Monday, October 8, 2012

Courses!

Now that the school year has officially started, we can get down to business discussing what I will be taking for the next year. Unlike the United States, our semesters do not mean I get to take different courses each semester. Instead, the concentration of the classes are spread across both the Michaelmas/Lent terms with exams falling in the summer term. Most grades for all courses are decided on those exams in the summer term. The advantage of this is I will not have as many assignments as frequent- no weekly blog entries, no papers every two weeks, etc. I will also get a month or so off following the Lent term. One of the hardest things that I am facing is that without a lot of continuous assignments, or midterms,  it'd be easy to forget about a reading assignment. I'll be using time management to its fullest these next two years. 

My program requires us to take four units during our first year as a student. All of us have to take three basic courses. Micro/macro economics, Econometrics, and a political science course.  My stream is the only one that his the required course for the stream to be taken in the second year. My required course is more economics, and it would be foolish to try to take it without a solid background. Thus, my choice to fulfill my last unit was a little hard. I could take two half-unit courses, or I could take one of the other streams' required courses.  In the end after a lot of thinking, talking to my advisor, and going to the newly founded MPA course fair, I chose to take a class on public management. Ideally, it should be a base for further work in the government. 

I've copied the course descriptions from the LSE website! Take a look!

(All of these are taken directly from the LSE website here: http://www2.lse.ac.uk/study/units/IPA/MPA_PEP.aspx. No copyright infringement or lack of source.)

GV478: Political Science and Public Policy

  • In this course we develop tools to analyse important political phenomena including elections, legislative bargaining, lobbying, bureaucracy, civil conflict, and international relations. We focus on game theory as a way of understanding strategic interactions among political actors. Students will learn basic game theoretical concepts and apply them to a variety of political contexts; these tools should be useful both for explaining existing political outcomes and for designing interventions to achieve desired future outcomes.

EC440: Micro and Macro Economics

  • An introductory graduate course providing an economics background suitable for high-level public policy-making. The emphasis is on acquiring sound models and methods suitable for appraising policy-making issues and applicable in a wide variety of contexts. The first term (MT) covers microeconomics and the second term (LT) covers macroeconomics.
  • MT: Microeconomics: Week 1: Demand and Supply in Competitive Markets. Week 2: Consumer Optimisation: Demand for Goods. Week 3: Consumer Optimisation and Labor Supply. Week 4: Firms' Optimisation the Supply of Goods and the Demand for Labour. Week 5: Monopoly. Week 6: Uncertainty and Insurance. Week 7: Markets and Asymmetric Information. Week 8: Monopolistic Competition and Game Theory. Week 9: Externalities in Consumption and Production. Week 10: Public Goods.
  • LT: Macroeconomics: Week 1: Growth and poverty. Week 2: Institutions and economic performance. Week 3: Regulation and economic performance. Week 4: Human capital and growth. Week 5: Productivity and innovation. Week 6: Unemployment. Week 7: Finance and economic performance. Week 8: Openness and economic performance. Week 9: Economic fluctuations. Week 10: Stabilization and reform.


EC455: Quantitative Approaches and Policy Analysis

  • The course introduces students to the quantitative evaluation of public policies with the help of regression based evaluation methods, cost-benefit analysis and computable general equilibrium modelling. The first six weeks of the course introduce students to basic multiple regression analysis including hypothesis testing, modelling of non-linear relationships, and dummy variables. From week 7 of MT the course covers a number of regression based evaluation methods to assess the casual effectiveness of policy interventions. These include the use of randomized experiments, natural or quasi-experiments, panel data, difference-in-differences estimation, instrumental variables, matching and regression discontinuity designs. The final part of the course provides an overview over cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis and an introduction to the use of computable equilibrium models to assess policy interventions.





MG419: Public Management- Strategy, Innovation, and Delivery


  • The course develops the perspectives, knowledge, and intellectual skill required for rational discourse about intelligent practical action in the core public sector. In Michaelmas Term, the course focuses on the design of organizational strategies in public sector contexts. This general issue is subdivided into the design of organizational strategies for start-up, realignment, and success-sustaining transitions. In Lent Term, the course delves specifically into scholarship and teaching cases about the design and operation of practices whose logic is to perform three functions instrumental to sustained organizational achievement: strategy development, developing innovative capabilities, and delivery (encompassing both production and management control). Overall, the course provides a foundation for further coursework about management in the public sector as well as the ability to engage constructively and critically in the development of public management practice.