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Politics 135: Policy Implementation
Pomona College, Fall 2022
Prof. David Menefee-Libey

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 9:00 - 9:50 am
Carnegie 109

Office: Carnegie 4
Office Hours: Tuesdays 10:00-noon, 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 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 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 Guide for Papers 1-4
Go to resources page

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 one sub-field of policy analysis -- the study of policy implementation -- in depth, and gives students an opportunity to explore and apply a scholarly literature in some depth. Third, it provides an opportunity for students to design and carry out a small field research project, away from the Claremont Colleges. 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.This complex process is 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 legislation and 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-profits.) The course also focuses 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 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. 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.

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Politics 135: Policy Implementation
Pomona College, Fall 2022
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 (10% of grade). You must do the assignments and prepare yourself to discuss them in class. The success of the course will depend in part on active participation in our discussions. 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, you need to talk, but don't just 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 (10%). 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. You can find a general overview of the research project at the bottom of this syllabus. Your papers will build from one to the next:
You can find a more detailed descriptions of the paper assignments at these links: https://DML.sites.pomona.edu/ImpFirstThreePapers.html and https://DML.sites.pomona.edu/ImpFinalPaper.html

All papers must be uploaded to your Sakai "dropbox" by 5:00 pm 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 (or doc), as in Imp.Paper1.Lasso.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 papers 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.


1. Sunday Afternoon Study Space: I have reserved Carnegie 110 from 3:00 to 5:00 every Sunday afternoon for the whole semester. Partly, it's a help session: I'll make appointments for at least the first hour to meet 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, 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, unassisted, the Claremont Colleges actually has a physical library with amazing resources and a staff of trained research librarians who can be of tremendous assistance to you in your thesis work. One of these librarians, Mary Martin, has kindly created an entire resource page for students in Public Policy Analysis courses that I link to in the online version of this syllabus. I urge you to start with those links, and to make an individual appointment with Ms. Martin or one of her 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. Some 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. 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 (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. Writing and Speaking Partners 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. Jenny Thomas, Asst. Director of College Writing and Language Diversity, offers specialized writing and speaking support for multilingual students navigating English as an additional language. To make an appointment with a Writing or Speaking Partner, please log onto the Portal and go to Academics > Writing Center or email writing.center@pomona.edu. They offer both in-person and virtual appointments, and have regular drop-in hours in SCC 148.

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, Assistant 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 https://pomona.mywconline.com, or email qsc@pomona.edu.

6. The Sage Fellows Peer Academic Coaching Program supports Pomona College students at all levels of their academic careers to build an efficient and flexible set of study skills. Our Sage Fellows provide students with semester-long academic support in time management, self-management, procrastination, test preparation, note-taking, and reading strategies. They work with students individually to assess their strengths and needs to develop a personalized action plan. To make an appointment with a Sage Fellow, please visit https://www.pomona.edu/administration/sage-fellows-peer-academic-coaches to submit a meeting request form. Additionally, Dr. Hector Sambolin, Jr., Associate Dean for Academic Success and Assessment, is available to meet with students wishing to discuss their academic success at Pomona College.

7. Accommodations: I welcome every student into my classroom, and am 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 are different and student accommodation needs may change. 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, or call the Dean of Students office at (909) 621-8017. (Students from the other Claremont Colleges should contact their home college's disability resources officer.) The Dean will review your concerns and determine, with you, what accommodations are necessary and appropriate. All discussions, information, and documentation of disability are confidential.

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Politics 135: Policy Implementation
Pomona College, Fall 2022
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 29-Sept 2
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?
» 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 5-7
Monday: What is this course about, and what policies will you study?
» Lundberg again.
Wednesday: What is public policy? A more conventional view
» Peters, ch. 1, "What is Public Policy?"
» Peters, ch. 3, "Explaining Policy Choices," 41-43 only.
Friday: What is public policy? A less conventional view
» Stone, Intro and ch. 1 "The Market and the Polis"

Week 3: Sept 12-16
Monday: Where does public policy happen?
» Peters, ch 2, "The Structure of Policymaking in American Government"
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: A more careful discussion of the tools available to policy makers
» *Lester M. Salamon, "The New Governance and the Tools of Public Action: An Introduction," in Lester M. Salamon, ed., The Tools of Government: A Guide to the New Governance, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 1-6, 19-21 only for now. (We'll return to this reading later in the semester.)
Week 4: Sept 19-23
Monday: What is public policy for?
» Stone, ch. 2 "Equity"
» Your first paper (Imp.Paper1.YourName.docx), describing your policy is due to be uploaded to your Sakai dropbox by 5:00 pm today.
Wednesday: Goals, part 2
» Stone, ch. 3 "Efficiency"
Friday: Goals, part 3
» Stone, ch. 4 "Welfare"

Week 5: Sept 26-30
Monday: Goals, part 4
» Stone, ch. 5 "Liberty"
» Stone, ch. 6 "Security"
Wednesday: How do problems or aspirations get on the agenda?
» Peters, ch. 4 "Agenda Setting and Public Policy"
Friday:What "problems" get on the agenda? A strategic approach
» Stone, intro to Part III
» Stone, ch. 7 "Symbols"

Week 6: Oct 3-7
Monday: Strategies, part 2
» Stone, ch. 8 "Numbers"
Wednesday: Strategies, part 3
» Stone, ch. 9 "Causes"
Friday: Strategies, part 4
» Stone, ch. 10 "Interests"

Week 7: Oct 10-14
Monday: Choosing among alternatives (Stage II, in the conventional view)
» Peters, ch. 5, "Legitimating Policy Choices"
» Your Second paper (on agenda setting) (Imp.Paper2.YourName.docx) is due by 5:00 pm today.
Wednesday: Policy choice and tools
» Stone, ch. 12 "Incentives"
Friday: Tools, part 2
» Stone, ch. 13 "Rules"

Week 8: Oct 17-21
» No readings assigned
Wednesday: Tools, part 3
» Stone, ch. 15 "Rights"
» Stone conclusion, "Political Reason"
Friday: After enactment of a policy, then what? (Stage III, in the Conventional View)
» Peters, ch. 6 "Organizations and Implementation"
» *Lorraine M. McDonnell and M. Stephen Weatherford. "Recognizing the Political in Implementation Research." Educational Researcher 45, no. 4 (May 2016), 233-242. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X16649945.

Week 9: Oct 24-18
Monday: Implementation as public administration
» *Donald F. Kettl and James W. Fesler, "Implementation: Making Programs Work," ch. 12 of The Politics of the Administrative Process, 4th ed. (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2009), pp. 365-376 only.
Wednesday: How should a social scientist study policy implementation? Research design for case studies.
» David M-L, "Social Science and Its Assumptions"
» *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.
Friday: What are research interviews? How to do them?
» *Jerome T. Murphy, "Intensive Interviewing," from Getting the Facts (Goodyear, 1980).
» Jennifer Hochschild, "Conducting Intensive Interviews and Elite Interviews," from the Workshop on Interdisciplinary Standards for Systematic Qualitative Research, 2009. Online at https://scholar.harvard.edu/jlhochschild/publications/conducting-intensive-interviews-and-elite-interviews.

Week 10: Oct 31 - Nov 4
Monday: A theory of how implementation is likely to work
» *Goggin, ch. 1 "A Dynamic Model of Implementation"
» Your Third Paper (on the policy tool) (Imp.Paper3.YourName.docx) is due by 5:00 pm today
Wednesday: What implementation can look like
» *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 7-11
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"
» *Laura M. Desimone et al. "Successes and Challenges of the 'New' College- and Career-Ready Standards: Seven Implementation Trends." Educational Researcher 48, no. 3 (April 1, 2019): 167-78. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X19837239.
Friday: Summing up Goggin's implementation theories
» *Goggin, ch. 8 "A Third-Generation Design for Research" through page 183.

Week 12: Nov 14-18
Monday: What is "evaluation," and where does it fit in the policy cycle? (Stage IV, in the conventional view)
» Peters, ch. 8 "Evaluation and Policy Change," on cost-benefit analysis, 409-421.
Wednesday: Evaluation, part 2
» Peters, ch. 8: "Evaluation and Policy Change," on ethical analysis, 421-434.
Friday: Returning to Deborah Stone's view of the strategic evaluation of policy
» Stone, "Conclusion: Policy Analysis and Political Argument"

Week 13: Nov 21-25
Monday: Presentations?
Wednesday: Presentations?
Friday: Thanksgiving break
» no reading assigned

Week 14: Nov 28 - Dec 2
Monday: Presentations
Wednesday: Presentations
Friday Presentations

Week 15: Dec 5-7
Monday: Presentations
Wednesday: Presentations?
» Time permitting, we'll talk about what to keep and what to change the next time I teach the class.
» Upload Imp.Paper4.YourName.docx to your Dropbox on Sakai by 5:00 pm today.

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Politics 135: Policy Implementation
Pomona College, Fall 2022
Prof. David Menefee-Libey

Case Study Papers: An Overview

This semester, in addition to the conventional course-readings-and-discussion work you will do with the rest of the class, you personally will do an independent case study of a public policy being implemented in the Southern California region. That case study will work in two stages. First, you will choose a policy and develop three written reports that describe and analyze it. Second, you will do a small case study of the implementation of that policy, then develop a paper and oral report which describe and explain what you have found. You will present your case study findings in a research paper and in class. Your papers and presentations should (1) show clear knowledge and understanding of the policy you have chosen, and (2) explain that policy using concepts and theories from the course readings.

You will base your first set of papers principally on web-based and library research. You will base your implementation case study paper on your own research: in addition to web-based and library sources you will draw on field observation, personal interviews with government officials and/or those affected by the policy, and examination of program documents. This course will teach you how to do each of these kinds of research, and how to ground your research and writing in the public policy analysis research literature. I will also offer direction about how to organize and write the papers and presentations.

Schedule an appointment as soon as possible with me and/or Hilary LaConte to come in and talk about what policy you should choose to investigate. You should start at the very beginning of the semester, because your first report on the policy will be due Monday, September 19. You may choose to examine a federal, state, or local policy with the following restrictions:

Start early enough to assure that, if you run into dead ends (uncooperative people, poor records, insufficient experience with the policy you're interested in), you'll be able to move in a different direction.

Remember the milestone dates from this syllabus!

And remember that your case study work will focus on whether your case confirms or challenges a broader claim about implementation made by one or more of the authors in our course readings. We are interested in whether and how these authors' theories about implementation work. Don't get paralyzed by thinking you have to develop your own general theory about implementation, based on your single case study. You're working in a well-established field, and you should always remember to connect your work to that field.

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Last modified: August 29, 2022