Social Policy (API6315)

Resource and power inequalities reduce the opportunities of groups and individuals, including those not yet born, to improve their wellbeing. Social policy is a key policy area that contributes to reducing inequalities caused by economic, demographic, social or other forces. Broadly defined, social policy encompasses government interventions in tax and transfer systems, labour markets, social protection, education, health, housing and social services. This course aims to advance your understanding of social policy and how to do social policy analysis. You will:

  • Engage with theories discussing the major challenges that we face as a society, like poverty, inequality, disadvantage, work insecurity, and joblessness. For instance, you will learn about theories of justice, (the measurement) of poverty and inequality, power-resource theories on welfare states and the economics of welfare states.
  • Develop skills to critically analyse public policy and think creatively about alternatives to problems. For instance, drawing from provincial, national and international experiences, you will learn the concepts and tools to analyze social sector programs and you will gain insight into the diverse ways such programs are implemented across jurisdictions.
  • Acquire a variety of skills that are transferable to many other professional fields. For instance, you will gain experience chairing a meeting, making an annotated outline, crafting a one minute elevator pitch and doing back-of-the-envelope calculations to quantify the costs and effects of a social program.

Master students from other programs at the faculty of social sciences are very welcome to participate in this elective course of the Public and International Affairs program.

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Economics for public management and policy (API5100)

This course has been specially designed to meet the needs of graduate students in public policy who may have had only limited exposure to economics during their undergraduate studies. It aims to provide participants with the skills and knowledge to understand and critically assess public policy debates dealing with both micro and macro-economic issues, as well as to enroll in more advanced courses in economic theory. To support this learning objective, students will be introduced to the basic principles of economics and learn to apply them to issues in public and international affairs. Specifically, students will be required to read, summarize and critically assess texts in economic theory, public policy, and media reporting, both individually and in groups. Only basic math will be used in the course. Graphs will be heavily relied upon, but will be developed over the course of the semester as the material requires.

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Microeconomics for public policy (API5126)

This course is intended for graduate students who have had limited exposure to economics during their previous studies but who aim to understand the application of microeconomic principles to public policies. During the course, the focus will be on verbal and graphical arguments but some degree of formal analysis will also be included. Although not comparable to an intermediate microeconomics course for economics students in terms of mathematical analysis, the course reaches an intermediate level in the analysis of public policy. This course predominantly follows a Problem-Based Learning (PBL) approach; PBL’s main focus is to generate students that are independent, enterprising problem-solvers.

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International economics and developing countries (API6351)

This course develops the tools and theoretical and empirical knowledge to understand economic development within the context of globalization. More specifically the learning objectives for this course are:

1. Knowledge of the theories, history, and empirical trends relating to globalization and economic development. Economic rationale, criticisms, opportunities, especially as they pertain to developing countries.
2. Apply tools to identify specific issues relevant to economic globalization and analyze their implications for developing countries. Analysis of evidence on what is driving globalization and outcomes for developing countries.
3. Understand concepts and apply tools to assess policies to promote growth and poverty reduction in developing countries in context of globalization. Includes economic and social policy at national level as well as the role of international institutions.
4. Integrate theories and tools in developing the capacity to assess, at the country level, economic development trends, priorities for growth, and policy options. This objective will be served by applying the approach of binding constraints analysis to an analysis of a selected developing country.

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Introduction to the economics of developing countries (ECO2117)

The objective of this course is to help students gain a first insight in how the economists’ toolbox can be used to understand, analyze and influence development processes. It is stressed, however, that a thorough understanding of development cannot be achieved by taking merely an economist’s perspective; philosophical, historical, social, cultural, geographical, environmental and political perspectives are also very important pieces in the complex puzzle of development. The aim is therefore to explain and illustrate the economists’ toolbox within this broader context.

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