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Public Policy Analysis: Data-Driven Governance and Policymaking


Admission requirements

Required course(s):

  • Institutions of Governance & Development


This course is designed to teach students about government use of data-driven approaches to governance and policymaking. The course has a practical and utilitarian component, which is to introduce students to what these applications are, both those that are mundane and those that are controversial. It also has an analytical component, which is to apply critical thinking towards such applications using findings from scholarly literature and public discussion about real cases.

Case-based instruction and in-class exercises will play a central role in this class. Students are expected to familiarize themselves with the case materials in advance, and will then participate in a variety of scenarios, small group discussions, vignettes, and other forms of active learning.

Students will learn to navigate the complex technical and ethical issues and put forward their own arguments through discussion and debate. Together, these skills and knowledge will help students to critically assess these tools and to become more expert both as critical users of data and associated technologies, and as systems architects.

Course Objectives

  • Describe examples of different kinds of data-driven applications in government

  • Debate the public values pros and cons of such applications in the public sector using real world examples and academic literature

  • Carry out a research project that critically evaluates an algorithmic decision-making system from the perspective of protecting and improving public values.


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2023-2024 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

The class is designed around consistent and active student participation. Instructional modalities include a mixture of seminar-style discussion and case-based exercises. This class will not include lectures supported by PowerPoints treating students as tabula rasa.

Assessment Method

Students will be assessed on their participation in class discussions and exercises, and through a combination of written and oral assignments. These assignments will in turn include both individual and group work elements. There will be no examination.

Reading list

Readings (TBD) will consist of a mixture of academic research articles, professional case studies, book chapters, and news reporting.


Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC course, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator,


Dr. Matthew M. Young,