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Politics 135: Policy Implementation
Pomona College, Fall 2023
Prof. David Menefee-Libey

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 10:00 - 10:50 am
Carnegie 109

Office: Carnegie 4
Office Hours: Mondays 2:00-4:00, Thursdays 2:00-4:00, and by appointment.
e-mail: DML@pomona.edu or DJML4747@pomona.edu (mail sent to either of these ends up in the same account)

A live version of this syllabus is available online at this link: https://DML.sites.pomona.edu/Implementation.html

Find a list of sites with course-related information, data, and research at https://DML.sites.pomona.edu/DMLresources.html. (Note: there are a lot of links on this page, and I try to do my best to keep them up to date. Please let me know if you run into a dead link, or if you have a suggestion of something I should add.)

Table of Contents for This Syllabus:
Go to Course Requirements, Evaluations, and Deadlines
Go to Class Schedule and Assignments
Go to resources page
Go to guide for case study papers

Course Description and Goals

This course has three purposes. First, as a core course for the Public Policy Analysis major, it introduces students to more rigorous approaches to the study of public policy in the United States. Second, it focuses on two sub-fields of policy analysis -- the study of policy implementation, and policy evaluation -- and gives students an opportunity to explore and apply elements of those scholarly literatures in some depth. Third, it provides an opportunity for students to design and carry out a small case study research project. These are challenging tasks, and this is the most difficult course I teach, but past students have found it to be worth the effort.

This course begins with the premise that politics and policy-making do not end with a policy's enactment, "when a bill becomes a law." Political struggle and policy development continue after enactment and throughout implementation, and often after that in the evaluation of policies. These complex processes are what we're going to study, and you're going to talk and write about. I will assume enrolled students have already taken an introductory course in American politics and/or Public Policy Analysis, and that they have a general understanding of how policy is enacted within the federal government.

The course readings mostly focus on the U.S. federal government's domestic policies, on the assumption that similar frameworks and analyses apply to all levels of government. (In fact, much of the course applies as well to non-governmental institutions like business corporations or non-profit organizations like the Claremont Colleges.) The course also focuses mostly on policies enacted by legislatures and executives. Most course readings will ignore judicially-enacted public policies, as well as international policies and policies enacted outside the United States, though all of those are of course important. Students should feel free to pursue case studies of judicial policy implementation and evaluation if they wish.

This is a social science class. I will expect you to learn several empirical theories about how the development and implementation of public policy tends to actually work in the real world, and some approaches to empirically-grounded policy evaluation. Further, I will expect you to develop your ability to derive and test empirical hypotheses from those theories with observations and data about the real world. Social science is also a normative field: I will expect you to learn some normative theories about what is valuable and important in public policy, and to develop your ability to apply those theories rigorously to evaluate the observations and data you encounter this semester, especially in your own case study. We will occasionally consider legal and constitutional aspects of public policy, but these will not be our main focus. Our policy discussions will often rely heavily on quantitative and qualitative data gathered by researchers, you, and your fellow students, so I presume that all enrolled students will comfortably and carefully analyze such data in a disciplined way. You should demonstrate a low tolerance for baloney, even baloney you find comforting or that you'd like to agree with. Conversely, you should show respect for reliable data you find discomforting or that you'd like to disagree with. If you do not want to do those things, you shouldn't take the class (or do policy analysis, tbh).

The class will be somewhat reading intensive. I want you to continue to develop your ability to read critically as you work through the assignments and your own investigations. This will require that you read "with the grain," that you read to understand what the authors are trying to say and how their work relates to others you encounter. It will also require that you read "against the grain," to rigorously assess the strengths and weaknesses of authors' work and to consider what arguments or data might challenge them. I expect we will all bring such diverse readings to our discussions and writing.

The following required course books are available for purchase through the Huntley Bookstore:

*I have also placed several readings on the Claremont Colleges' Sakai site. I have marked those readings with an *asterisk in this syllabus.

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Politics 135: Policy Implementation
Pomona College, Fall 2023
Prof. David Menefee-Libey

Requirements, Evaluations, and Deadlines

Assignments and Grading: This course requires that you complete a variety of assignments, and I will evaluate you in a variety of ways throughout the semester.

1. Class participation (ungraded). The success of the course will depend in part on active participation in our discussions. I want you to do the assignments and prepare yourself to discuss them in class. Being a student in a liberal arts college means you have a responsibility not only to learn for yourself, but to engage and teach each other through observation, questions, comments, constructive criticism and analysis. I will therefore especially value contributions to our discussions which: In other words, I want you to talk, but not just to talk for the sake of talking. Think about what you and others in the class are saying. "Step up" and "step back" as the conversation warrants.

2. Daily Forum entries (20%). For every day the class meets, you will post a one- or two-sentence observation or reflection about the day's reading on the Sakai Forum by midnight the day before class. Your classmates and I will read them as we prepare for class discussion that day. Forum postings cannot be made up after absences (because nobody will see them), but I will excuse students for legitimate reasons.

3. Project-based papers (80% in all). You will complete several different papers for the course, all linking theories and methods you'll encounter in the course readings with your case study project. Your papers and presentations should (1) show clear knowledge and understanding of the policy you're working on, and (2) explain that policy using concepts and theories from the course readings. Your papers will build from one to the next:
For detailed prompts on each of these papers, see https://dml.sites.pomona.edu/ImplementationPaperDetails.html.

All papers must be uploaded to your Sakai "dropbox" by the end of the day on the dates below. (Please don't ask Sakai to send me an email notifying me of your submission.) Important: the file name of the paper you post to your Sakai dropbox matters. Format it like this: Imp.Paper#.LastName.docx, as in Imp.Paper1.Oppenheimer.docx. This may seem picky and trivial, but I'll really appreciate you doing it because I'll receive so many papers this semester that it's easy for me to lose track of the ones that aren't named this way. Please, also submit your paper as an MS Word-compatible document (not Apple Pages, Google Doc, or PDF), so I can insert comments into the document file. Any word processor you use will let you save your file in this format.

Academic collaboration and academic honesty: I hope you study with other people in the class and discuss the substance of the course with them. As you do that, I encourage you to read each other's paper drafts and to give advice to each other. When you do that, acknowledge in a footnote those who have helped you. If you draw on a specific idea from someone else, cite them specifically in a footnote, just as you would cite any source you find helpful.

I also encourage you to read Pomona College's Academic Honesty Policy, which you learned about in your ID1 class and which you can find online at in the college catalog. We actually do have an honor code, and it's important.

Major Milestones:

Note: I will only grant extensions by negotiation at least one week in advance. Beyond that, you have three grace days this semester. That is, you have three extension days (including weekend days) to use any time you choose during the term. These will operate on an honor system: I will trust you to tell me when you are taking a grace day, and to keep track yourself of how many you have used. Once they are used up, I will penalize assignments 10% for each day they are late unless I have granted an additional extension. Though these papers are mostly due later in the semester, they all take some time to put together. Be sure to pace your work.


1. Sunday Afternoon Study Space: I have reserved Carnegie 110 from 2:00 to 4:00 every Sunday afternoon for the whole semester. Partly, it's a help session: I'll meet on a first-come-first-served basis one-on-one with students in my classes about their papers, research, thesis projects, and internship issues. Partly, it's just a supportive study space: all students are welcome, you don't even need to talk with me, and you can stay any or all of that time to work on your projects and classes with other PPA and Politics students.

2. The Library: Though most students do most of their research online alone and unassisted, the Claremont Colleges actually has a library with amazing resources and a staff of trained research librarians who can be of tremendous assistance to you in your work. One of these librarians, Mary Martin, has kindly created an entire resource page on U.S. government at https://libguides.libraries.claremont.edu/government. Dieter Mackenbach, another librarian there, has created one resource page on public policy at https://libguides.libraries.claremont.edu/PublicPolicyAnalysis, and another for political science courses at https://libguides.libraries.claremont.edu/PoliSci. If you're every interested in doing research on US politics, I urge you to start there, and to make an individual appointment with Ms. Martin, Mr. Mackenbach, or one of their colleagues. They can help you find things you would never otherwise find, and they can save you countless hours of unnecessary wandering on the Internet. Librarians can also help you with Zotero and with citation challenges.

3. Zotero: Zotero is free, open-source, public domain bibliographic and citation software that works in most browsers and word processing programs. You download it from https://zotero.org, where you can also find links to instructional videos, faqs, problem-solving threads, and access to free cloud storage for your own bibliographic archive. The Claremont Colleges Library also offers extensive support for students installing and learning to use Zotero at https://library.claremont.edu/zotero/. If you haven't already installed Zotero on your own computer and started using it for research projects and papers, I'd strongly urge you to do it immediately. It will help you immensely with this class and any other research project you do.

4. The Center for Speaking, Writing, and the Image (CSWIM, formerly The Writing Center) will open at full capacity after the second week of the semester, but will be holding limited appointments and drop-in hours as soon as classes begin. CSWIM peers meet one-on-one with students to talk about their work and provide feedback at any stage of their preparation process. Trained to think deeply about written, oral, and visual rhetoric and communication, these student peers facilitate conversations about everything from ID1 papers to senior theses, lab reports to creative writing, giving presentations to developing strategies for reading and engaging more deeply and confidently in class discussion. The CSWIM also offers specialized writing and speaking support for multilingual students navigating English as an additional language. (Email Jenny.Thomas@pomona.edu for more information about that.) To make an appointment with a Writing, Speaking, or Image Partner, please log onto the Portal and go to Academics > Writing Center. The email contact address is: writing.center@pomona.edu. They offer both in-person and virtual appointments, and have regular drop-in hours in Smith Campus Center 148. The website is: https://www.pomona.edu/administration/writing-center.

5. The Quantitative Skills Center (QSC) provides academic support to Pomona College students in courses that feature a large degree of quantitative and/or scientific reasoning through our QSC Partners Program. QSC partners meet one-on-one with students to provide support for a variety of Pomona courses for course specific help. The QSC also offers non-course specific help in general quantitative skills and offers consultations for projects and theses involving quantitative methods. Additionally, Dr. Travis Brown, Director of the QSC, and Dr. Dylan Worcester, Associate Director of the QSC, are available to meet with you regarding your success in STEM at Pomona College. To make an appointment at the QSC, please visit pomona.mywconline.com, or contact us at qsc@pomona.edu. The QSC is located in SCC (Smith Campus Center) 228.

6. The Sage Fellows Program is available to help all Pomona students become more effective and efficient learners. This program offers individual academic coaches, weekly drop-in office hours (no appointment required), and workshops designed to help students achieve academic success. Sage Fellows can assist students with: time management; organization; study habits and strategies; reading and note-taking skills; motivation and procrastination; stress management and wellness strategies; and more fully accessing campus resources. Pomona College students may apply to meet with a Sage Fellow by completing the Sage Fellow Meeting Request Form. Contact: Hector.Sambolin@pomona.edu or stop by SCC 228. The Sage Fellow website is: https://www.pomona.edu/administration/sage-fellows-peer-academic-coaches.

7. Accommodations and Disability Services (ADS): I try to do my best to welcome every student into my classroom, and to be committed to the full inclusion of anyone who may need an accommodation based on the impact of disability including mental health, chronic or temporary medical conditions. Given the current state of the world, I recognize that the challenges facing students vary widely and student accommodation needs may even change during the course of a semester. I encourage Pomona students who may need some accommodation in order to fully participate in this class to contact Pomona College's Accesibility Resources and Services office. Email: disability@pomona.edu. The following guide provides more information: https://www.pomona.edu/accessibility/student-accessibility/accommodation-policies-and-procedures. Additionally, students can receive assistance and resources from the 7C Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC). The SDRC hosts events, loans assistive technology, and offers student accommodation support. The ARS website is: https://www.pomona.edu/accessibility.

8. Mental Health Resources: Monsour Counseling and Psychological Services (MCAPS) at https://services.claremont.edu/mcaps/ is the mental health resource to the five undergraduates of The Claremont Colleges. Their professional staff serves all enrolled undergraduates and provides in-person counseling. There are no fees for counseling services and all services are confidential. In addition, 7C Health (TimelyMD) at https://www.timely.md/faq/7c-health-the-claremont-colleges/ provides 24/7 access to on-demand medical care and “Talk Now” mental health support, along with links to short videos that support mental and physical wellbeing. The Student Assistance Program (SAP) at https://www.aetnasap.com/login is a free service available through Aetna for students. The SAP allows students to engage with a clinician for three free sessions. Phone: 909-607-2000. MCAPS Crisis Line: 909-621-8202; Dial “1.” The MCAPS website is at: https://services.claremont.edu/mcaps/.

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Politics 135: Policy Implementation
Pomona College, Fall 2023
Prof. David Menefee-Libey

Class Schedule and Assignments

-- Readings for a day are listed below that day's date
-- I will change some details of this as the semester progresses.
-- An asterisk (*) means the a copy of the reading is posted on Sakai. Let me know if you do not have access to Sakai.

Week 1: Aug 28-Sept 1
Monday: Introductions
» Readings: this syllabus.
Wednesday: Norms for the semester
» *Bartholomae & Petrosky, "Reading With and Against the Grain," Adapted from David Bartholomae and Anthony Petrosky, eds., Ways of Reading, 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2008. 10-12.
» *DML, Class discussion norm sheet
Friday: What is this course about? An exemplar
» Kirsten Lundberg, "When Imperatives Collide: The 2003 San Diego Firestorm," case # C16-05-1814.0 and Lundberg, "When Imperatives Collide: Epilogue," case C16-05-1814.1 from the Kennedy School of Government's Case Program. [You'll have to purchase this online. If you do not have a credit/debit card, PPA can purchase the case for you and you can reimburse us.]

Week 2: Sept 4-8
Monday: What is this course about, and what policies will you study?
» Lundberg again.
Wednesday: Doing policy research on the web, in Honnold Library and elsewhere
» Browse the research links on the on-line version of this syllabus, including the Claremont Colleges Library's "Public Policy Research and Analysis" study guide.
» Install Zotero on your computer, insert at least one citation and bring a screenshot of Zotero on your computer to the class meeting.
Friday: What policy will you investigate this semester?
» Come to class with information about an already-enacted policy you want do your research on. The more concrete, specific inforation you have about it, the better. Remember, not a proposed policy, and already-enacted one.

Week 3: Sept 11-15
Monday: Trying to define what we're doing: a more conventional view
» Peters, ch. 1, "What is Public Policy?"
» Peters, ch. 3, "Explaining Policy Choices," 41-43 only.
Wednesday: What is public policy? A less conventional view
» Stone, Intro and ch. 1 "The Market and the Polis"
Friday: Where does public policy happen?
» Peters, ch 2, "The Structure of Policymaking in American Government"
Week 4: Sept 18-22
Monday: What is public policy for?
» Stone, ch. 2 "Equity"
Wednesday: Goals, part 2
» Stone, ch. 3 "Efficiency"
Friday: Goals, part 3
» Stone, ch. 4 "Welfare"

Week 5: Sept 25-29
Monday: Goals, part 4
» Stone, ch. 5 "Security"
» Stone, ch. 6 "Liberty"
» Your first paper (Imp.Paper1.YourName.docx), briefly describing your policy and its enactor is due to be uploaded to your Sakai dropbox by the end of the day today. (For detailed prompts on each of the papers, see https://dml.sites.pomona.edu/ImplementationPaperDetails.html.)
Wednesday: An expert-oriented approach to deciding what we want in policy
» Rossi, ch. 1, "What is Program Evaluation and Why is it Needed?"
Friday: How do problems or aspirations get on the agenda? A political scientist's approach
» Peters, ch. 4 "Agenda Setting and Public Policy"

Week 6: Oct 2-6
Monday: What problems and goals get on governmental agendas? A strategic approach
» Stone, intro to Part III
» Stone, ch. 7 "Symbols"
Wednesday: Viewing problems and goals technically, as "needs"
» Rossi, ch. 2, "Social Problems and Assessing the Need for a Program"
Friday: Things count more when you count them
» Stone, ch. 8 "Numbers"

Week 7: Oct 9-13
Monday: Stories about why things happen, and how we can change the future
» Stone, ch. 9 "Causes"
Wednesday: Choosing among alternatives (Stage II, in the conventional view)
» Peters, ch. 5, "Legitimating Policy Choices"
Friday: Policy choice and tools
» Stone, ch. 12, "Incentives"
» Your Second paper (on a policy goal) (Imp.Paper2.YourName.docx) is due by the end of the day today. (For detailed prompts on each of the papers, see https://dml.sites.pomona.edu/ImplementationPaperDetails.html.)

Week 8: Oct 16-20
» No readings assigned
Wednesday: Trying to control what people are allowed to do
» Stone, ch. 13 "Rules"
Friday: Information as a policy tool
» Stone, ch. 14, "Persuasion"

Week 9: Oct 23-27
Monday: A quintessentially American policy tool
» Stone, ch. 15, "Rights"
Wednesday: After enactment of a policy, then what? (Stage III, in the Conventional View)
» Peters, ch. 6, "Organizations and Implementation"
Friday: How should a social scientist study policy implementation? Research design for case studies.
» *Robert K. Yin, "Collecting Case Study Evidence: The Principles You Should Follow in Working With Six Sources of Evidence," ch. 4 of Case Study Research and Applications: Design and Methods, 6th ed. (Sage, 2018), 111-138. Note especially Figure 4.1 on p. 114.
» [optional] David M-L, "Social Science and Its Assumptions"

Week 10: Oct 30 - Nov 3
Monday: A theory of how implementation is likely to work
» *Goggin, ch. 1, "A Dynamic Model of Implementation"
Wednesday: What implementation can look like when you see it
» *Goggin, ch. 2, "Implementation Styles and Their Consequences"
Friday: How governments try to get things done from the top down
» *Goggin, ch. 3, "Federal-Level Inducements and Constraints"

Week 11: Nov 6-10
Monday: Looking at implementation from the bottom up
» *Goggin, ch. 4, "State- and Local-Level Inducements and Constraints"
» *Richard Elmore, "Backward Mapping: Implementation Research and Policy Decisions," from Walter Williams et al, Studying Implementation: Methodological and Administrative Issues (Chatham, NJ: Chatham House, 1982).
Wednesday: Do implementers have the ability to do what's expected?
» *Goggin, ch. 5 "Organizational Capacity"
Friday: A second exemplar: California attempts to increase the supply of affordable housing
» Manji, Shazia, and Ryan Finnigan. “Streamlining Multifamily Housing Production in California: Progress Implementing SB 35.” Berkeley, CA: Terner Center for Housing Innovation, University of California at Berkeley, August 2023. available free online at https://ternercenter.berkeley.edu/research-and-policy/sb-35-evaluation/.

Week 12: Nov 13-17
Monday: Evaluation as both technical and political work
» Rossi, ch. 12, "The Social and Political Context of Evaluation"
» Your Third Paper (on the policy tool and its implementation) (Imp.Paper3.YourName.docx) is due by the end of the day today (For detailed prompts on each of the papers, see https://dml.sites.pomona.edu/ImplementationPaperDetails.html.)
Wednesday: Back to the second exemplar
» Manji and Finnigan, "Streamlining Multifamily Housing Production in California"
Friday: How do evaluators do what they do?
» Rossi, ch. 11, "Planning an Evaluation"

Week 13: Nov 20-24
Monday: How is a policy supposed to work?
» Rossi, ch. 3, "Assessing Program Theory and Design"
Wednesday and Friday: Thanksgiving break
» No reading assigned

Week 14: Nov 27 - Dec 1
Monday: Evaluating what implementers do, rather than the effects of a policy
» Rossi, ch. 4, "Assessing Program Process and Implementation"
Wednesday: Evaluating the effects of a policy
» Rossi, ch. 5, "Measuring and Monitoring Program Outcomes"
Friday How to assess what difference a policy makes
» Rossi, ch. 6, "Impact Evaluation: Isolating the Effects of Social Programs in the Real World"

Week 15: Dec 4-6
» Time permitting, we'll talk about what to keep and what to change the next time I teach the class.

Your Fourth Paper (on the evaluation of your policy) (Imp.Paper4.YourName.docx) is due by the end of the day Monday, Dec 11. (For detailed prompts on each of the papers, see https://dml.sites.pomona.edu/ImplementationPaperDetails.html.)

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Last modified: November 20, 2023