Public Policy Analysis

Degree Program: Social Administration/ Social Policy and Administration Pathway (5th semester – compulsory)

Degree Program: Political Science (7th semester – elective)

Teaching hours: 3 per week- ECTS:5

Course tutor:Maria Petmesidou, Professor



The course aims to:

  • Develop an understanding of the principal approaches to the analysis of the public policy process, and particularly of the approaches to social policy evaluation.
  • Reflect critically on evaluation methods and prepare students to apply them to particular policy examples.

Learning outcomes:

On completion of this course:

  • The students should have gained insight into the principal approaches to policy analysis and be able to appraise: (a) the strategic dimension of social planning and the role of evaluation; (b) various approaches to decision-making (rational model, instrumentalism, mixed-scanning model, strategic planning etc.); (c) the analysis of the “implementation” process (e.g. the top-down/bottom-up debate in the study of implementation); and (d) the main methods and techniques of evaluation, as well as the socio-political dimensions of evaluation.
  • Also students should have a good grasp of the steps required for designing an evaluation project; be able to gather empirical data and research/bibliographical evidence from various sources, appropriately assess available “evidence”, synthesize information, and write a report.


The course examines the main theoretical approaches to the study of public policy, the planning cycle, decision-making models and policy implementation. It critically discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the principal evaluation methods and instruments and their application in particular social policy settings. The main characteristics of “performance management”, the use of performance indicators, the method of “cost-benefit analysis” and the measurement of “cost-effectiveness” and “cost-utility” are extensively examined. Other major course topics are: (a) the process of “illuminative evaluation” developed in the context of action-research projects, (b) the evaluation of innovation, and (c) the role of knowledge and “evidence” in the policy process (evidence-based policy).

The course consists of 13 weeks three-hour lectures/seminars during the winter term.

Recommended reading available through the Electronic Service for the Management of Academic Books and Readings (“Eudoxus” – Ministry of Education):

Ladi, S. and Dalakou V., 2011.Public policy analysis. (in Greek, Athens: Papazisis).

Chandler, J.A., 2000. Comparative public administration. (Greek translation, Athens: Papazisis, 2003).

Michalopoulos, N., 2003. From public bureaucracy to public management.Athens: Papazisis (in Greek).

Examinable materialand assessment

(1) Course overheads and notes taken from lectures.

(2) Kassimati, K., 2002. Social planning and evaluation.Athens: Gutenberg (Part B).

(3) Chandler, J.A., 2000. Comparative public administration (Greek translation, Athens: Papazisis, 2003) (Introduction, Chapter 2 and Chapter 11).

(4) Ladi, S. and Dalakou V., 2011. Public policy analysis (in Greek, Athens: Papazisis) (Chapters 1, 3 & 4).

(5) Committee for the Re-examination of Long-term Economic Policy, 1998. Quality in public administration.Athens: National Bank of Greece (see TEXTS).

It is also required that students consult other works included in the reading list (particularly these marked as recommended reading).

Assessment is based on class work and an essay of no more than 1500 words (25%), as well as on a 2-hour written examination in the end of the semester (75%).