Political decisions are of course made by governments and/or parliaments. But who provides these bodies with the information they need and shows them the strategic options they have? Who frames political action before the wider public even takes notice of the issue? How does political agenda setting work and what do certain policy outcomes tell us about the future of the issue at stake?
This course is designed to outline key features of policy advice and political consulting and their impact on governance.
We will observe the key players on the spot as well as those behind the scenes and we will analyze their patterns of interaction. Moreover, we will provide insights regarding essential questions to which there are no single right answers: What role does policy advice play in different democracies? What is good policy advice? What makes an expert? In sum: Whom do (and should) politicians and society listen to, and what do (and should) they make of the advice they receive?
By the end of the course, students will know the key concepts of policy advice as well as the main actors in the field and their patterns of interaction. They will understand how and by whom a certain political decision is framed, shaped and implemented. And they will be able to apply this knowledge to a given political event which may affect their own professional or personal life. So, first and foremost, they will be able to ask the right questions.