PAP-30806 Governance and Policy Change


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. A Siwale
Lecturer(s)dr. A Siwale
dr. GR Biesbroek
Examiner(s)dr. GR Biesbroek
prof. dr. ir. CJAM Termeer

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

PAP-10306 Public administration and policy making; PAP-20306 Studying governance: Key concepts and leading authors; or an alternative introductory course to public administration

Continuation courses:

PAP-30306 Designing innovative governance arrangements; PAP-21806 European Union institutions and policies


The classical roles of governments are the provision of public goods and the prevention of negative external effects. However, the call for more and different kinds of policy interventions has become louder. Politicians and citizens demand new types of authorities to control markets, better monitoring systems, and intelligent regulations. These calls are accompanied by new forms of arrangements between government, private enterprises, NGOs, and citizens. With this trend, policy change and governance have become the new 'buzzwords'. Initiatives for policy changes and new governance arrangements come both from grass-roots levels (bottom up), and from public authorities (top-down). In this course, students learn and apply key theories about how policy change takes place in a dynamic governance context. Hereby special attention is drawn to theories covering the various stages of the policy process: agenda setting, decision making, implementation, and evaluation. The course covers full working days. Each day consists of three parts: lectures (except for Fridays), group work in tutorials, and independent self-study. Students use the theoretical insights from the literature and lectures to conduct an in-depth analysis of a specific policy change trajectory in one of the following domains: agriculture,  city management, nature conservation, and energy. The analyses are performed in small groups in the afternoons. The three specific policy change trajectories that students can choose from are (i) the EU Common Agricultural Policy, (ii) the Project 1012 (improvements of de Wallen in Amsterdam), (iii) nature conservation in the Oostvaardersplassen, and (iv) gas extraction in Groningen. The group work consists of three weekly assignments, which make up fifty percent of the total grade for the course. The course ends with an exam that tests students’ understanding of the basic concepts and theoretical perspectives that are discussed in the lectures and literature.
The course is part of the governance track of the Bachelor program Economie en Beleid (BEB; Economics and Governance) and builds forth on the introductory courses ‘Public Administration and Policy Making’ and ‘Environmental Economics and Environmental Policy’ in year 1. It aims at enhancing the students ability to grasp and apply key theoretical public policy and governance concepts and perspectives. Beside BEB students, the course is also relevant for BSc and MSc students from other disciplines, who have an interest in public policy and governance and/or follow a track at the Public Administration and Policy Group (PAP).

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain theories related to the different stages of the policy cycle;
- explain the governance context in which processes of policy change take place;
- analyze a specific policy change trajectory by applying governance and public policy theories;
- evaluate and critically reflect on patterns of policy change.


- lectures;
- reading literature and independent study;
- analyzing a policy change trajectory in small groups;
- providing feedback on the work of other groups.


- 3 group assignments (50%);
- exam (50%).
Students need to obtain a minimum mark of 5.5 for both the exam and the average of the group assignments to pass the course.


Knill, C. & Tosun, J. (2020). Public Policy: A New Introduction (2nd Ed). Basingstoke: Pallgrave Macmillan.

Compulsory for: BEBEconomics and GovernanceBSc3WD
Compulsory for: WUDPGBSc Minor Development, Policies and Globalization3WD