08641 - Analysis of Public Policies

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Political, Social and International Sciences (cod. 8853)

Learning outcomes

- acquire the theoretical knowledge relating to the structuring of the policy cycle, from the design phase to the implementation and evaluation of a policy
- assimilate the main tools for the analysis of public policies, consisting of the theoretical knowledge that concerns (among others) actors, policy process phases, and policy instruments
- understand the functioning of the main public policies in selected policy sectors (e.g. migration, health, education, etc.)
- strengthen critical and analytical skills for the analysis of public policies

Course contents

The course aims to provide students with the conceptual and analytical tools for the study of public policy, i.e. the set of decisions and activities related to the solution of collective problems.

In the first part of the course, some fundamental concepts and analytical categories will be explored, covering topics such as policy instruments, the models for public policy analysis and the policy cycle. The focus will be on policy actors, the instruments used in policy implementation and some theories related to policy analysis. The policy process will then be analysed through the segmentation into stages into which the policy cycle is usually divided: agenda setting, formulation, decision-making, implementation, evaluation (reference text: Bobbio, Pomatto and Ravazzi, 2017).

In the second part, the concepts and analytical tools will be applied to some specific policy areas (e.g. labour policies, migration policies, food policies). The teaching material for the second part is listed in the Texts/Bibliography section, and will be made available by the teacher on virtuale.unibo.it at the beginning of the course. During this part, exercises will be carried out and group discussions will be conducted, in which the practical application of what has been learnt will be tested.


All readings listed below are mandatory


- Luigi Bobbio, Gianfranco Pomatto, Stefania Ravazzi, Le politiche pubbliche. Problemi, soluzioni, incertezze, conflitti, Mondadori, 2017.


- Giliberto Capano, Alessandro Natalini, Le Politiche Pubbliche in Italia, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2020. ONLY Introduction + Chapters 6, 10, 11.

- Georg Picot e Arianna Tassinari, "Politica e riforme del mercato del lavoro. Il Jobs Act di Renzi", in Politica in Italia ed. 2015.

- Chiara Saraceno, "Quando avere un lavoro non basta a proteggere dalla povertà", Lectio Magistralis, Firenze, 2020.

- Francesca Campomori, "Le politiche per l'integrazione degli immigrati: tra retoriche e realtà", in L'Italia e le sue Regioni - Treccani, 2015 (https://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/le-politiche-per-l-integrazione-degli-immigrati-tra-retoriche-e-realta_%28L%27Italia-e-le-sue-Regioni%29/)

- Maurizio Ambrosini, Francesca Campomori, "La controversia dell’asilo: politiche di accoglienza e solidarietà contro i confini,
Politiche Sociali, Fascicolo 2, maggio-agosto 2020

- Maria Stella Righettini, La politica di sicurezza alimentare in tempi
turbolenti. Attori, collaborazioni, strumenti dell’implementazione in cento città italiane durante la pandemia, Rivista Italiana di Politiche Pubbliche 3/2022.

- Andrea Magarini, "Politiche del cibo e governance collaborativa nell’esperienza di Milano, prima e dopo la pandemia da COVID-19. Leadership facilitativa e istituzionalizzazione", Rivista Italiana di Politiche Pubbliche 3/2022.

- Federico Cuomo e Stefania Ravazzi, "La governance collaborativa nell’evoluzione delle politiche urbane del cibo: il caso di Torino", Rivista Italiana di Politiche Pubbliche 3/2022.


Teaching methods

The course includes both lectures (particularly in the first part) and exercises and teamwork under the guidance of the teacher (particularly in the second part).

Knowledge of Italian is required to attend lectures and study texts. However, it is also possible to take exams in English.

Course attendance is strongly recommended.

Assessment methods


At the end of both the first and second parts of the course, students who are registered and who are attending classes may take a written INTERMEDIATE TEST.

The first intermediate test consists of 3 open-ended questions to be answered in max. 45 minutes (0 to 10 points for each answer). The questions are designed to test what has been learnt in the first part in order to assess the achievement of the learning objectives.

The second intermediate test consists of two think-out questions to be answered in max. 90 minutes (max. 15 points each). The questions are designed to test the ability to apply the conceptual tools learnt during the course and the analytical skills developed during the practical exercises.

Participation in the classroom exercises and teamwork will also be subject to specific assessment, and may be worth between 0 and 2 points, depending on the contribution of individual students to the collective work and discussions.

In the case of the two part-tests, the final mark will result from the average of the marks awarded for each test, plus the score obtained in terms of classroom participation.


For NON-attending students (or in any case for those who do not intend to take the two partial exams) there will be a single written final exam with 6 open-ended questions to be answered in 90 minutes (max. 5 points per answer).

Evaluation grid:

18-22: sufficient preparation and ability to analyse, sufficient knowledge of the topics covered by the course, formulation of answers in correct language;
23-26: technically adequate preparation and ability to analyse, good knowledge of the topics covered by the course, adequate knowledge of specific terminology
27-29: very good preparation and ability to analyse, thorough knowledge of the topics covered by the course, mastering of specific terminology;
30-30L: excellent preparation and ability to analyse, in-depth knowledge of the topics covered by the course, ability to integrate answers with own knowledge and elaboration, mastering of specific terminology.

Teaching tools

Supplementary materials (worksheets, web portals, magazine and newspaper articles, etc.), which are intended for the exercises and case study presentations, will be made available online at https://virtuale.unibo.it/

During the course, powerpoint slides will be used, which will also be made available on https://virtuale.unibo.it/ before each lecture.

N.B. The slides are solely a teaching and content presentation tool and therefore do not replace the textbooks for carrying out the exam(s).

Office hours

See the website of Stefania Profeti


Quality education Reduced inequalities Responsible consumption and production Peace, justice and strong institutions

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.