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Public Institutions


Admission requirements



Institutional analysis in its various forms is increasingly prominent in contemporary research in public administration and much of the social sciences. What are institutions, and how are they different from other social phenomena? What effects do institutions have on the behaviour of public officials and other actors? How can institutions overcome collective action problems? How do institutions change and when do they remain stable? And, what are the implications for institutional design and reform? These are the key in the study of public institutions.

The course will discuss the foundations and recent theoretical developments in institutionalist theory, their application in public administration research and their implications for institutional design and reform to address contemporary societal challenges.

Course objectives

  • Have an understanding of the concept of institutions and understanding of the varieties of institutional theory

  • Have an understanding of how institutions shape how public officials and public organizations deal with governance challenges

  • Understand and be able to apply multiple institutional theories to real-world issues.

  • Be able to draw implications for institutional design and reform from institutional theories and communicate results in a way that is relevant to policymakers.


On the right side of programme front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Blackboard.

Mode of instruction

Teaching methods:

Lectures, in-class discussions

Course Load

  • Total study load: 140 hrs.

  • Contact hours: 26 hrs (7 weeks x 3hrs per week + 5 hrs exam)

  • Self-study hours: 114 hrs (7X14 hrs weekly preparation; 18 hrs exam preparation)

Assessment method

  • Written examination with short questions and essay questions (60% of the final grade).

  • One written individual assignment (40% of the grade)

  • Re-takes*
    A re-take for the assessments will be provided in the regular resit period for students who did not receive a grade of 5.5 or higher on either the individual paper or the exam or both. The individual grades for the paper and the exam cannot be compensated.


Blackboard page is available two weeks before the course starts.

Reading list

Academic papers to be downloaded through university library and a book containing an overview of institutional theory. More information on Blackboard.


To be announced by OSC staff.


Dr. C.H.J.M. Braun
Dr. J. Christensen
Prof. dr. B. Steunenberg