The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Prepare Your D-Plan Accordingly - Rocky Course Options in 14X and 14F

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Summer 2014 

PBPL 40 “Economics of Public Policymaking,” Professor Charles Wheelan, 10A

The course will use the basic tools of economics to analyze the most significant current public policy issues in the United States. Given the time constraints of the course, we will focus on the issues that the current presidential administration is likely to confront. The goal is to understand both the substance and politics of each issue. We will examine the effects of recent policy changes and analyze the likely effects of prospective reforms, particularly those that are likely to be debated in the political arena in the near future.

PBPL 43 “Social Entrepreneurship," Professor Andrew Samwick, 2A

This course provides an introduction to the theory and practice of social entrepreneurship, defined as the process of finding innovative, sustainable solutions to social problems, particularly those related to poverty. Students will learn about the nature and causes of poverty, both domestically and internationally, and about the role that social entrepreneurs play in addressing poverty. The course culminates with teams of students developing business models for their own social entrepreneurship ventures.

Fall 2014 

PBPL 42 “Ethics and Public Policy,” Professor Lucas Swaine, 10

This course examines the nature and validity of arguments about vexing moral issues in public policy. Students examine a number of basic moral controversies in public life, focusing on different frameworks for thinking about justice and the ends of politics. The primary aim of the course is to provide each student with an opportunity to develop his/her ability to think in sophisticated ways about morally difficult policy issues. Among the questions students address will be the following: Are policies that permit torture justifiable under any circumstances? Do people have basic moral claims to unequal economic holdings and rewards, or should economic distribution be patterned for the sake of social justice? Should people be permitted to move freely between countries? Is abortion wrong in theory or in practice, and in what ways should it be restricted? 

PBPL 45 “Introduction to Public Policy Research,” Professor Ronald Shaiko, 10A

This course focuses on strategies for, and actual practice of, conducting research relevant to public policy decision-making. Students will be exposed to a variety of research methodologies used in public policy analysis. This course is designed to be a core element of the Public Policy Minor and will also serve as a training ground for prospective applicants wishing to serve in the Rockefeller Public Policy Research Shop during the winter and spring terms. 

PBPL 52/GOVT 30.01 “Leadership in Political Institutions,” Professor Linda Fowler, 2A

This course explores how political leaders in the U.S. reconcile the constraints of public office with the opportunities to make major changes in society. Drawing from diverse materials on the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, the course explores the following questions: How does leadership differ in the public and private spheres? What personal skills and attributes affect the success or failure of leaders of political institutions? What criteria do/should citizens apply to public leaders? How do political context and historical contingency shape institutional leadership?

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The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences