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

Public Policy Seminar Courses

PBPL 81.3: Urban Politics and Public Policymaking

This course examines how and why cities attempt to address the problems that face them. It investigates who makes public policy in cities and why. The course then considers how and why these actors make policy. The final part of this class analyzes the effects of these policies. The class focuses upon urban education, housing, public safety, economic development, and other policy areas of significance to urban governments. Dist: SOC; WCult: W.

PBPL 81.5/SOCY 55: Poverty and Public Policy in the United States

More than one in ten Americans lives in poverty according to official statistics. This course explores the nature and extent of poverty in the United States and the role of the government in addressing poverty issues. How do we measure poverty? Why does poverty persist? Why is there so little political discourse about poverty in America today? How effective are various poverty alleviation programs? Dist: SOC; WCult: W.

PBPL 81.7/ANTH 16: Secrecy and Lying in Politics, Law and Society

Claims to secret knowledge—in families, organizations, and states—is a form of authority over those who do not possess it. This seminar explores how claims to secret knowledge and lying relate to the institutional and cultural frameworks in which knowledge is produced, the use of "leaks" to challenge hierarchical controls and sometimes sustain them, and the ways in which secrecy, deception, and lying form a necessary and often desirable part of social, political, and economic life. (CULT) Dist: SOC.

PBPL 81.9/GOVT 83.02: Politics and Markets

Someone once said, there is a place for the market, and the market must be kept in its place. In this course, we explore the policy debates in the U.S. over the proper role of government in promoting market efficiency and protecting citizens from the adverse consequences of market competition. We begin with an effort to define the scope of the private and public sectors. We then consider an array of policy instruments to correct market failures and redistribute income. Finally, we examine the use of market-oriented approaches to policy problems, such as cost-benefit analysis, vouchers, and pollution rights. Dist: SOC; WCult: NA / W.

PDF iconPBPL 81.9 Syllabus 

PBPL 82.1: Military Statecraft in International Relations

Finding answers for many complex foreign policy questions requires weighing a set of political goals against an estimate of the potential military costs and risks. The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with the missions and capabilities of military forces, and to teach them how to estimate the likely costs, risks, and outcomes of military operations. This course will use theoretical works and historical cases to familiarize students with some of the principles of air, ground, and naval operations. Students will use the tools which they learn in class to conduct a detailed military analysis that bears on an important current foreign policy question. No prior knowledge of military forces is needed for this class. Prerequisite: Government 5 or permission of the instructor. The instructor encourages seniors, juniors, as well as sophomores with strong writing and research skills, to enroll in this seminar. Dist: SOC or INT.

PDF iconPBPL 82.1 Syllabus

PBPL 82.2/SOCY 67: Political Power of Ideas

Politicians fight constantly over ideas. This course explores where these ideas come from and how politicians try to convince us that their ideas are best. It examines how people's values influence which ideas they believe or not. It questions the role of experts in policy making and whether we should trust them. And it analyzes how policy ideas change. Emphasis is largely but not entirely on the political power of ideas in the United States. Dist: SOC; WCult: W.

PBPL 84.2: Health Policy Reform

The goal of the course is to analyze likely strengths and weaknesses of U.S. health reform to address three major challenges in the health care system: access, cost, and quality of health care. To do this, students will study key elements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act enacted in March, 2010, considering how it extends or differs from prior health policies to address enduring problems in health care. In addition to readings, class discussion and in-class exercises (debates and policy simulations), course work will incorporate brief exercises designed to introduce students to commonly used sources of health data and analytical approaches. Students will explore one aspect of health reform in detail, preparing and presenting a short research project on an approved topic. Prerequisites: at least one of the following: Public Policy 5, Public Policy 26, or Sociology 28. Government 10, Economics 10 or similar course is helpful. Dist: SOC; WCult: W.

PBPL 84.4/GOVT 84.08/LATS 54: Immigration and Security Policy at the U.S.-Mexico Border

Security and immigration policy along the U.S.-Mexico border has become a political proving ground, encompassing issues of self-identity and global responsibility. This seminar offers students the opportunity to investigate immigration and admissions policy, law enforcement and citizen activism in border societies, and the securitization of the border. In doing so, we will explore the challenges of setting border policies and the repercussions that these policies have both at the border and beyond. Dist: SOC; WCult: W.

PBPL 85: Global Policy Leadership

Public Policy 85 is designed to provide real world international policy experience for a select group of students engaged with the Rockefeller Center. Twelve rising juniors and seniors will be selected to study a specific international policy topic. During the fall quarter, the participating students will study this topic in depth, as they would for any other Dartmouth class. The unique aspect of the course is that at end of the fall quarter the 12 students and the Professor will travel to the country of study, where they will spend two weeks meeting with local policy leaders: politicians, academics, journalists, business leaders, U.S. diplomats, and other experts “on the ground” who can help to inform their topic of study. This travel will take place after the formal conclusion of the term during the first two weeks of December. At the conclusion of the international visit, the participating students are responsible for producing a single collaborative 30-40 page briefing memo with specific policy recommendations. The criteria for selecting students for Global Policy Leadership include: past academic performance; prior completion of introductory course work at the Rockefeller Center (e.g. Public Policy 5); a demonstrated intellectual interest in the subject of study; a personality suited for rigorous, low-budget international travel; and preference is given to rising seniors who are public policy minors.

PBPL 91: Independent Study in Public Policy

This course offers an opportunity for a student enrolled in the public policy minor to do advanced, independent work under the direction of a faculty member in the area of public policy. The topic under study may relate to prior coursework in the public policy minor, an off-campus internship, or a co-curricular activity sponsored by the Rockefeller Center. All students enrolled in Public Policy 91 in a given term should expect to meet regularly together for classroom instruction and discussion with Rockefeller Center faculty and staff. To enroll, a student must prepare a brief proposal that describes the topic to be studied, its relationship to the student’s prior public policy courses or activities, and the student’s goals for undertaking the research. Prerequisites: Public Policy 5 and the Research Methods course prerequisite to the Public Policy Minor.

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