Australian Public Policy & Social Outcomes

Course code SPSW3403Units 10Level 3000Faculty of Education and ArtsSchool of Humanities and Social Science

Examines the evidence concerning likely winners and losers from changes in the degree and direction of government intervention in a number of key areas of public policy in Australia. Fields to be studied will include mass media, IT and communications; basic services such as banking, the utilities and transport; urban planning; the environment; and taxation and public finance. Trends towards privatisation and deregulation will be a focus. Categories of winners/losers will include overseas versus local firms; city/rural and remote areas; high/low income earners; the waged/non-waged; and associated gender and ethnicity dimensions of these outcomes.

Not available in 2015

ObjectivesTo equip students to be able to select a policy field and

1. Understand the significance of theoretical frameworks in policy analysis and evaluation, in particular
1.1. Identify key competing theoretical frameworks from disciplines such as political science and sociology (eg pluralist, class, statist, feminist theories of state action).
1.2. Identify the way in which analysts utilising such theoretical perspectives select different empirical data or differ over the interpretation of the same data.
1.3. Independently apply and evaluate rival theoretical frameworks by undertaking empirical research.

2. Analyse policy background: cite and undertake empirical analysis of the structural context of public policy in that field, in particular:
2.1. Outline the economic and sociological context of government activity in that field (eg ownership of service provision, demography of service users).
2.2. Identify elements of the political context of government activity in that field (agenda-setting forces, pressure groups and their arguments, party ideology, electoral polling and vote strategy, the decision-making apparatus, the dynamics of policy debate and struggle).

3. Undertake policy description: describe some of the main components of government activity (legislation, formal policy and underlying philosophy, administrative systems, expenditure and other resource commitments).

4. Undertake policy evaluation: assess or hypothesise the likely impact of existing and/or rival policies on different social groups, including being able to cite relevant sociological data.

5. Effectively communicate the above analysis through contribution to group discussion, oral presentations and written papers.
ContentThe focus of the course will be the influence of economic rationalism in diverse areas of Australian public policy over the past two decades. Topics:
- Evaluating Policy Outcomes: Indicators of Economic, Social and Environmental Well-being
- Australian Political Economy and Public Policy Trends: an Introduction
- Economic poilcy: Analysing and Explaining the Policy-making Process
- Media Policy
- Macro-economic Policy
- Industry Policy
- Industrial Relations
- Education
- Deregulation: Banking
- Competition Policy: Overview
- Competition Policy: Telecommunications
- Privatisation
- Urban Planning
- Environmental Policy
- Winners and Losers
- Alternative Strategies
Replacing Course(s)Replaces HUMA3403 Aus Pub Pol & Social Outcome.
TransitionStudents who have completed HUMA3403 are not eligible to enrol in this course.
Industrial Experience0
Assumed KnowledgeNil
Modes of DeliveryInternal Mode
Teaching MethodsLecture
Assessment Items
Essays / Written Assignments2000 word essay (either policy analysis or policy evaluation cast study) - 45%
Essays / Written Assignments750 word written commentary on coursepack reading/questions - 15%
Group/tutorial participation and contributionParticipation in group discussion - 10%
Other: (please specify)1250 word oral and written summary/commentary on coursepack reading/questions - 30%
Contact HoursTutorial: for 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Lecture: for 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term