ARCHIVE - CAS in Comparative Public Policy

The topic

The keys to successful implementation processes

Public policy is the sum of the decisions made and actions taken in a concerted manner by the political and administrative actors who are trying to resolve a public problem. Public policy analysis aims to explain how the programmes and strategies of public action are developed and implemented, as well as to identify their effects on target groups and the groups affected by the public problem.

The difficulties encountered by both the public and private actors responsible for the implementation of public policies require the development of intelligent strategies that will help to avoid, or at least reduce, objections to the different possible ways of making those policies a reality. These different types of objections can be observed in the frequent opposition seen to infrastructure projects (e.g. a wind farm, an asylum seekers’ centre, transport or military infrastructure), the implementation of new environmental regulations (e.g. a clean-up order, compulsory environmental compensation payments), the implementation of social aid programmes (e.g. disputes relating to invalidity insurance, health insurance, housing benefits, or aid to migrants or refugees), the implementation of school reforms (e.g. Switzerland’s HarmoS agreement or the canton of Vaud’s EVM reform) or decisions on fiscal taxation (e.g. appeals against tax decisions, tax fraud).

Putting such strategies into place necessitates a deep understanding of the range of potential actors intervening in the implementation processes, regulations, procedures, and political and administrative arrangements that enable the more or less participative implementation of these projects. These are also the actors involved in the action plans that prepare the way for decisions about the concrete implementation of these policies in the field. This course aims to provide participants with the analytical tools to identify and deeply comprehend the conditions necessary for the successful implementation of public policy in Switzerland—but it will also help them to identify the conditions that will create obstacles or even failure.


  • A deeper knowledge of the constituent elements of public policy, notably the stages and products of public policy (scheduling, planning, implementation and evaluation), causal models, actors, institutional rules and resources for action
  • A detailed understanding of the implementation procedures, techniques, instruments and strategies for different sectoral policies in different cantons and communes
  • The ability to identify the conditions necessary for successful public policy implementation as well as the obstacles and factors which might lead to failure
  • The capacity to develop alternative, innovative and effective public policy implementation strategies
  • A practical command of using comparative analytical approaches on sectoral policies and/or territorial institutions (States, cantons, communes)

Target audience

This course is aimed at any individuals involved in the development and implementation of public policies:

  • Political decision-makers
  • Individuals working in federal, cantonal and local administrations
  • Individuals working for private organisations (foundations, charities, not-for-profit associations, NGOs) who are consulted on or responsible for implementing public programmes within the framework of delegated public responsibilities
  • Individuals working for representative organisations or think tanks participating in the development of public policies
  • Students studying for the MAS in Public Administration (MPA)


  • French is the main teaching language for this program
  • More information available on the corresponding pages
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Course Manager
Prof. Stéphane Nahrath
+41 21 692 69 40

Studies Secretariat
+41 21 692 69 17

Rue de la Mouline 28 - CH-1022 Chavannes-près-Renens
Tel. +41 21 692 68 00
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