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Politics of the Policy Process: Implementation and Evaluation




Admissions requirements

Institutions of Governance and Development


The course’s main goal is to highlight the complexity and ambiguity of implementing and evaluating political decisions. The political process is often deemed to be rational, goal-driven and pragmatic, while division of competences between bureaucrats and politicians is transparent and unambiguous. The course aims to show that such assumptions are not always correct and explore the topics of implementation and evaluation across a variety of policy settings, ranging from major infrastructure projects to development and foreign policy. In addition, the course pays attention to how major societal changes, for example the introduction of Big Data, measures to deal with economic crisis as well as e-government, shape the policy process and –potentially – make it more effective. Last but not least, the issue of accountability is addressed as policy solutions are often contested, showing that even potentially effective policy solutions have to be legitimate. The course is not meant to present one particular policy field in great detail. Instead, it focuses on several cross-cutting contemporary issues and challenges that help acquaint students with implementation and evaluation of policy solutions.

Acquiring insights into the opinion of practitioners is a crucial element of the course, hence several guest lectures have been planned to show students how implementation actually works across several policy domains. These sessions offer unique insights from distinguished academic and policy experts about “how things really work”.

Course objectives


  • Be able to assess controversies of implementing and evaluating various policies

  • Be able understand the reasoning behind the choice of indicators to measure effectiveness of policy implementation


  • Comprehend the ambiguous relationship between bureaucracy and politicians

  • Understand how new technological advances shape implementation and evaluation within the policy cycle


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

Mix of mini-lectures, presentations and group discussion. Student presentation at the start of each class would be around 20 minutes, providing questions for the subsequent debate/discussion in class.


Small assignments: 3 x 5% each, weeks 2, 5 and 6
Small presentation: 10%, all weeks
Class participation: 10%, all weeks
Final exam: 35%, week 8
Case application: 30%, week 8


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

Literature for the class will be provided by the instructor or otherwise available at the Leiden University library


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Dr.Alexander Strelkov


Literature for the first session has to be read before the class