Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs

PA 974 Contemporary Issues in International Policy


Professor Mark Johnson

This section of PA 974 will focus on historical perspectives and more qualitative approaches to an array of issues in international policy. We will analyze the evolution of policy regimes in various topical areas, charting these issues through the cycle from ideas, through struggles over enactment, to attempts to implement policy innovations. The course will be grounded in contemporary world history and comparative studies, and the various topical areas will be used to explore diverse theoretical approaches that will complement core theories in public policy, as detailed in the course’s learning outcomes. We will also consider the evolution of major international organizations such as the League of Nations, the United Nations, the World Bank, and the OECD. Topical areas will include the role of international organizations (IOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in shaping international policy; comparative perspectives on public diplomacy and “soft power”; and the rapidly growing global “trade in services” as regulated by the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), especially as it applies to the global market in higher education and professional training. We will also examine policies around skilled migration and the globalization of labor markets; debates around the development of national innovation systems and global policies for cooperation in research; as well as policy processes intended to deal with the impacts of climate change and to coordinate planning for global sustainability.

Recent Syllabus

Spring 2018