Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Federico Toth

  • Learning modules Federico Toth (Modulo 1)
    Stefania Profeti (Modulo 2)

  • Credits 8

  • SSD SPS/04

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Politics Administration and Organization (cod. 9085)


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

Good health and well-being Quality education Reduced inequalities Sustainable cities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

L’insegnamento intende fornire una conoscenza avanzata dei più importanti approcci allo studio delle politiche pubbliche, con particolare attenzione all’analisi dei processi decisionali, degli assetti interorganizzativi, delle relazioni tra diversi livelli istituzionali, e dei rapporti tra attori pubblici e privati. Al termine del corso, lo studente sarà in grado di: •identificare e distinguere le principali tradizioni di ricerca nell’analisi delle politiche pubbliche e nello studio delle dinamiche di governance ai diversi livelli; •analizzare criticamente i processi decisionali che si sviluppano attorno alla ricerca di soluzioni a problemi di rilevanza collettiva; •contestualizzare i problemi e le criticità del settore pubblico in un confronto con il settore privato.

Course contents

The course aims at providing students with an appropriate theoretical, conceptual and methodological background to analyse and understand policies and policy change in contemporary society, with a special focus on the networks of actors and organisations involved in the decision making. A first part will be devoted to discussing the main theoretical perspectives for the analysis of public policies and for understanding governance arrangements (public-public, public-private, multilevel); then, drawing upon both the literature and some empirical case studies, course topics will be examined in detail, with a special focus on the relation between institutions and interest groups, the balance between public and private organisations, the multilevel nature of public interventions and the overall policy change processes.

In the event of the continuing pandemic emergency, the course will be organized with a part of lectures taught online and another taught in presence. The number of students allowed in class will be determined on the basis of class capacity and according to the mandatory health and safety provisions. Regardless of the health-related conditions and the specific organization of the course, students will be able to follow the lessons of the entire course remotely on MS TEAMS.



L. Bobbio, G. Pomatto e S. Ravazzi (2017), Le politiche pubbliche. Problemi, soluzioni, incertezze e conflitti, Milano, Mondadori. Only chapters 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10.

Other compulsory readings

Binderkrantz and Pedersen 2020, “Interest Group Access”, in P. Harris, A. Bitonti, C. Fleisher, A. Skorkjær Binderkrantz (eds), The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Interest Groups, Lobbying and Public Affairs, Palgrave Macmillan

Brunazzo 2004, "Il principio del partenariato nella politica di coesione. Verso una nuova agenda di ricerca", in Rivista Italiana di Politiche Pubbliche, n.2/2004

Capano 1995, "Il policy change tra politica delle idee e politica degli interessi", in Teoria Politica, n. 1/1995

Casula e Toth 2019, “Come i gruppi di interesse scelgono il campo di battaglia: il caso del decreto Lorenzin sui vaccini”, in Rivista Italiana di Politiche Pubbliche, vol. 14, n. 2, pp. 277-306.

Chalmers et al. 2020, “Interest Groups”, in P. Harris, A. Bitonti, C. Fleisher, A. Skorkjær Binderkrantz (eds), The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Interest Groups, Lobbying and Public Affairs, Palgrave Macmillan

Galantino 2020, " Tra pandemie annunciate e vere pandemie: dalla SARS alla COVID-19", in Rivista Trimestrale di Scienza dell'Amministrazione, n. 2/2020

Hooghe and Marks 2001, "Types of Multi-Level Governance”, European Integration online Papers (EIoP), Vol. 5, No. 11, October 12, 2001

Profeti 2011, "Governance", in M. Almagisti e D. Piana (a cura di), Le parole chiave della politica italiana, Roma, Carocci

Toth 2011, “Yes, we did? Luci ed ombre della riforma sanitaria di Obama”, in Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica, anno XLI, n. 1, pp.105-130.

All compulsory readings (with the exception of the handbook) will be collected and made available to students through the Virtuale platform.

Teaching methods

Being included in a postgraduate program, the course will be mainly centered on students' direct participation and involvement. Students should read the material suggested by the teachers before each class, in order to actively participate in the discussion.

Each thematic unit will be summed up and regularly made available on the Virtuale platform. Students will thus be able to download class material every week.

Class attendance is strongly recommended.

Assessment methods

The exam is written. It consists of 4 open-ended questions and it lasts max 60 minutes. Course program is the same independently of class attendance.

Evaluation will take into account: a) the knowledge of course topics; b) the capacity to use properly the methodological and theoretical instruments presented during the course; c) the ability to master an appropriate scientific language with reference to social sciences in general and public policies in particular.

Depending on the class numbers, some supplementary evaluation methods - based on teamwork or individual papers - might be agreed with students regularly attending class.

Teaching tools

Powerpoint presentations; Videos; Newspaper articles.

Office hours

See the website of Federico Toth

See the website of Stefania Profeti