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The Politics of Policy-Making: National and International Challenges



The course is an introduction to the politics of policy-making at national and international level. Understanding the dynamics behind policy-making is indispensable to grasp questions relevant to our every-day life: What issues capture the attention of the policy-makers and why? How are decisions taken? Are decisions taken rationally? What is the role of experts? Is lobbying a positive expression of interest representation or did lobbyists take over our democracy? Is secrecy necessary and justifiable in some cases? We will discuss these and other questions during the course. Students will analyze different stages of the policy-cycle and explore the roles played by different actors in the process. The seminars will also focus on lobbying, the role of expertise and evidence, as well as on accountability and democratic legitimacy. In scrutinizing these concepts, we will draw on recent examples of policy-making and discuss current challenges in the policy-making world. Students will also be asked to prepare problem-based assignments, linked to the academic literature on the topic.

Course objectives

Upon the successful completion of the course, the students should be able to:
Objective 1 Understand the main aspects of politics in policy-making, both in the domestic and international setting
Objective 2 Understand and critically assess the actors and their role in policy-making process
Objective 3 Understand the principles and ethics of interest representation

Methods of instruction and communication

The course will be composed of seminars, where students active participation is encouraged. Students are required to read the assigned literature before the seminars and prepare the assignments.

Study material


Assessment method

20% Participation, 80% final “take-home” exam.


See 'Practical Information'