RAND Public Policy Analysis Workshop


August 5 and 6, 2014


Noon to 2 p.m. each day


2103 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C.

About this Workshop

This analysis training workshop provides an introduction to policy analysis tools and techniques as well as an understanding of how they can be used to improve the quality of public policy decisionmaking in your daily work as a legislative staffer.

  • Learn a framework for analyzing complex policy problems in a systematic way.
  • Learn how to incorporate political feasibility into the calculus.
  • Learn how to use a matrix to clearly outline policy elements and trade-offs.
  • Learn how even a small amount of policy analysis skills can lead to better policy formulation.

Upon completion of the workshop, when your Member or Senator says that he or she wants to introduce a proposal on issue "x" by tomorrow, you'll be in a stronger position—even without any studies in front of you—to make good recommendations by the next day. With an introduction to policy analysis "tools of the trade," you'll only need a whiteboard and a few people in the room working the policy options with you.

Similar short course policy analysis workshops developed by Pardee RAND have been held for advisers to First Ladies from across sub-Saharan Africa, government officials from a Middle Eastern nation, United States Army officers, and MPH students and public health physicians in Singapore. Workshop content comes directly from the courses the Pardee RAND Graduate School offers for its Ph.D. program in policy analysis.

Course Outline

Introduction to and Overview of Policy Analysis

  • What is policy analysis?
  • How can it be used to make better policy decisions?
  • Roles of policy analysts
  • How can busy policy decisionmakers and executives be better consumers of policy analyses?

Phases of Public Policymaking

  • Sources of policy ideas
  • Participants on the inside and outside of government
  • Problems, agendas, and policy formulation
  • Policy adoption
  • Policy implementation
  • Policy impact, evaluation, and change

Basic Techniques for Conducting Policy Analysis

  • What are some ways to structure policy analyses?
  • How much analysis is enough?
  • What could go wrong in conducting a policy analysis?
  • How do you deal with uncertainty in the policy environment?

About the Instructor

Jeffrey Wasserman is vice president and director of RAND Health. He is also a professor of public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School and an instructor in the University of Southern California's International Public Policy and Management program, where he teaches a course on public policy formulation and implementation. Wasserman received his B.A. in political science and his M.S. in public policy analysis from the University of Rochester, and his Ph.D. in public policy analysis from the Pardee RAND Graduate School.

About Pardee RAND Graduate School

The Pardee RAND Graduate School is unique in American higher education. It was founded in 1970 as one of the original eight graduate programs in public policy. Pardee RAND was the only program specializing in the Ph.D. It is based at the RAND Corporation which invented many of the analytical tools of public policy analysis.

The mission of the Pardee RAND Graduate School is to educate high-level problem solvers who will take on some of the world's toughest problems with rigor, a broad interdisciplinary perspective, and a creative flair. Toward this end, Pardee RAND selects up to 25 doctoral students each year on the basis of intellectual power, creativity and a practical bent.

Pardee RAND Graduate School doctoral students take advanced courses in such fields as economics, statistics, political science, and the social sciences. They also work part-time as members of RAND's interdisciplinary research teams, which is how they earn their fellowships.

This combination of advanced course work and on-the-job training is unique. It's curriculum plus vitae. Students obtain the best research training in our classrooms, and they get to apply it to real problems with RAND mentors and real clients. Learn more at www.prgs.edu.

Further Inquiries

For further information about this event, contact the Office of Congressional Relations at ocr@rand.org or call (703) 413-1100, ext. 5395.