UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAM

Turning Passion to Purpose

As a discipline, Public Policy is the study of what governments chooses to do in response to public concerns, how they arrive at those choices, and how we may improve the tools, processes and institutions involved. In academic terms that translates into a set of very specific skills, from being able to define a policy problem and assess it from legal, political and economic perspectives to imagining and offering solutions within a set of constraints.

Yet it is a relatively young discipline. As such, it is allied to and draws from disciplines that students everywhere have studied for centuries, and in this part of the world, perhaps for millennia. Political Science, Economics, Public Administration and Law are all distinct disciplines with a considerable heritage and unquestionable continued relevance on their own merit. But modern governments and institutions need professionals who are Jacks (and Jills) of all these trades in one, on top of analytical acumen and an eye on contemporary trends. The program sees Policy Analysis foremost as an emerging professional field much like business management and organizes its content as professional training.

Besides traversing disciplines, the prospective Policy Analyst must hence embrace a spectrum of methodologies from the quantitative to the qualitative, with a balanced judgment of when to draw on which. Policy arguments are weighed on the strength and quality of their evidence. Some of the courses will hence pointedly train the class to play with varied sources, forms and quantum of data towards targeted answers. Where relevant, the program emphasizes the ability to see parallels and connects between course material and current affairs. The students will have one finger on the pulse of the news cycle, their focus on what gets covered and how it is variously presented, including the uses and abuses of data.

Over the course of six semesters, the program takes on questions like: why do some problems get on the public agenda over others? How do these problems get variously framed? How does the framing of problems constrain the set of policy options to address them? What are some of the criteria commonly used to analytically select one of those options over others? How must subsequent monitoring and evaluation be designed to assess the policy choices made? Which actors and institutions participate in the Public Policy process? In what roles and in what ways? How may the processes and institutions be improved? How do the political, legal, social and economic contexts and internal and external environments influence the policy choices? What are some of the triggers and drivers behind policy changes at the national and state level? How does the policy cycle work differently in various policy sectors?

The Public Policy major program strives to produce well-rounded Policy Analysts who can analyze issues rigorously and communicate the results well. The introductory courses acquaint students with the disciplinary threads mentioned above, from thought and theory to the basic applied aspects in each. Intermediate courses concern practical skills that call for that elementary cross-disciplinary knowledge, such as those on Policy Evaluation and Measurement of Governance. The advanced courses dive into complex fields such as Public Finance and the design of Policy Instruments or into specific sectors such as Rural Development, Environmental Policy and e-Governance. A dedicated hands-on workshop will be held on the highly-valued skill of writing Policy Memos, which distils the learning over the course of the entire program demonstrably into one succinct document.

The Public Policy minor program eschews some of the intensive or specialized courses, but retains the broad flavour of Public Policy. Students will thus have the choice to either take it further with continued studies or have the advantage of being among the few who can draw connections to Public Policy in whatever other field they enter.

The program envisages graduates who will either join a coveted Masters in Public Policy (MPP) or make competent interns for government, intergovernmental or non-governmental agencies alike (Government of India, state governments, United Nations, World Bank, government of other countries). Some may pursue careers in the Civil Service. Public Policy graduates are also sought in public and private think tanks, advocacy groups, CSR divisions, EHS divisions, non-profits, media houses and compliance consultancies. This the major to choose if you feel a calling in Public Affairs but refuse to be yet another economist or ‘just’ an activist.

PROGRAM AIMS

MAJOR

The Public Policy Major program aims to:

  • introduce the fundamentals of Public Policy as a discipline and Policy Analysis as a profession
  • familiarize students with several disparate Public Affairs disciplines with enough clarity that they can lucidly distinguish between them
  • explain in a hands-on way the difference between seemingly overlapping practical activities such as Policy Research, Policy Analysis, Policy Evaluation, Governance Measurement and others
  • produce a cohort of competent Policy Analysts with a problem-solving bent, ready to take on public matters in a systematic and manifestly professional manner
  • respond to the contemporary Indian need for domain policy experts in areas like Rural Development, Human Development, Social Policy, Environment and e-Governance
  • instil research skills with wider applicability and general analytical acumen
  • nurture writing skills and a flair for communication tools such as data visualization

MINOR

The Public Policy Minor program aims to:

  • introduce the fundamentals of Public Policy as a discipline and Policy Analysis as a profession
  • familiarize students with several disparate Public Affairs disciplines with enough clarity that they can lucidly distinguish between them
  • explain in a hands-on way the difference between seemingly overlapping practical activities such as Policy Research, Policy Analysis, Policy Evaluation, Governance Measurement and others.
  • nurture writing skills and a flair for communication tools such as data visualization

PROGRAM OUTCOMES

MAJOR

On completion of the Major program students will be able to:

  • display a firm grasp on the study and practice of Public Policy
  • expound on the requisite basics in the allied Public Affairs disciplines viz. Political Science, Public Administration, Economics, and Law.
  • undertake basic Policy Analysis on matters of public concern and cogently report findings
  • recognize the influence of Policy Principles on Policy Instruments and be able to assess and meet the data demands of instrument design
  • participate in the academic discourse and engage with current practice across aspects of governance and development
  • account for the Indian context (political, legal, economic and social) and display ease in adapting the above skills for federal and state policymaking
  • elucidate the international economy, keep abreast of recent and current global trends, and recognize external influences on a country’s policies when analyzing them
  • appreciate old and new challenges and solutions in at least one policy area (such as environment or social policy) and demonstrate the above outcomes by application
  • demonstrate the technical skills required for Policy Analysis (interpretative research, policy evaluation, cost-benefit analysis, modelling etc.)
  • draw on rhetorical and expositional skills in communicating analytical output (Writing Policy Memos, analytical interpretative essays, data visualization etc.)

MINOR

On completion of the Minor program students will be able to:

  • display a firm grasp on the study and practice of Public Policy
  • expound on the requisite basics in the allied Public Affairs disciplines viz. Political Science, Public Administration, Economics and Law.
  • be able to undertake basic Policy Analysis on matters of public concern and report findings
  • recognize the influence of Policy Principles on Policy Instruments and be able to assess and meet the data demands of instrument design
  • account for the Indian context (political, legal, economic and social) and display ease in adapting the above skills for federal and state policymaking
  • elucidate the international economy, keep abreast of recent and current global trends, and recognize external influences on a country’s policies when analyzing them
  • demonstrate the technical skills required for such Policy Analysis (interpretative research, policy evaluation, cost-benefit analysis, modelling etc.)
  • draw on rhetorical and expositional skills in communicating analytical output (Writing Policy Memos, analytical interpretative essays, data visualization, etc.)

20 MAJOR COURSES

1. Introduction to Public Policy and Public Administration 8. Social Structure, Stratification and Institutions 15. Applying Economic History
2. Introduction to Quantitative Methods 9. Research Methods 16. Poverty, Inequality and Social Policy
3. Economics for Policy Analysts 10. Public Finance 17. E-governance
4. Political Structure and Public Policy 11. Planning and Policymaking in India 18. Policy Analysis Project
5. Law and Jurisprudence 12. Women and Development 19. Behavioral Economics
6. Policy Formulation, Implementation and Evaluation 13. Environmental Policy 20. Global Economy & Public Policy
7. Education Policy 14. Health Policy  

 

1. Introduction to Public Policy and Public Administration

This course is premised on the academic opinion that graduates across all areas would do well to appreciate at least the basics of what a government does and what it is for. Governments are the superstructure that society and social living are built on. No walk of life is untouched by some government’s jurisdiction or unworthy of a government’s attention – not psychology, not dance, certainly not gaming. And yet, an average student knows far more about the basics of what businesses do than about governments. Businesses make and sell things. Can the student put equally simply what a government does? At the end of this course, s/he will.
As a discipline, Public Policy is the study of what governments chooses to do in response to public concerns, how they arrive at those choices, and how we may improve the tools, processes and institutions involved. A key undertaking in the course is to chart its relationships with older established disciplines such as Economics, Law, Political Science and Public Administration so that students across subject areas use the broad Public Affairs vocabulary confidently and unambiguously and do not use disparate terms interchangeably.
The course also includes a focused introduction to public administration. It introduces students to the meaning, nature, scope and importance of public administration, both as an academic field and as a profession. In this context, it explains the workings of the Indian and US governments. Additionally, it traces the new and emerging trends in the study as well as the practice of public administration. 

2. Introduction to Quantitative Methods

This course is designed to give undergraduate students a brief overall introduction to mathematics and statistics. The use of quantitative techniques is increasingly being adopted in all areas of human endeavour. The need to collect, analyze and interpret mathematical output is increasingly being appreciated for arriving at conclusions or in strategic decision making. This course will deal with fundamental concepts required to model, analyse and solve quantitative problems arising in any discipline. A student undertaking this course can have little to no formal introduction to mathematics and statistics at the higher secondary level.

3. Economics for Policy Analysts

Few recognize Public Policy as the raison d’etre for the discipline of Economics. There is very little that economists study and research that could not potentially serve as advice to a government. Economic research is among the crucial sources for evidence to build and critique policy arguments.
This course provides an overview of fundamental topics in economic theory and institutions assisting in policy making and implementation. The course familiarizes students with research and research methods in economics and recognizes the data requirements for policy making and challenges faced.

4. Political Structure and Public Policy

This course is an introduction to political structure and political theory as a tradition of discourse and as a way of thinking about politics. This course has been designed to provide students an introduction to the fundamental concepts in political science and how these impact public policy. It begins with an overview of why we study political theory and what are the approaches and forms of political theory. It then proceeds to elaborate in a detailed manner on the key concepts of ‘Liberty’, ‘Equality’, ‘Justice’, ‘Rights’ and ‘State and Sovereignty’. Each concept is explained through the thoughts and writings of noted theorists who have deliberated in length on that particular issue with emphasis given on readings of original writings. The course surveys selected works of political theory and explores some of the recurring themes and questions that political theory addresses. This course helps students to understand relations of political science and public policy.

5. Law and Jurisprudence

The course will cover the main nuts and bolts of the legal system and the role that the legal system plays in shaping policy. Along with the structural features of different aspects of the legal system, different philosophical approaches to understanding law will also be explored

6. Policy Formulation, Implementation and Evaluation

This is an introductory course in public policy analysis. It begins with the basics and concisely describes government institutions, identifies principal policy actors, and examines the context in which public policies are made. In this sense, together with internal organizational factors, external factors such as the political, legal, social, and economic environments of public policy making are discussed. The course then provides students with the conceptual frameworks and the analytical models necessary for analyzing the process of public policy making. It discusses the nature of policy analysis and its practice, and illustrates how to employ evaluative criteria in substantive policy areas.
In sum, this course introduces students to the politics of policy making and equips them with the analytic tools necessary to understand how the interests and motivations of policy actors--both within and outside of government--impact an intricate, yet understandable, policy agenda. It exposes students to public policy and policy research and helps them comprehend the processes of policy analysis, program evaluation, and policy recommendation/advocacy.

7. Education Policy

Understanding education policy processes is a complex exercise since it requires understanding the historical legacy, contemporary political and social dynamics, existing theoretical knowledge base, interpretation of problems, comparative perspectives, framing of solutions and also appreciating policies as they are mediated through various institutional structures in practice. This course intends to help students analyse educational policies and their outcomes as embedded in three contexts: the perceived problems, the ideas and assumptions that underlie policy choices and the institutional structures and processes that mediate these policies. The purpose of the course is to enable students to critically reflect upon the policy context, processes, institutions and outcomes, and frame relevant and appropriate questions when presented with a policy proposal or an existing policy instrument. Given the complex and ever-changing education policy landscape in India, the course encourages students to examine the most critical, dominant policy choices vis-à-vis elementary education in India, analyse why certain policies have been formulated at certain points of time, explore the historical, political, social, and conceptual roots of these policy choices and the reasons for their continuities or shifts.

8. Social Structure, Stratification and Institutions

This course will engage students in the treatment of social stratification from the perspectives of theory, structure, and process and their variations in societal and cultural contexts. The course focuses on structural units and the study of social stratification, social formation and social interaction and processes involving social stratification. The major forms of social stratification and their relation to economic and political institutions will be examined. The course will concentrate mainly on the structure of social inequality; hierarchies and status structures; class formation; social mobility; processes of ‘social selection’ and status attainment; social stratification and sub-cultural variations etc. Social stratification in relation to social integration, conflict and change, with special reference to industry and politics will be probed.

9. Research Methods

This course provides students with an overview of research methodology focusing particularly on the role and process of research in the contemporary public policy context. The role and processes of gathering of evidence both for policy-making and for evaluating the impacts of policy are explored. The course aims to make students aware of the ways in which choices of methodology are closely linked to broader theoretical and conceptual issues and to familiarize them with different research methods. Consideration is given to both quantitative and qualitative approaches to research, although more emphasis is placed on qualitative methods.

10. Public Finance

This course introduces students to the theories in Public Finance, and to understand the potential consequences of policies through these theories. The course also discusses the application of these theories to the Indian economy. The topics covered in this course include: Theory of Social Goods and Role of the State, Public Expenditure, Public Revenue and Taxation, and Public Debt and Fiscal Federalism.

11. Planning and Policymaking in India

Institutional mechanisms and structures play a critical role in transforming policy rhetoric into policy outcomes. This course introduces the students to the key institutional mechanisms and structures that contribute to realization of policy goals and in turn influence the policies in India. The course will explore Indian political and administrative systems, and discuss the role and contributions of various policy tools and mechanisms employed for Planning and Policy making in India. The varied facets of Indian government and politics are discussed to understand how various political, socio-economic, cultural, infrastructural, technological and global factors determine institutional change and its evolution, and how this has impacted its performance over time. Budgets, Five Year Plans and NITI Aayog are important institutional mechanisms that are central to the implementation of the policy goals. In addition, the structures established through the process of decentralization allow for effective implementation of policies at the local level. In recent times, programmes run in a mission mode have been the channel to translate policies into action. This course will enable the student to critically examine these institutional mechanisms and structures, their characteristics, dynamics and delivery in India.
This course will focus on the different facets of human development: education, health, gender, the family, land relations, risk, informal and formal norms and institutions. While studying each of these topics, it will ask: What determines the decisions of poor households in developing countries? What constraints are they subject to? Is there a scope for policy (by government, international organizations, or NGOs)? What policies have been tried out? Have they been successful?

12. Women and Development

Gender relations are defined and shaped by institutional domains such as family and kinship, state, market and community. This course aims to explore key analytical debates in the field of women, gender and development to understand how gender issues pervade developmental policies. Starting with an overview of the significant conceptual approaches to women and gender studies, the course will discuss issues of sex-ratio, and women’s citizenship, political representation, access to health and education, employment and role in production. The students will be acquainted with the debates around power, poverty and gender equality leading to an understanding of shift in developmental studies from women in development to gender and development.

13. Environmental Policy

Only the seriously disillusioned would deny that the planet and its inhabitants are in trouble. The delicate balance of the various cyclic biogeochemical processes is under threat and human economic activity has left its mark on the home planet to an extent that the current geological age is now known as the Anthropocene. Governments around the world have long recognized the gravity of environmental concerns and their effects on welfare, and the area emerged as an important sector of policymaking activity in the 1970s.
Since then, though, both environmental problems and policy responses have grown in complexity. Rising awareness of environmental challenges has gone hand in hand with increasing intractability and widening political polarization regarding the balance of key values at stake. In that backdrop, the study of the range of policy responses at the disposal of governments assumes critical importance.
This is among the broadest policy areas and the course attempts to cover that breadth, from pollution and conservation to energy and recycling. Also, it covers contexts across the range of policy maturity in terms of policy principles. Besides learning about the policy sector, the course also serves as a broad overview of the elements of public policy in an applied manner. 

14. Health Policy

This course aims to acquaint students with health care systems and health policies across the globe, focusing on developing countries like India. The course will discuss various institutions and actors that are involved in health policy formulation as well as implementation, and explore the interplay between these. It will discuss the issues of health economics, health insurance, individual rights, and access and quality of health care. A critical comparison of health care systems and policies across the globe will provide an understanding of diverse facets of health management. A few significant health care plans and policies will be evaluated to explore the effects of lifestyle in global north and south.

15. Applying Economic History

Much of the course will explore data and trends that have only been published in recent years and attend debates that are yet to be settled. A typical class will look at the cost of a daily necessity like indoor illumination relative to the median income through the ages. Or, the GDP of major world regions since the year 1 AD. Or, why seven-generation social mobility seems to have been slow and virtually identical across regions as historically diverse as Sweden, USA, India and China.
For the other part of the course we will be studying the methods and measurement techniques involved, with a major assignment to practice them. The course is built on the works of contemporary economists such as Angus Maddison, Douglass North, Gregory Clark, Robert Allen, Robert Fogel and Peter Bernstein with updates from Peter Lindert, Thomas Rawski, Susan Carter and others. The odd journalist and John Maynard Keynes will put in an appearance.
Whether you are buoyed by Pinkerian optimism or slumping under Pikettian despair, this course works towards authoritative answers to those pub-conversation staples: “how did we get here?” (Or, “how did they get out of that?”)

16. Poverty, Inequality and Social Policy

Social Policy in a development context is the overarching framework of a wide-ranging inquiry into social policy that is developmental, democratic and socially inclusive. It is increasingly evident that social policy has a significance that goes beyond even the valid concerns about basic equity and minimal living standards, which form part of the social and economic rights of citizens. This course will explore the interplay between democracy and social policy from the perspective of state and market and civil society and focus on the role of democratic forces in the development of social policy.

17. E-governance

Electronic government or “e-Government” is defined as the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in government to provide public services and to improve managerial effectiveness. Governments use ICTs for the exchange of information with citizens and businesses. E-Government utilizes technology to accomplish reform by fostering transparency, eliminating distance and other divides, and empowering people to participate in the political and administrative processes that affect their lives. The preliminary objective of this course is to introduce the technology of e-government with an in-depth examination of various government initiatives and train the student to develop the ability to discuss current electronic government issues and trends.

18. Policy Analysis Project

The project is an independent study course. Students will work in close consultation with an assigned faculty supervisor through the semester, but they are personally responsible for all the learning elements, research work and meeting mutually agreed deadlines for all components. Demonstrated analytical acumen and effective communication will carry comparable weights in the assessment of reports and presentations.

19. Behavioral Economics

The objective of the course is to provide an understanding of significant concepts in behavioural economics. It is a novel field in Economics which explores cases where traditional economics fails to be replicated in the real world. Learning models in economics are critical to understand the analytical setup of the subject but this course aims to provide some intuition into how real world applications may not sometimes mimic standard textbook models.

20. Global Economy & Public Policy

National borders enclose clusters of economic activity inside jurisdictions. For various reasons explored at length in this course, these otherwise closed and diverse systems enter into trade with each other and the trade links give rise to a much larger global economic system. Those links have also long enabled exchanges that are not strictly or primarily economic.

This course covers international trade theory, globalization trends and related public policy. The focuses of the first part of the course are some of the main theoretical models of international trade and some of the salient issues in trade policy. We shall also study how foreign trade directly affects several other spheres of domestic policy - social, environmental, monetary and others.
The latter half of the course switches to contemporary challenges in an increasingly globalized world and wavering opinions on them. It is a platitude to say the world is getting smaller and everyone or their aunt has an anecdote to bear it out. But what does that mean in practical, economic terms? More importantly, what does a globalized world mean for countries going about their own domestic business? We will look at globalization both as a socioeconomic phenomenon and as an arc in human history. Lastly, we relate some of the chief global trends, especially the rising clout of multinational companies, to their influence in sovereign matters.
Students will be expected to stay on top of weighty and thorny geopolitical matters – the course includes a fun way to ensure it – and will be exposed to current polarizing debates on specific aspects of trade and globalization.

19 MINOR COURSES

1. Introduction to Public Administration 8. Social Structure, Stratification and Institutions 15. Poverty, Inequality and Social Policy
2. Introduction to Quantitative Methods 9. Public Finance 16. E-governance
3. Economics for Policy Analysts 10. Planning and Policymaking in India 17. Policy Analysis Project
4. Political Structure and Public Policy 11. Women and Development 18. Behavioral Economics      
5. Law and Jurisprudence 12. Environmental Policy 19. Global Economy & Public Policy
6. Policy Formulation, Implementation and Evaluation 13. Health Policy  
7. Education Policy 14. Applying Economic History  

 

1. Introduction to Public Administration

This course is premised on the academic opinion that graduates across all areas would do well to appreciate at least the basics of what a government does and what it is for. Governments are the superstructure that society and social living are built on. No walk of life is untouched by some government’s jurisdiction or unworthy of a government’s attention – not psychology, not dance, certainly not gaming. And yet, an average student knows far more about the basics of what businesses do than about governments. Businesses make and sell things. Can the student put equally simply what a government does? At the end of this course, s/he will.
As a discipline, Public Policy is the study of what governments chooses to do in response to public concerns, how they arrive at those choices, and how we may improve the tools, processes and institutions involved. A key undertaking in the course is to chart its relationships with older established disciplines such as Economics, Law, Political Science and Public Administration so that students across subject areas use the broad Public Affairs vocabulary confidently and unambiguously and do not use disparate terms interchangeably.
The course also includes a focused introduction to public administration. It introduces students to the meaning, nature, scope and importance of public administration, both as an academic field and as a profession. In this context, it explains the workings of the Indian and US governments. Additionally, it traces the new and emerging trends in the study as well as the practice of public administration. 

2. Introduction to Quantitative Methods

This course is designed to give undergraduate students a brief overall introduction to mathematics and statistics. The use of quantitative techniques is increasingly being adopted in all areas of human endeavour. The need to collect, analyze and interpret mathematical output is increasingly being appreciated for arriving at conclusions or in strategic decision making. This course will deal with fundamental concepts required to model, analyse and solve quantitative problems arising in any discipline. A student undertaking this course can have little to no formal introduction to mathematics and statistics at the higher secondary level.

3. Economics for Policy Analysts

Few recognize Public Policy as the raison d’etre for the discipline of Economics. There is very little that economists study and research that could not potentially serve as advice to a government. Economic research is among the crucial sources for evidence to build and critique policy arguments.
This course provides an overview of fundamental topics in economic theory and institutions assisting in policy making and implementation. The course familiarizes students with research and research methods in economics and recognizes the data requirements for policy making and challenges faced.

4. Political Structure and Public Policy

This course is an introduction to political structure and political theory as a tradition of discourse and as a way of thinking about politics. This course has been designed to provide students an introduction to the fundamental concepts in political science and how these impact public policy. It begins with an overview of why we study political theory and what are the approaches and forms of political theory. It then proceeds to elaborate in a detailed manner on the key concepts of ‘Liberty’, ‘Equality’, ‘Justice’, ‘Rights’ and ‘State and Sovereignty’. Each concept is explained through the thoughts and writings of noted theorists who have deliberated in length on that particular issue with emphasis given on readings of original writings. The course surveys selected works of political theory and explores some of the recurring themes and questions that political theory addresses. This course helps students to understand relations of political science and public policy.

5. Law and Jurisprudence

The course will cover the main nuts and bolts of the legal system and the role that the legal system plays in shaping policy. Along with the structural features of different aspects of the legal system, different philosophical approaches to understanding law will also be explored

6. Policy Formulation, Implementation and Evaluation

This is an introductory course in public policy analysis. It begins with the basics and concisely describes government institutions, identifies principal policy actors, and examines the context in which public policies are made. In this sense, together with internal organizational factors, external factors such as the political, legal, social, and economic environments of public policy making are discussed. The course then provides students with the conceptual frameworks and the analytical models necessary for analyzing the process of public policy making. It discusses the nature of policy analysis and its practice, and illustrates how to employ evaluative criteria in substantive policy areas.
In sum, this course introduces students to the politics of policy making and equips them with the analytic tools necessary to understand how the interests and motivations of policy actors--both within and outside of government--impact an intricate, yet understandable, policy agenda. It exposes students to public policy and policy research and helps them comprehend the processes of policy analysis, program evaluation, and policy recommendation/advocacy.

7. Education Policy

Understanding education policy processes is a complex exercise since it requires understanding the historical legacy, contemporary political and social dynamics, existing theoretical knowledge base, interpretation of problems, comparative perspectives, framing of solutions and also appreciating policies as they are mediated through various institutional structures in practice. This course intends to help students analyse educational policies and their outcomes as embedded in three contexts: the perceived problems, the ideas and assumptions that underlie policy choices and the institutional structures and processes that mediate these policies. The purpose of the course is to enable students to critically reflect upon the policy context, processes, institutions and outcomes, and frame relevant and appropriate questions when presented with a policy proposal or an existing policy instrument. Given the complex and ever-changing education policy landscape in India, the course encourages students to examine the most critical, dominant policy choices vis-à-vis elementary education in India, analyse why certain policies have been formulated at certain points of time, explore the historical, political, social, and conceptual roots of these policy choices and the reasons for their continuities or shifts.

8. Social Structure, Stratification and Institutions

This course will engage students in the treatment of social stratification from the perspectives of theory, structure, and process and their variations in societal and cultural contexts. The course focuses on structural units and the study of social stratification, social formation and social interaction and processes involving social stratification. The major forms of social stratification and their relation to economic and political institutions will be examined. The course will concentrate mainly on the structure of social inequality; hierarchies and status structures; class formation; social mobility; processes of ‘social selection’ and status attainment; social stratification and sub-cultural variations etc. Social stratification in relation to social integration, conflict and change, with special reference to industry and politics will be probed.

9. Public Finance

This course introduces students to the theories in Public Finance, and to understand the potential consequences of policies through these theories. The course also discusses the application of these theories to the Indian economy. The topics covered in this course include: Theory of Social Goods and Role of the State, Public Expenditure, Public Revenue and Taxation, and Public Debt and Fiscal Federalism.

10. Planning and Policymaking in India

Institutional mechanisms and structures play a critical role in transforming policy rhetoric into policy outcomes. This course introduces the students to the key institutional mechanisms and structures that contribute to realization of policy goals and in turn influence the policies in India. The course will explore Indian political and administrative systems, and discuss the role and contributions of various policy tools and mechanisms employed for Planning and Policy making in India. The varied facets of Indian government and politics are discussed to understand how various political, socio-economic, cultural, infrastructural, technological and global factors determine institutional change and its evolution, and how this has impacted its performance over time. Budgets, Five Year Plans and NITI Aayog are important institutional mechanisms that are central to the implementation of the policy goals. In addition, the structures established through the process of decentralization allow for effective implementation of policies at the local level. In recent times, programmes run in a mission mode have been the channel to translate policies into action. This course will enable the student to critically examine these institutional mechanisms and structures, their characteristics, dynamics and delivery in India.
This course will focus on the different facets of human development: education, health, gender, the family, land relations, risk, informal and formal norms and institutions. While studying each of these topics, it will ask: What determines the decisions of poor households in developing countries? What constraints are they subject to? Is there a scope for policy (by government, international organizations, or NGOs)? What policies have been tried out? Have they been successful?

11. Women and Development

Gender relations are defined and shaped by institutional domains such as family and kinship, state, market and community. This course aims to explore key analytical debates in the field of women, gender and development to understand how gender issues pervade developmental policies. Starting with an overview of the significant conceptual approaches to women and gender studies, the course will discuss issues of sex-ratio, and women’s citizenship, political representation, access to health and education, employment and role in production. The students will be acquainted with the debates around power, poverty and gender equality leading to an understanding of shift in developmental studies from women in development to gender and development.

12. Environmental Policy

Only the seriously disillusioned would deny that the planet and its inhabitants are in trouble. The delicate balance of the various cyclic biogeochemical processes is under threat and human economic activity has left its mark on the home planet to an extent that the current geological age is now known as the Anthropocene. Governments around the world have long recognized the gravity of environmental concerns and their effects on welfare, and the area emerged as an important sector of policymaking activity in the 1970s.
Since then, though, both environmental problems and policy responses have grown in complexity. Rising awareness of environmental challenges has gone hand in hand with increasing intractability and widening political polarization regarding the balance of key values at stake. In that backdrop, the study of the range of policy responses at the disposal of governments assumes critical importance.
This is among the broadest policy areas and the course attempts to cover that breadth, from pollution and conservation to energy and recycling. Also, it covers contexts across the range of policy maturity in terms of policy principles. Besides learning about the policy sector, the course also serves as a broad overview of the elements of public policy in an applied manner. 

13. Health Policy

This course aims to acquaint students with health care systems and health policies across the globe, focusing on developing countries like India. The course will discuss various institutions and actors that are involved in health policy formulation as well as implementation, and explore the interplay between these. It will discuss the issues of health economics, health insurance, individual rights, and access and quality of health care. A critical comparison of health care systems and policies across the globe will provide an understanding of diverse facets of health management. A few significant health care plans and policies will be evaluated to explore the effects of lifestyle in global north and south.

14. Applying Economic History

Much of the course will explore data and trends that have only been published in recent years and attend debates that are yet to be settled. A typical class will look at the cost of a daily necessity like indoor illumination relative to the median income through the ages. Or, the GDP of major world regions since the year 1 AD. Or, why seven-generation social mobility seems to have been slow and virtually identical across regions as historically diverse as Sweden, USA, India and China.
For the other part of the course we will be studying the methods and measurement techniques involved, with a major assignment to practice them. The course is built on the works of contemporary economists such as Angus Maddison, Douglass North, Gregory Clark, Robert Allen, Robert Fogel and Peter Bernstein with updates from Peter Lindert, Thomas Rawski, Susan Carter and others. The odd journalist and John Maynard Keynes will put in an appearance.
Whether you are buoyed by Pinkerian optimism or slumping under Pikettian despair, this course works towards authoritative answers to those pub-conversation staples: “how did we get here?” (Or, “how did they get out of that?”)

15. Poverty, Inequality and Social Policy

Social Policy in a development context is the overarching framework of a wide-ranging inquiry into social policy that is developmental, democratic and socially inclusive. It is increasingly evident that social policy has a significance that goes beyond even the valid concerns about basic equity and minimal living standards, which form part of the social and economic rights of citizens. This course will explore the interplay between democracy and social policy from the perspective of state and market and civil society and focus on the role of democratic forces in the development of social policy.

16. E-governance

Electronic government or “e-Government” is defined as the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in government to provide public services and to improve managerial effectiveness. Governments use ICTs for the exchange of information with citizens and businesses. E-Government utilizes technology to accomplish reform by fostering transparency, eliminating distance and other divides, and empowering people to participate in the political and administrative processes that affect their lives. The preliminary objective of this course is to introduce the technology of e-government with an in-depth examination of various government initiatives and train the student to develop the ability to discuss current electronic government issues and trends.

17. Policy Analysis Project

The project is an independent study course. Students will work in close consultation with an assigned faculty supervisor through the semester, but they are personally responsible for all the learning elements, research work and meeting mutually agreed deadlines for all components. Demonstrated analytical acumen and effective communication will carry comparable weights in the assessment of reports and presentations.

18. Behavioral Economics

The objective of the course is to provide an understanding of significant concepts in behavioural economics. It is a novel field in Economics which explores cases where traditional economics fails to be replicated in the real world. Learning models in economics are critical to understand the analytical setup of the subject but this course aims to provide some intuition into how real world applications may not sometimes mimic standard textbook models.

19. Global Economy & Public Policy

National borders enclose clusters of economic activity inside jurisdictions. For various reasons explored at length in this course, these otherwise closed and diverse systems enter into trade with each other and the trade links give rise to a much larger global economic system. Those links have also long enabled exchanges that are not strictly or primarily economic.

This course covers international trade theory, globalization trends and related public policy. The focuses of the first part of the course are some of the main theoretical models of international trade and some of the salient issues in trade policy. We shall also study how foreign trade directly affects several other spheres of domestic policy - social, environmental, monetary and others.
The latter half of the course switches to contemporary challenges in an increasingly globalized world and wavering opinions on them. It is a platitude to say the world is getting smaller and everyone or their aunt has an anecdote to bear it out. But what does that mean in practical, economic terms? More importantly, what does a globalized world mean for countries going about their own domestic business? We will look at globalization both as a socioeconomic phenomenon and as an arc in human history. Lastly, we relate some of the chief global trends, especially the rising clout of multinational companies, to their influence in sovereign matters.
Students will be expected to stay on top of weighty and thorny geopolitical matters – the course includes a fun way to ensure it – and will be exposed to current polarizing debates on specific aspects of trade and globalization.