Summer 2023 - POL 856 G100

Issues in Social and Economic Policy (5)

Class Number: 3474

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    HCC 1505, Vancouver




This course will explore theories and concepts of political influences on social and economic policy at a level suitable to conduct original research. Students will apply theoretical perspectives to understand how some problems get placed on the policy agenda and how others get sidetracked, why particular policy instruments become favoured tools for serving the public interest and others remain unfamiliar or uncomfortable to many policy actors. Analysis will also consider how policy instruments are used in implementation, and how public programs get evaluated. These perspectives will be gained through exploring the literature in political economy, the new institutionalism, and organization theory. Analytical efforts will then be directed to selected policy domains. In order to successfully explain how public policy gets made in Canada or another Western democracy, students will need to assemble the theories encountered during the first half of this course into a conceptual framework that can be applied to empirical evidence, thus revealing the organizational logic of public bureaucracy, private enterprise, the institutions of the state and the state’s relationship to the international political economy.

One three hour seminar each week.

Combined with POL 46


  • Analytical template of weekly readings 20%
  • Consolidated analytical template for week’s readings 20%
  • Draft research question 10%
  • Draft research paper 20%
  • Final research paper 30%



Readings will be drawn from the scholarly literature that is accessible through SFU’s library databases. Accessing these readings will be part of each student’s research skills development. A reading list will be distributed at the first class.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university.