Our society is characterised by constant and rapid changes in various areas of life (economics, demographics, politics, well-being, values and norms,...). This means that the government is constantly required to find new answers for the social existence- and development conditions of its citizens. Social policy is characterised by acting rationally in a controllable world. But this policy is strongly influenced by limitations, areas of tension, conflicting logic and risks. Economic conditions, socio-cultural and demographic conditions and human failure all influence the results of this policy-making. Moreover there exist limitations and/or unintended expectations of policy as a consequence of societal shifts, institutional factors, political power-relationships and – preferences and dominant portrayals of mankind.
The course is divided in three parts. The first part focuses on the interaction between society and public policy: the policy process, the filosofical foundations for public policy and the determinants of public policy. The second part elaborates on policy evaluation: how do we measure policy impacts, which techniques can be used and what can we learn in particular form microsimulation? The third part starts from specific case studies to highlight policy evaluation in practice.