Introduction to Public Policy and Administration

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
ECON 3101
Introduction to Public Policy and Administration
Commerce & Business Administration
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
15 Weeks x4 Hours per Week = 60 Hours
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
Lecture: 3 Hours Seminar: 1 Hour Total: 4 Hours per week
Method(s) Of Instruction
Learning Activities

Lecture and seminar.

Course Description
This course introduces students to economic decision-making in the public sector. The role of taxation, expenditure, and economic regulation in the design of social policy is explained and analyzed. Students will apply the principles, and analyze the practices, of public management in the context of the Canadian economy. This course allows students to explore and critically evaluate the differences between private sector and public sector decision-making in reference to resource valuation, resource allocation and provision of public services. It provides an explanation and analysis of the many public institutions in Canada under the federal, provincial and municipal authority, and their role in regulating economic behaviour. It examines the role of the bureaucracy in the context of changing domestic and international forces.
Course Content
  1. Introduction to the public sector and private sector.
  2. Theories of bureaucracy and organization.
  3. Principles of economic decision-making
  4. Models of regulation and project evaluation.
  5. Economic considerations in policy design.
  6. Historical foundation of Federal-Provincial relations.
  7. Structure of government: federal, provincial, and municipal.
  8. Theories of economic regulation.
  9. Behaviour and history of Crown Corporations and Regulatory Agencies.
  10.  Budget constraints, financial resources, and national resources.
  11.  International and domestic influences.
Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course, the student will be able to:

  1. Explain and evaluate the similarities and differences between the public and private sector.
  2. Explain and critique the theory of public organization and administration.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the nature of policy making.
  4. Develop ways to implement policy and to measure performance.
  5. Accomplish project evaluation (contingent valuation)
  6. Analyze and apply the principles of economic regulation.
  7. Define and evaluate the role of Crown Corporations and Regulatory Agencies.
  8. Analyze and explain the nature of financial resources and spending limitations.
  9. Apply decision-making principles in the context of changing international and domestic forces.
  10. Explain and analyze the nature of Federal-Provincial relations.
Means of Assessment
Mid-term examination(s)   25% - 35%
Essay, Project   20% - 30%
Participation, Assignments                0% - 10%
Final Examination   30% - 35%
Total           100%
Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students:


One of: (instructor’s choice)

Kernaghan, Ken and David Siegal, “Public Administration in Canada”

Brander, James, “Government Policy Toward Business”

Dunn, Christopher, “The Handbook of Canadian Public Administration” 

Inwood, Gregory, "Understanding Canadian Public Administration: Theory and Practice"

or text approved by department.