Public Policy Studies
Undergraduate Program Director: Richard Taub, G-B 223,
Senior Lecturer: James Leitzel, G-B 225, 702-8555
Administrative Assistant: Lee Price, G-B 218-B, 702-7134,
World Wide Web: www-college.uchicago.edu/Programs/CollegePublicPolicy
Program of Study
Public policy studies offers College students
an opportunity to pursue interdisciplinary study of domestic
and international policy issues. The primary disciplines
among the teaching faculty are economics, political science,
and sociology. Course work emphasizes the application of
these disciplines to real-world policy issues.
The program of study for the Bachelor of
Arts degree in public policy studies is designed to introduce
students to policy analysis and implementation, equip them
to use quantitative and economic techniques and methods,
train them in policy research, and give them a command of
at least one particular policy area.
Students may focus their interests on domestic
policy concerns or on international or foreign matters.
Those interested in domestic issues can assemble an outstanding
selection of courses from offerings in political science,
economics, and sociology. For example, students can specialize
in urban problems, the influence of the labor market, the
family, and social attitudes on the status of various income
and racial groups. As a further example, students can specialize
in policy implementation, taking courses in the economics
of public management, organizational decision making, and
complex organizations, among others.
The program also encourages students to
have an internship experience either during the academic
year or during the summer. Public Policy 296 offers academic
course credit for students completing an approved, policy-oriented
internship. Students may inquire about internship opportunities
and requirements through the program's administrative assistant.
First Year. During the first or
second year, all students must take one full year of calculus.
Second Year. The following three-quarter
sequence, which is usually taken in the second year, is
required of all students in the program.
Public Policy 221. Politics and Policy
Public Policy 222. Public Policy Analysis
Public Policy 223. Problems of Policy Implementation
Students are also required to take Economics
200 (The Elements of Economic Analysis I) no later than
the autumn quarter of their second year. Students are encouraged
to also take at least one additional economics course; appropriate
courses include Economics 201, 202, 270, and 271.
Third Year. In the third year, students
may complete the following courses:
1. At least one course in statistics.
Students are strongly encouraged to take Statistics 220,
especially if they anticipate taking several economics
courses or the more analytical political science courses.
Statistics 200 is an acceptable substitute for Statistics
220. A second statistics course is recommended. Students
should consult with the undergraduate program director
for help in selecting appropriate courses from the many
statistics courses offered by the University.
2. Courses in an area of specialization.
Students are required to complete three substantive policy
courses that make up a specialization in a public policy
field. Students may meet the specialization requirement
in one of two ways: (1) by taking three courses that logically
connect (for example, courses in urban politics, urban
economics, and urban society would count as an urban specialization;
or courses in international relations, international finance,
and history of the common market might be an international
specialty); or (2) by taking three courses beyond the
introductory course in one discipline other than public
policy. (Common choices here are economics, political
science, sociology, and statistics. Two of these courses
should be taken in the third year.)
3. Research practicum.
Students must participate in a two-quarter practicum (Field
Research Project, Public Policy 262-263). This is a group
project that exposes students to real-world policy-making
questions. Students are given responsibility for particular
aspects of the research project, and the final report
integrates the findings. In previous years, practicums
have dealt with the employment and housing conditions
facing Latinos in metropolitan Chicago, juvenile recidivism,
and patterns of racial integration and segregation in
the suburbs of Chicago.
Fourth Year. Students must write
a B.A. paper in the fourth year. Ordinarily, the B.A. paper
should not be an expansion of the third-year research study.
In the spring quarter of the third year or early in the
fourth year, students who plan to write a B.A. paper should
seek a faculty adviser for the project.
Further assistance is available in a seminar
course (Public Policy 298) offered in the autumn quarter
and required of all concentrators. The seminar informs students
about sources and methods of research. During the second
half of the course, students offer preliminary statements
about the mode of inquiry, sources, and treatment of evidence
for their B.A. papers. Students may take as many as two
quarters of Public Policy 299 (B.A. Preparation: Public
Policy) for elective credit.
Courses. Many policy-related courses
in political science, economics, sociology, education, and
history count towards the concentration requirements when
used as "specialization" courses. Examples of courses frequently
All economics courses
Education 217/317, 218/318, 258/458,
266/366, 267/367, 308, 391
History 177, 186, 196, 249/349, 280/380,
Political Science 205, 216, 220, 222,
223, 241, 244, 247, 259/356, 270, 274, 278, 281, 288,
291, 294, 295, 296, 339, 340, 341
Sociology 203/304, 209/331, 213/320,
214, 218, 225, 227/361, 230/338, 235/335, 238, 240, 241,
243, 244, 259, 264, 265, 267/367, 269, 271/371, 273, 275/337,
If you are in doubt about other courses,
please consult the undergraduate program director or administrative
Summary of Requirements
||Math 131-132 or equivalent
||Math 133 or equivalent
|| Econ 200
||(or more) courses in statistics
||courses in an area of specialization
||PubPol 262-263 (research practicum)
||PubPol 298 (Senior Seminar)
Credit may be granted by examination.
It is recommended that students take an
additional course in economics (Economics 201 or 202).
Grading. All courses counting toward
the public policy concentration must be taken for letter
grades unless students have prior approval for P/F
grading from the undergraduate program director.
Honors. All seniors are candidates
for honors. Students are recommended for honors if their
B.A. papers are of substantial quality and their grade point
average in the concentration is 3.0 or above. Students wishing
to graduate with special honors must submit the final drafts
of their B.A. papers to two faculty readers by the beginning
of the sixth week of the quarter in which they wish to graduate.
Charles E. Bidwell, William
Claude Reavis Professor, Departments of Education and Sociology,
Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies,
and the College; Director, Ogburn/Stouffer Center for the
of Population and Social Organization at the National Opinion
Don Coursey, Professor, Irving B. Harris Graduate School
of Public Policy Studies and the College
Doris B. Holleb, Professorial Lecturer, Social Sciences
Collegiate Division and the Committee on Geographical Studies
D. Gale Johnson, Eliakim Hastings Moore Distinguished Service
Professor Emeritus, Department of Economics and the College;
Chairman, Economics Program in the College
Edward O. Laumann, George Herbert Mead Distinguished Service
Professor, Department of Sociology and the College; Chairman,
Department of Sociology
JAMES LEITZEL, Senior Lecturer in the Social Sciences Collegiate
Howard Margolis, Professor, Irving B. Harris Graduate School
of Public Policy Studies and the College
John Padgett, Associate Professor, Department of Political
Science and the College
Harold A. Richman, Hermon Dunlap Smith Professor, School
of Social Service Administration and the College; Director,
Chapin Hall Center for Children at the National Opinion
Lloyd I. Rudolph, Professor, Department of Political Science
and the College
Duncan Snidal, Associate Professor, Department of Political
Science, Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy
Studies, and the College; Director, Program on International
Politics, Economics, & Security;
Chairman, Committee on International Relations
Richard P. Taub, Paul Klapper Professor of Social Sciences
in the College; Professor, Departments of Sociology and
Human Development; Chairman, Public Policy Studies in the
College; Research Associate, Ogburn/Stouffer Center for
the Study of Population and Social Organization at the National
Opinion Research Center
George S. Tolley, Professor, Department of Economics
Robert Townsend, Charles E. Merriam Professor, Department
of Economics and the College
KENNETH WONG, Associate Professor, the Department of Education
and the College
218. Economics and Environmental Policy
(=EnvStd 218, PubPol 218). PQ: Econ 198 or higher.
This course combines basic microeconomic theory and tools
with contemporary environmental and resources issues and
controversies to examine and analyze public policy decisions
and the decision-making process. It develops both positive
and normative frameworks to evaluate environmental regulations
and to understand political economy responses. Theoretical
points include externalities, public goods, common-property
resources, valuing resources, and benefit (cost analysis
and risk assessment). Environmental topics include pollution,
global climate changes, energy use and conservation, recycling
and waste management, endangered species, nonrenewable resources,
congestion, economic growth and the environment, and equity
impacts of public policies. A. Sanderson. Spring.
221. Politics and Policy (=PolSci 282,
PubPol 221). PubPol 221-222-223 may be taken in sequence
or individually. Public policy choices interact with
politics in obvious ways (e.g., elections) but also in subtler
ways, turning especially on how organizations work and what
governs persuasion and belief. This course surveys some
key aspects of these interactions. H. Margolis. Autumn.
222. Public Policy Analysis (=Econ
278, PubPol 222). Econ 200. PubPol 221-222-223 may
be taken in sequence or individually. This course reviews
and augments the basic tools of microeconomics developed
in Econ 200, and applies these tools to policy problems.
We examine situations in which private markets are likely
to produce unsatisfactory results, suggesting a potential
rationale for government intervention. The goal is to allow
students to comprehend, develop, and respond to economics
arguments (both their strengths and their weaknesses) when
formulating or evaluating public policy. J. Leitzel.
223. Problems of Public Policy Implementation
(=PolSci 249, PubPol 223, Sociol 340). PQ: PubPol
221-222-223 may be taken in sequence or individually. This
course is a systematic examination of the interplay among
the executive, the administrator, the legislator, and the
public as these relationships affect policy and its undertaking.
The emphasis is on the politics of administration, as well
as those political forces that organize around the implementer
of public policies. R. Taub. Spring.
225. Environmental Policy (=EnvStd 247,
LL/Soc 289, PubPol 225). This course examines social,
economic, and political forces that shape our nation's efforts
to protect the natural environment. Focusing on policy responses
to issues such as wilderness protection, industrial pollution,
and land use, the course is intended to lead to a critical
appraisal of the ways in which our society relates to the
natural world. L. Raymond. Winter.
226. The Environment in U.S. Politics
(=EnvStd 241, NCD 241, PolSci 203, PubPol 226). Environmental
policy has frequently been forged amidst major public controversy.
This course will consider the role played by environmental
issues and ideas in United States politics from the late
eighteenth century to the present. These issues are analyzed
in the context of changing social values and political priorities
regarding the relationship between humans and the natural
world. L. Raymond. Autumn.
230. Organizational Analysis (=PubPol
230, Sociol 209/331). This course is a systematic introduction
to theoretical and empirical work on organizations, broadly
conceived, such as public and private economic organizations,
governmental organizations, prisons, health-care organizations,
and professional and voluntary associations. Topics include
intraorganizational questions about organizational goals
and effectiveness, communication, authority, and decision
making. Using recent developments in market, political economy,
and neoinstitutional theories, we explore organizational
change and interorganizational relationships for their implications
in understanding social change in modern societies. E.
231. Environmental Law (=EnvStd 231,
LL/Soc 231, PubPol 231). PQ: Third- or fourth-year
standing, or consent of instructor. This lecture/discussion
course examines the development of laws and legal institutions
that address environmental problems and advance environmental
policies. Topics include the common law background to traditional
environmental regulation; the explosive growth and impact
of federal environmental laws in the second half of the
twentieth century; regulations and the urban environment;
and the evolution of local and national legal structures
in response to global environmental change. H. L. Henderson.
232. The Economics of Crime (=Econ 287,
PubPol 232). PQ: Econ 199 or 201 required. Stat 220
or Econ 210 strongly recommended. This course uses theoretical
and empirical economic tools to analyze a wide range of
issues related to criminal behavior. Among the topics examined
are police, prisons, gang behavior, guns, drugs, capital
punishment, labor markets and the macroeconomy, and income
inequality. Special emphasis is devoted to analyzing the
optimal role for public policy. S. Levitt. Spring.
236/336. Political Sociology (=PolSci
232, PubPol 236/336, Sociol 235/335). PQ: Prior general
social sciences course. This course provides analytical
perspectives on citizen-preference theory, public choice,
group theory, bureaucrats and state-centered theory, coalition
theory, elite theories, and political culture. These competing
analytical perspectives are assessed in considering middle-range
theories and empirical studies on central themes of political
sociology. Local, national, and cross-national analyses
are explored. T. Clark. Spring.
241. Public Policy and the Arts.
This course examines art in its social context from the
perspectives of artists, patrons, experts, art institutions,
the art market, and audiences. We address how public policy
has shaped the arts in the United States in different eras,
with a focus on the nature and significance of contemporary
art controversies. B. Farrell. Spring.
242. Global Environmental Politics (=EnvStd
249, NCD 211, PolSci 211, PubPol 242). This course offers
an introduction to global environmental politics. Explorations
in selected environmental issue areas are used to identify
the roles, interests, and behavior of main actors such as
states, international organizations, NGOs, and the business
community. Major contemporary debates are introduced that
relate environmental issues to trade liberalization, security,
global justice, and human rights. These analyses provide
students with analytical tools to further explore environmental
issues. H. P. Schmitz. Spring.
244. Is Development Sustainable? (=BigPro
234, EnvStd 244, HiPSS 234, NCD 273, PolSci 212, PubPol
244). PQ: Open to students with no prior Environmental
Studies course. Fourth-year standing and consent of instructor
required. This is a discussion course intended for senior
students without an environmental background. Taught by
an environmental attorney, a philosophical computer professional,
and a biologist, its aim is to develop skills in analyzing
"big problems" that surpass the scope of traditional disciplines
and single paradigms. Big environmental problems include
human population growth, the impact of technology, the conflict
between economic development and the preservation of our
habitat, and choices regarding allocation of resources to
present versus future needs. G. Davis, T. Steck, W. Sterner.
245. Economics of Urban Policies (=Econ
266/365, Geog 266/366, PubPol 245). PQ: Econ 201.
This course covers tools needed to analyze urban economics
and address urban policy problems. Topics include: a basic
model of residential location and rents; income, amenities,
and neighborhoods; homelessness and urban poverty; decisions
on housing purchase versus rental, housing taxation, housing
finance, and landlord monitoring; models of commuting mode
choice; congestion and transportation pricing and policy;
and urban growth, urban environmental externalities, and
Third World cities. G. Tolley. Winter.
246. Economic Development in the Inner
City (=PubPol 246, Sociol 241/353). PQ: At least
one prior course in economics, political science, public
policy, or sociology. This course explores conceptually
what the issues are around the economic position of cities
in the late twentieth century, and how to think creatively
about strategies to generate economic growth that would
have positive consequences for low income residents. We
consider Community Development Corporations, empowerment
zones, housing projects, and business development plans
through credit and technical assistance. R. Taub. Autumn.
247. Family and Policy. In this
course we investigate changes in family life in the United
States in historical and contemporary perspective, with
an emphasis on the ways in which policy has been shaped
by-and, in turn, affects-family norms and practices. Topics
considered include gender roles, work patterns, and welfare
policy; reproductive choices, parenting, and child care;
and current family politics. B. Farrell. Autumn.
248/348. Urban Policy Analysis (=PolSci
256, PubPol 248/348, Sociol 256/329). This course addresses
the explanations available for varying patterns of policies
that cities provide in terms of expenditures and service
delivery. Topics include theoretical approaches and policy
options, migration as a policy option, group theory, citizen
preference theory, incrementalism, economic base influences,
and an integrated model. Also examined are the New York
fiscal crisis and taxpayer revolts, measuring citizen preferences,
service delivery, and productivity. T. Clark. Autumn.
253. Social Welfare in the United States
(=PubPol 253, SocSci 253). This course examines the
evolution of social welfare provisions in American society.
Special emphasis is placed on who is helped and who is not,
in what forms, under what auspices, and with what goals.
The changing nature of helping is analyzed, with particular
attention to the changing role of the state. We focus on
the poor, children and families, and the mentally ill. Some
comparisons are made with other industrialized countries.
H. Richman. Not offered 2000-2001; will be offered 2001-2002.
258. Public Choice (=Econ 269, PolSci
235, PubPol 258). PQ: Knowledge of microeconomics.
This course is an introduction to the literature that
seeks to apply the economic notion of rational choice to
the context of politics and social choice. Some of the authors
covered are Samuelson, Arrow, Buchanan, Olson, and Downs.
H. Margolis. Winter.
260/384. Policy Analysis in Education
(=Educ 266/366, PolSci 230, PubPol 260/384). This course
serves as the analytical foundation for students interested
in education policy. It introduces analytical perspectives
in the study of public policy, with particular emphasis
on education. Among the approaches are institutional analysis,
the bargaining model, the rational actor paradigm, the organizational-bureaucratic
model, and the "policy typology" school. K. Wong. Autumn.
262-263/390-391. Field Research Project
in Public Policy I, II (=PolSci 286-287, PubPol 262-263/390-391).
PQ: Open to non-public policy studies concentrators
with consent of instructor. Must be taken in sequence for
two separate grades, one for each quarter. Students
work on a research team to prepare a report on an important
public policy problem for a governmental agency, large public-interest
group, or community-based organization. This project includes
development and implementation of a research strategy designed
to answer the policy questions. The objective is preparation
of a publishable report. Projects in recent years have focused
on refugee resettlement, welfare reform, and community development
on the South Side of Chicago. A. R. Datta. Winter, Spring.
266/367. Critical Issues in Education
(=Educ 267/367, PubPol 266/367). This course focuses
on contemporary issues in educational policy in the broader
political and institutional context. Possible topics include
federal policy development and implementation; reform at
the state level (school finance, academic excellence, and
teacher competency); racial equity and school desegregation
(progress and prospects); public-private school differences
and policy proposals; and big-city school politics (race,
unions, and the economy). For each topic, two or three major
works are selected for more in-depth examination. Scholarly
research frames the discussion, along with an evaluation
of contemporary policy recommendations from both governmental
and nongovernmental sources. K. Wong. Spring.
267. Metropolitan Development and Planning
(=Geog 267/367, PubPol 267, Sociol 247). PQ: Third-
or fourth-year standing. This course focuses on metropolitan
development patterns and the interplay of geopolitical,
economic, and social changes in U.S. cities after 1950.
Intergovernmental relations, and concepts and institutions
of urban planning are also explored. Selected policies for
economic development, land-use management, housing, education,
transportation, energy, and the environment are analyzed
by region. D. Holleb. Spring.
268. The New Genetics and Women: Ethical
and Social Issues (=BioSci 267, GendSt 285, PubPol 268,
SSA 347). This course identifies clinical, ethical,
and social implications for women of advances in genetics.
Topics include preimplantation genetic diagnosis, prenatal
testing and interventions, sex selection, misattributed
paternity, testing for complex and late onset disorders,
gender differences in attitudes about genetic ties, gene
therapy, behavioral genetics, access to genetic services,
and human cloning. Illustrative cases are discussed, and
policy recommendations regarding the various topics are
reviewed and critiqued. M. Mahowald. Autumn.
270. Introduction to International Economics
(=Econ 270, PubPol 270). PQ: Econ 201 and 202, or
consent of instructor. This course deals with the pure
theory of international trade: the real side of international
economics. Topics include the basis for gains from trade;
the theory of comparative advantage; effects of international
trade on distribution of income, tariffs, and other barriers
to trade; and the role of exchange rates. L. Sjaastad.
271. Economies in Transition: China,
Russia, and Beyond (=Econ 279, PubPol 271). PQ: Econ
200 or consent of instructor. The ongoing postsocialist
transitions are discussed in this course, particularly those
of Russia and China. The basic tool of analysis is the emerging
"economics of transition." Various programs of macroeconomic
stabilization, price liberalization, and privatization are
analyzed, and their effects on inflation, unemployment,
and living standards are assessed. We cover issues highlighted
in the "post-Washington consensus" (e.g., corporate governance,
competition policy, and the role of the state). J. Leitzel.
272. Policy Reform. PQ: Econ
201 or PubPol 222. Policy makers are rarely in a position
to design policy on a tabula rasa; rather, there is a preexisting
policy in place, and the job of policy makers is to consider
amendments to this status quo. Policy reforms exhibit similarities,
and these general features can be identified and analyzed.
Questions addressed include: What policies are selected
for reform? Why are necessary reforms often delayed? What
is the basis for frequent claims about the futility of proposed
policy reforms? What role does the evasion of existing policies
have on policy reform? How and, in what manner, does crisis
management engender reform? J. Leitzel. Spring.
273. Regulation of Vice (=Econ 273,
PubPol 273). PQ: Econ 200. This course concerns
government policy with respect to the traditional vices
of drinking, smoking, gambling, illicit sex, and the recreational
use of drugs. Among the policies considered are prohibition,
taxation, treatment, decriminalization, and legalization.
The intellectual framework employed to evaluate various
policies is primarily economic, though other disciplines
are also drawn upon. J. Leitzel. Spring.
279. Global-Local Politics (=PolSci
251, PubPol 279, Sociol 279/379). Globalizing and local
forces are generating a new politics in the United States
and around the world. This course explores this new politics
by mapping its emerging elements: the rise of social issues,
ethno-religious and regional attachments, environmentalism,
gender and life-style identity issues, new social movements,
transformed political parties and organized groups, and
new efforts to mobilize individual citizens. We also analyze
where and why such new patterns emerge. T. Clark. Winter.
283/383. Health Economics and Public
Policy (=Bus 857, Econ 277, PubPol 283/383, SSA 477).
PQ: Econ 201 or higher, and consent of instructor.
This course analyzes the economics of health care in the
United States with particular attention paid to the role
of government. The first part of the course examines the
demand for health care and the structure and consequences
of public and private health insurance. The second part
of the course examines the supply of health care, including
professional training, licensure, specialization and compensation,
hospital competition and finance, and the determinants and
consequences of technical change in medicine. The course
concludes with an examination of recent proposals and initiatives
for health care reform. D. Meltzer. Spring.
286/375. Problems of Economic Policy
in Developing Countries (=Econ 256, PubPol 286/375). PQ:
Econ 201 and 202, or consent of instructor. This course
focuses on the application of economic analysis to economic
policy issues frequently encountered in developing countries.
Topics include sources of economic growth, commercial policy,
regional economic integration, inflation and stabilization,
the problem of fiscal deficits, the choice of the exchange
rate regime, and the international debt problem. L. Sjaastad.
296. Internship: Public Policy. PQ:
Consent of program director. Open only to public policy
studies concentrators. Students are required to submit the
College Reading and Research Course Form. Must be taken
for a P/F grade. Students must make arrangements
with the program director before beginning
the internship. After working for a government agency
or not-for-profit organization, students write a paper about
the experience. Staff. Autumn, Winter, Spring.
297. Reading and Research: Public Policy.
PQ: Open only to public policy studies concentrators.
Students are required to submit the College Reading and
Research Course Form. Staff. Autumn, Winter, Spring.
298. Senior Seminar. PQ: Open
only to fourth-year public policy studies concentrators.
Must be taken for a letter grade. Staff. Autumn.
299. B.A. Paper Preparation: Public
Policy. PQ: Open only to fourth-year public
policy studies concentrators. Students are required to submit
the College Reading and Research Course Form. Staff. Autumn,
The following 300 level courses are
also open to College students.
392. Social Policy in Europe, 1815 to
the Present (=Educ 391, Hist 249/349, PubPol 392). This
course examines the antecedents, evaluation, and alleged
"crises" of the welfare state, with emphasis on policies
concerning education, the family, the labor market, income
distribution, health, and regional development. Themes include
the social, intellectual, and political origins of social
policies; the diffusion of various models of the welfare
state; and the ways in which social policies have interacted
with the opportunities and choices of individuals and private
corporate actors. We consider efforts to develop a theory
of the welfare state, including structural-functionalism,
neo-Marxist political economy, historical sociology, the
"new" institutional economics, and public choice theory.
J. Craig. Winter.
393. Educational Organization and Social
Inequality (=Educ 218/318, PubPol 393, Sociol 230/338).
This course presents a review of formulations of education's
place in the system of social stratification and focuses
on the organization of school systems, schools, and classrooms.
Attention is given to the ways conceptions of educational
organization and of stratification can be related to each
other. C. Bidwell. Spring.
397. The Institution of Education (=Educ
217/317, PubPol 397, Sociol 275/337). This course is
a general survey of the properties of education considered
as an institution of historical and contemporary societies.
Particular attention is given to institutional formation
and change in education and to education's role in processes
of social control and social stratification. C. Bidwell.