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Introduction to Public Policy and Administration

Course Code: ECON 3101
Faculty: Commerce & Business Administration
Department: Economics
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 Weeks x4 Hours per Week = 60 Hours
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

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.

Methods of Instruction

Lecture and seminar.

Means of Assessment

Mid-term examination(s)   25% - 35%
Essay, Project   20% - 30%
Participation, Assignments                0% - 10%
Final Examination   30% - 35%
Total           100%

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.

course prerequisites

ECON 1150

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.