit around 7 hours per week to undertake reading, research for assignments and team projects.  


Summary of Course Description:              

This course explores public policy actors, processes and outcomes primarily from a comparative perspective. It does so by engaging with a range of conceptual and methodological approaches employed by policy scholars, and introduces students to debates around the best ways of explaining and understanding policy-making and policy outcomes across countries: that is, the relative importance of interests, institutions and ideas, as well as international agencies involved in the transfer of policy across countries.


Course outcomes:

By the end of this course it is expected that the student will be able to:

  1. understand of the role and influence of key actors, ideas and institutions in the policy process;
  2. critically analyse the various approaches used to explain differences in policy outcomes;
  3. Link theory and practice through comparative policy analysis;
  4. Work effectively in teams to present sophisticated arguments on a selected topic;
  5. Demonstrate articulate and professional written and oral communication skill

Additional Skills:

In addition to gaining knowledge of comparative policy analysis you will gain several skills as a result of completing the requirements for this class.

These include the ability to:

  • Access relevant original and secondary source material from electronic databases and journals.
  • Define and apply key policy concepts.
  • Design and write an original literature review.
  • Present and debate research ideas in a supportive environment.

 Assessment Summary:

20% 4 quizzes                    Weeks 4 and 7  

50% Literature Review       Week 9

20% Group presentation    Week 10

10% Policy Brief                 Week 11



Week 1:

What is comparative public policy? Why do we compare? How do we compare?

Week 4:

Lesson drawing and the impact of institutions and actors on comparative public policy

Week 7:

Policy transfer, policy convergence and the role of international organisations 

Week 10:

Presentations and Peer Review


Prescribed Texts:

A more detailed course guide will become available under “Files”  in Canvas

Reading List will also be available under a separate Canvas heading, with links.


Workload and deadlines for submission of coursework:           

The University of Auckland's expectation is that students spend 10 hours per week on a 15-point course, including time in class and personal study. Students should manage their academic workload and other commitments accordingly. Deadlines for coursework are set by course convenors and will be advertised in course material. You should submit your work on time. In extreme circumstances, such as illness, you may seek an extension but you may be required to provide supporting information before the assignment is due. Late assignments without a pre-approved extension may be penalised by loss of marks – check course information for details.

Course summary:

Date Details