Electives

Below is a list of Electives available. Please note that not all electives will be offered in any one semester, and the elective details are subject to change without prior notice. Please check each respective programmes’ page for the maximum number of electives allowed.

Management and Leadership

Creating, implementing, and delivering programmes, policies, and services effectively increasingly requires the involvement of a highly diverse set of – supportive as well as adversarial – stakeholders. This module will address questions such as: Which stakeholders matter the most and why? How do leaders ensure the negligence of stakeholders will not lead to future legitimacy gaps? What engagement strategy should be employed?

The module will examine how public and privte managers respond to external disruptive innovations in industries and markets, and how they balance existing labour laws, consumer protection, and quality control with the emerging economic opportunities and customer demand. It will examine how managers have to innovate their own policies, practices, and assumptions in responding to assertive stakeholder demands and technological developments. The module will also examine the role of public sector managers in creating a conducive climate for entrepreneurship and overcome pervasive institutional and individual forces constraining change and renewal, and the inherent ‘risk averse’ cultures of many bureaucracies.

21st century managers encounter brand new types of ethical issues, including the blurring between public and private time in new media usage, tensions created by increasing diversity and internationalization, security risks and ethical risks created by big data and artificial intelligence, and the advent of virtual whistleblowing. The module will examine the kind of analyses required, the difficulties involved, and what strategies are likely to be effective. It also examines where unethical behavior comes from and how ethical behavior can be incentivized; and the link between compliance, awareness and values.

It is clear that governments can no longer ‘go it alone’ in effectively addressing 21st century challenges. Collaborating within, between and across sectors is paramount. The module will examine the need for horizontal, collaborative leadership and management. It will examine how governments can establish trust and accountability especially when they are often held formally responsible and accountable for policy outcomes, and when they are blamed when things go wrong.

Today, a number of local governments and communities are expected to play vital roles in improving people’s lives. This module introduces normative theories and timely real-world cases pertinent to decentralization and local governance. These are discussed in relation to topics of government efficiency, equity, corruption, conflict management, democratization, and sector-specific issues in education, health, and environmental and disaster management. Students will learn theoretical and empirical approaches to studying the topics and acquire analytical skills to address the challenges faced by localities and decentralizing states. The module is multidisciplinary, drawing on views from economics, public administration, and political science.

This course discusses the fundamentals of logic, moral philosophy and the art of policy communications. It has a theoretical component in political and moral philosophy and a practical component in policy communications. It provides a foundation for the tool of moral reasoning, the processes of public decision-making and the criticaland analytical tools for public discourse. 

This module is intended for individuals who are interested in the functions of the market in modern economies and who in the course of their careers may be in positions of regulating market behaviour for public policy purposes. The focus is to identify what makes the market imperfect or cause market failures. The course will also examine the appropriate form of governmental intervention. 

This module will help students to understand the concepts and practice of leadership and develop a better knowledge of public service. Students will be exposed to insights and best practices, with emphasis on the public service and learn the skills to develop into a capable leader. Students will learn to lead, anticipate the future, make decisions, know their bias, build teams, motivate, communicate, understand the public interest and become better leaders. 

This module is intended to examine the leadership and decision-making skills relevant to public policy formulation and implementation. It will be structured into 3 segments, namely: (a) the role and nature of leadership to public policy success; (b) the range of decision-making tools used in environmental analysis and the identification of the strategic objectives and policies, and (c)the role of behavioural economic insights and cognitive biases that public sector managers have to take into account in the choice and implementation of public policies. The approach will be multi-disciplinary, and Singapore’s experience will be used to illustrate the application of general analytical tools and approaches to public policy. 

Public policy is not just made. It must also be explained. To be effective in positions of authority, public leaders should be able not just to analyse policy, but to talk and write about it as well — to communicate succinctly and persuasively, to frame issues, and to grapple with the worlds of ideas and perceptions, all taking place within a fast-moving digital media environment. This course is designed to help future leaders improve their ability to speak and write in challenging situations, from winning over hostile audiences to giving TED-style talks and writing punchy op-eds suitable for publication in global media outlets. Having taken it, students will emerge with a deeper understanding of differing styles of communication in public life — and the ability to begin to develop their own. 

This is a course for changemakers – those committed to addressing world issues, interested in learning tools and concepts to maximize positive impact with limited resources by focusing on value creation. The course helps students get familiarized with social entrepreneurship concepts and practices, and build awareness of their multiple applications in the public and the private sectors. Topics include: problem and solution identification, business model innovation, piloting, impact assessment, scaling impact, funding, pitching, social entrepreneurship ecosystems and public policies. This is an applied course: students will choose a real-world social venture project and work on it in teams during the semester.

This module will help the student to understand better the practice of governance and learn how to build better and effective governance. The student will be exposed to insights and practices of governance and the delivery of public services that draw from examples from across different countries. The emphasis is on the practices of better and effective governance, rather than the theory. Each week, students will discuss an aspect of governance and then offer their own thoughts on the subject using their country (or another country that they have intimate knowledge of) as setting.
Towards the end of the course, the student will propose solutions that may help towards achieving better governance in their country. 

The abiding opportunity of our globalized, multicultural world is to take advantage of cultural diversity. As individuals, we have to learn to live and work in multicultural settings. Our institutions need to learn how to deal with cultural diversity. As we learn and innovate, we have to understand how to take what seems to work in one culture and think about how to apply it in our own cultural setting. Finally, we need to understand cultural change, including how to shape or resist it. The course draws from many disciplines and uses examples from Asia and around the world.

This is a skills-based course that focuses on the interpersonal and intrapersonal dynamics that impact leadership. Participants are encouraged to clarify their own leadership direction and personal motives so they may make effective progress in pursuing their ambitions while avoiding typical areas of derailment. The classroom is used for both didactic learning, e.g., of diagnostic tools for analyzing interactions in case studies and in class, and for practicing new strategies of action. Other sources of learning include readings, lectures, plenary discussions, small group work, film, and cases provided by participants’ of their experience with leadership challenges.

This course considers theories and concepts in conflict and conflict resolution, and examines the processes of negotiation and mediation. It seeks to apply principles in conflict management and negotiation to specific case situations and cultural contexts. This course is experiential-based and students will have the opportunity to participate in negotiation and conflict management exercises, case discussions and practice sessions. 

Education is a significant area in public policy impacting individuals, families specific communities and society as a whole. It is widely seen as crucial to economic competitiveness, social cohesion and human development. In this module, students will learn about policy dilemmas, choices and consequences both in Singapore and in East Asia. Topics covered include access and equity issues, medium of institution, values and citizenship education and higher education.

Ethics and good governance are essential to the continuing development of the public sector, in developing as well advanced nations. This module will help you to develop authentic moral positions on public management issues and essential competencies for ethical leadership. You will approach this through first exploring the underlying concepts and philosophical underpinnings of ethical governance and the threats facing it. You will then develop your skills and ethical standpoints by putting your learning into practice with assignments and practical exercises, many of which involve actual cases and dilemma trainings used in professional programs all over the world. 

There are many factors in successful implementation: timing, strategy, luck, and the appropriate external environment, to name some. But a key factor is the operating style of the implementer. Since that factor is potentially most under our control, the course will focus on managing the instrument of self towards an objective. It will consist of a guided and case informed conversation about some traits of persons who have been demonstrably effective at translating ideas into action. The objective of the course is to have each of us become more effective in the public service and public policy arena.

This practice-based media and communication course will help them understand media management, marketing public policies, public opinion management, public consultation principles and the application of effective communication strategies. The aim is to ensure participants are equipped to manage public perception that affects the implementation of public policies. It will be case study mode of training based on the experiences of a practitioner. Students are expected to actively participate in the discussions and class work. 

This course links public policy principles with key contemporary urban transport choices. It aims to help students from diverse countries become discerning consumers or supervisors (although not producers) of urban transport policy analysis, with enough understanding to engage critically with technical analysts. A comparative policy perspective and cases from a variety of situations (in terms of income, motorization, city size, urban structure, institutions, etc.) help reveal both universal principles and a need for local knowledge. Key sections include: 1) Introduction to fundamentals; 2) Supply and demand choices regarding urban traffic; 3) Multimodal approaches; and 4) Links with urban planning. 

This course equips students with the fundamental concepts and techniques of financial management with a special focus on their applications and implications for policy making and public management. The main topics covered in this course include: Fundamental Concepts in Financial Management, which includes Time Value of Money, Interest Rates and Bond Rating, Risk and Rates of Return, and Capital Asset Pricing Model; Assessment of Business Performance Valuation of Bonds and Stocks; Capital Budgeting; Derivatives and Risk Management; Mergers and Acquisitions; Investment Strategy; Applications of financial management concepts and techniques to policy analysis and public management. 

This course builds on and expands the basic building blocks of skills and art developed in their first negotiation course. This course is divided into two sections. In the first section, students will be introduced to more advanced material relating to: (a) multi-party negotiations; (b) three-dimensional negotiation; (c) international and global negotiations; and (d) apparently intractable conflicts. These classes will occur over several weekends. In the second part of the course, students will be expected to delve into one particular context (regulatory, ethnic or identity-based, global treaty negotiations, etc…) of negotiation and/or conflict resolution in much more detail, producing a significant paper and presenting their findings to the class at the end of the semester.

Effective leadership requires understanding how we impact those around us. This course focuses on developing the skills to work with different people by increasing awareness of our own leadership styles and examining how we affect people. To enhance skill development with the study of leadership theory, participants will synthesize lectures and case study material with personal psychological assessment tools, 360 feedback, in-class simulations, and outdoor leadership activities. 

This module provides a survey of Singapore’s practices in public management and policy development from a comparative perspective. We will focus on innovations in public sector governance as main contributing factors for Singapore’s strong economic growth in the last four decades, and discuss underlying principles and rationale for these innovations. The course consists of two parts. The first part of the course introduces to students key elements of public sector governance in Singapore, including governance structure, civil servant system, policy development, policy implementation, and financial management. The second part of the course examines Singapore’s experience in policy development and implementation in selected sectors such as health care, housing, water supply, land transport, industrial development, information technology and telecommunication. 

The objectives of this module are to understand the basic principles and logic of government fiscal activities and government budgets. This module helps MPA students become familiar with analytical approaches for resource allocation and decision evaluations in the public sector. Major topics covered include rationale for public sector; options for financing government expenditure; taxation policy; expenditure policy; fiscal decentralisation; privatization; role of cost recovery and user charges; budgeting systems and techniques; capital budgeting.

This project-based module allows students to develop innovative solutions to real-world policy problems. Students work in teams with external partners (government, corporate, incubators, non-profit organizations, foundations, etc.) to develop a concrete innovative “product" that addresses a specific public policy issue. Students work with their partner on a project. They participate in workshop-style lectures on key issues related to innovation including diffusion, disruption, and policy application, and on practical skills for policy innovation including design thinking, human-centered design, stakeholder analysis, and problem-solving processes. External partners reserve the right to select the student teams working on their proposed projects.

This course teaches students how to systematically analyse complex policy problems and conduct policy design to address long-term challenges. The skillset is generic and can be applied to different domains (e.g. Transport, Environment, Energy, Health, etc.). This makes this course crucial for professionals with functions that require long-horizon thinking and decision-making. Relevant theories and techniques and their limitations covered include system analysis, actor analysis, policy networks, problem formulation, definition of goal hierarchies, information gathering, generation of a library of policy measures, analysis and selection of policy measures, multi-criteria decision making, generation of alternative solutions, and analysis of their trade-offs.

Politics and International Affairs

An unprecedented level of urbanization is expected worldwide, presenting immense resource challenges as well as opportunities for cities. It is critical that the future city leaders learn from urban pioneers and case examples, to gain insights into the urban development challenges of cities, and to make informed decisions based on the principles and practice of dynamic urban governance. Singapore is an example of a very dense city that is also highly liveable. The module will therefore focus on Singapore, analysed through the lens on the Liveability Framework, and brought to life by experts in various fields of urban development. 

Today, a number of local governments and communities are expected to play vital roles in improving people’s lives. This module introduces normative theories and timely real-world cases pertinent to decentralization and local governance. These are discussed in relation to topics of government efficiency, equity, corruption, conflict management, democratization, and sector-specific issues in education, health, and environmental and disaster management. Students will learn theoretical and empirical approaches to studying the topics and acquire analytical skills to address the challenges faced by localities and decentralizing states. The module is multidisciplinary, drawing on views from economics, public administration, and political science.

In today’s globalization, many of the policy challenges are becoming urban issues, especially in the rapidly urbanizing Asia. This module focuses on examining the new policy challenges and opportunities of Asian global cities that are increasingly strengthening their presence in the world. It studies a number of rising and transforming global cities in East, Southeast and South Asia, in order to understand their experiences of globalization and urban policy priorities. A number of key policy-related topics will be covered, including global urban networks, urban gateways, megaprojects, privatization, land governance, housing development, informal economy, and participatory development. 

How is social welfare organised in East Asia? What are the unique strengths and vulnerabilities? This course examines the origins, structure, and performance of social welfare systems in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Korea, and analyses their distinctiveness relative to the mature welfare states of Europe and other developed economies. Students will be trained to combine major theoretical perspectives such as developmentalism, neoliberalism, and welfare regimes with empirical understanding of country cases using a critical and comparative approach.

The course explores the connections among events in Asia as they have unfolded since the end of World War II and examines them in relation to contemporary issues. It assesses competing explanations for longstanding issues, including the Taiwan issue, division of the Korean peninsula, South China Sea dispute, and trajectory of regionalism. These issues are playing out amid a major power shift, not only as a consequence of China’s rise, but also with the emergence of Asia as a global agenda-setter. The course also examines the new threats to the region, from WMD proliferation to terrorism and competition for resources.

We are all aware of the disruptive impacts of violence and conflict over the security, economic, and social wellbeing of our increasingly interconnected societies. In a time when conflicts are becoming more complex, a better understanding of their dynamics and of the peaceful means to address them is a paramount necessity for future leaders and policy makers. This course offers an opportunity to develop analytical skills to understand today’s conflicts and to learn key tools of conflict resolution.

The course links trade policy to global value chains (GVCs), which are the driving forces of 21st-century international trade. The first part addresses specific issues in trade policy, such as trade in goods and services, foreign direct investment, intellectual property rights, trade and standards, free trade agreements (FTAs), and the WTO. The second part focuses on GVCs. First it covers GVCs from economic and business perspectives, and examines how they work sectorally and geographically. Then it links GVCs to trade policy – at the national and sub-national levels, and how GVCs are covered in FTAs and the WTO.

Fragile and failed states pose unique problems to the international community. From the 1990s, wars in and among failed states have killed and displaced millions. In an increasingly interconnected world, internal insecurity fundamentally undermines international security. This module focuses on understanding the main drivers of state fragility and the impact on global security. In understanding the root causes and consequences of state fragility, students will work through appropriate and practical policy responses. The module draws on contemporary case studies of contested states and explores the issues through the lenses of political science, international relations, history, geography, sociology and public policy.

Economies succeed not just from generating ever improved domestic social outcomes, but also by navigating successfully their foreign relations. Nation states commit a dangerous error if they situate injudiciously in world order, not least with the current model of global power relations under ongoing stress. Against a background of conventional approaches, this module provides an economic perspective on rethinking world order. It asks what a rational world order is and investigates the role of smaller states in it. The course compares current reality to a rational world order, and analyzes how critical elements of such a new order might emerge. 

Launched on the 50th Anniversary of Singapore-Japan Diplomatic Relations (SJ50), this module is designed to get students to consider future opportunities and challenges for sustainable development in ASEAN and Japan. It will be taught by two professors, with distinguished public service and political leaders as guest speakers. Through interactive discussions, students will gain historical knowledge and new insights for broadening policy options in public administration, foreign affairs, the economy, trade, and international finance. The module will feature topics in energy, environment, agriculture, cyber security, health/aging, science, technology and innovation. 

In an interconnected and interdependent world with business, governments and civil society institutions converging and collaborating on projects and solving issues, with international corporations expected to share leadership, new mindsets, new tools and new narratives are required. This course is an opportunity to learn more about public diplomacy as a conceptual tool linked to other disciplines such as public relations, public affairs, corporate responsibility, strategy, sustainability, social psychology and governance.

This module will introduce students to international and strategic thought in four Asian countries – China, India, Japan, and Singapore. As world power shifts towards Asia, it is vital to provide students with insights into how key Asian societies have thought about the nature of international life and how to deal with the threats and opportunities to their countries. Students will read key texts and thinkers, will make comparisons across the four sets of thinkers and will critically assess the relevance of the ideas they encounter for contemporary foreign and security policy.

This course is an overview of opportunities taken and the strengths obtained in the changes of the political economy of Singapore. It will cover Singapore from an East India Company settlement to its status as a Straits Settlement colony and then as a colony by itself, full internal self-government, merger with Malaysia and now an independent republic. Topics covered include how the political economy of Singapore coped with changes in the region, new commodities in the hinterland, population movements, global ideology, national aspirations, international finance, multinational corporations and economic volatility.

This course deals with social policy issues with special reference to Southeast Asian countries. The policies analysed include those relating to ethnicity, urbanisation, housing, migration, labour, poverty and its alleviation, education and health. The ideas of state responsibility to provide for basic needs and of a social safety net are considered. 

This course examines the development of urban areas and the public policies that lead to rational and effective urban structures and institutions. The course begins with an examination of the theories and principles that explain the existence of regions and cities. These principles will then be used to establish criteria for evaluating urban policies and to look at several urban problems. Substantive areas which will be explored in the course include land use, housing, transportation, economic development, the environment, urban public finance, and intergovernmental organisations/institutions.

This module gives an overview of global health policy and issues, with special focus on changing social, economic, technological and political conditions across the diverse countries and populations of Asia. It examines the roles and relationships among major players at the global level, and different approaches taken by various international organisations and national governments in tackling health and related problems. This module will examine global health trends and issues using a macro policy framework. Significant challenges in the organisation of global health programmes and the complexities involved in international cooperation will be analysed through selected case-studies. Topics on current issues will include:- population health and development, role of international health organizations, international aid and development assistance, emerging epidemics and disasters, cross-border health issues, migration of health human resources (brain drain), international trade in health services and the future of global health.

This module addresses the rise of political Islam and Islamism, and its impact on governance in the contemporary Muslim world. It aims to deepen our understanding regarding the inherent complexities of the Islamist movement and heighten our awareness of this new global political and policy issue. The module begins with a brief overview of rise of political Islam and Islamism and examines the potential reasons for its success. We then examine the impact of political Islam on governance in various Muslim countries. We will consider the different strategies embraced by states towards the Islamist movement – ranging from total exclusion to full incorporation into the governance structures. Finally, the module will consider the more transnational manifestations of these movements including those which are clearly more militant and politically violent, and question the resulting policy implications for the state.

This course examines the key security issues in the Asia-Pacific region. The principal questions include: the tension between the two Koreas, the nuclear issue and its impact, the tension between Mainland China and Taiwan, the policies and interactions of the United States, China and other powers in the region, and the future prospect of the reunifications of the two Koreas and China/Taiwan. It will enhance students’ research and analytical ability and deepen their knowledge on Asia-Pacific affairs generally. It also aims at helping students to gain insights into how security policies are produced and implemented. 

This course addresses regional integration through the ASEAN and the EU in a comparative manner, including historical origins, basic structures, decision-making processes and main policy domains, both internal and external. The course also examines bi-regional relations between the EU and ASEAN as well as future challenges for the two regions and regionalism overall.

This module will provide an overview of the contemporary U.S.-China relationship with particular focus on U.S. policymaking towards China. The module will review key issues that define the relationship, analyze U.S. security policy decision-making structures and consider how they shape the relationship. The course will conclude by discussing other Asian perspectives of the U.S.-China dyad and how third countries respond to shifts in the U.S.-China relationship.

Singapore is a small postcolonial multicultural nation-state and a cosmopolitan global city. Its experience of rapid development led by a clean, elite, and pragmatic state has been codified into a model and in fact a nation brand, admired by developing and advanced countries alike. This module focuses on how Singapore’s transformation into a top-rank global city has affected its policies surrounding social cohesion, urban development, social development, and foreign affairs. It examines the viability of the Singapore model in the face of complex global challenges, which may require fundamental adjustments to Singapore’s strong state model.

This course introduces the political, economic, and security issues in the interstate relations of Southeast Asia since the end of World War II. It studies regionalism and regional cooperation and conflict in Southeast Asia with a focus on ASEAN as the epicentre of Southeast Asian regionalism. It examines how ASEAN member states have coped with various challenges and sought to manage regional order and stability.

This module is an advanced course that will provide students practical experience in the field and expose them to practitioners of political risk analysis. The module is focused on completing an assigned political risk analysis project commissioned by real-world client which will be submitted to the client at the end of the module. Students will be organized into small teams that will conduct research, analyze data, prepare a political risk report to be presented to the client. Students will develop and demonstrate key skills related to political risk analysis and client management in a real-world environment.

The idea that ‘pragmatism’ accounts for Singapore’s successful development and governance is at the heart of the Singapore model. But its practical meaning – even in the most seemingly technocratic policy examples – has been multiple, unstable, contradictory, and increasingly ideological in an age of neoliberal globalization, when the market often gets to dictate what counts as pragmatic, and often in ways that obscure and thus secure elite interests. This module explores the policy and legislative debates surrounding: (1) Sex, including prostitution, homosexuality, and procreation; (2) Addiction, including drug use, gambling, and smoking; and (3) Censorship of the arts and popular culture.

This course focuses on how states formulate and implement their foreign policies. It is structured based on different levels of analysis: systems, state, leaders, bureaucracies/institutions, and society. The course analyses the various constraints that each of these actors face, how they interact with each other, and the processes and mechanisms through which they resolve their differences and formulate policy. It also examines the conditions in the implementation process that impact policy outcomes. Major themes include the state as rational actor, the role of personalities and their psychology, the impact of ideas and cultures, bureaucratic politics, and the role of interest groups and coalitions.

The Asia-Pacific is the most important region of the world with its economic vibrancy and strategic importance, and presents a plethora of important and puzzling security and economic challenges. In this course we will utilize various theoretical approaches to examine and explain a set of substantive issues in the international relations of the Asia-Pacific: US-China rivalry; territorial disputes; Taiwan issue; North Korean nuclear threat; Japan’s foreign policy; the so-called ‘history problem’ issue; ASEAN; security institutions; economic patterns; human rights; and environmental and aging society problem. In addition, we seek to understand the future trajectory of the Asia-Pacific.

Economics and Development

This course focuses on application of cost-benefit analysis (CBA) in public policy which involves the systematic evaluation of the costs and benefits to determine the desirability of policies and projects. The principal objectives are to understand the conceptual foundations and apply associated analytic techniques underlying a CBA. Through practical examples and illustrations, students will learn the basic principles of CBA and the practical steps in conducting a cost-benefit study. It will equip analysts and decision makers with the necessary skills to conduct, interpret, evaluate and utilize a CBA study for informed decision making and selection of alternative policies and projects.

This course is concerned with economic analysis of the public sector. It covers topics such as economic boundaries of the state; public choice theory; government budgeting systems and their implications; economic effects of various taxes; the role of user charges; fiscal incentives; government expenditure policies; tax and expenditure reform; as well as economics of multilevel government. The course also examines the privatisation phenomenon. 

The purpose of this course is to prepare students for becoming both critical consumers and competent producers of quantitative evidence used in the public policy arena. This course provides students with a solid grounding on economic theory and statistical techniques used to analyze public policy. At the end of the course, students will be able to use advanced econometric tools on real world policy problems and draw policy implications. The major topics covered include: inference and hypothesis testing, simple regression analysis, multiple regression analysis, non-linear regression models, binary dependent variable models, program evaluation, panel data analysis, and time series analysis and forecasting.

This course takes a multi-disciplinary, practitioner-driven approach to analyse Singapore’s public policies. It does this by integrating and applying three conceptual lenses, namely standard economics, the cognitive sciences, and organisation behaviour. We will first examine policies in Singapore through the lens of market failures and how economists have traditionally viewed the role of governments. We then examine the cognitive limits of economic agents and consider how behavioural economics offers the possibility of better policy design by taking into account people’s cognitive biases and limitations. In the third segment, we analyse the Singapore government through the lens of organisation behaviour. Throughout the course, we apply these lenses to various policy successes and failures in Singapore.

This module is intended for individuals who are interested in the functions of the market in modern economies and who in the course of their careers may be in positions of regulating market behaviour for public policy purposes. The focus is to identify what makes the market imperfect or cause market failures. The course will also examine the appropriate form of governmental intervention. 

In recent years, China has emerged as a major global economic power. Moreover, China has become increasingly integrated with the rest of the global economy. It is important to have a good understanding of China’s increasing importance to global economic growth. This course is intended to provide students with an intensive overview of China’s growing role in the global economy with focus on the interactions between China’s domestic economic reform and its cross-border trade and investment. The impact of China’s Belt and Road Initiative on both domestic economic growth and other developing, as well as developed economies are also discussed.

Clean air and water affect human welfare in many direct and indirect ways. However, an almost inadvertent outcome of societal aspirations and economic progress is polluted air and water. This trade-off is faced by every policymaker and this module draws on knowledge from environmental sciences, epidemiology, public health, environmental and development economics, public economics, and others fields to characterize this problem and study possible policy responses. Given the interdisciplinary nature of this topic, this is also a gateway class to more advanced learnings in environmental economics, cost-benefit analysis, program and impact evaluation.

Understanding the interplay of Public Administration, Technology and Innovation is the object of this course, and its aim is to stay at the “top of the game” and therefore to be capable of dealing with this key aspect of the public sphere today. What is the relationship between PA and Technology – which drives the other, what are the motives and interests involved, does cultural context matter, are there any choices, and is the specific PA model relevant? Should the bureaucracy innovate itself or promote business innovation? And should the focus be on the future or on the present?

This module is designed to provide students with a knowledge of natural disasters and climate change. It begins by establishing a link between climate-related disasters and human activity. It then considers the joint challenges of disaster risk reduction and management, and provides lessons for policy and investments. The module likewise examines the issue of climate change as an externality that can be addressed through policy tools geared towards mitigation and adaptation.

This course seeks to explore the role of political leadership in economic policy and performance. It starts with a discussion of politics at the central level and introduces the merits and problems in the Chinese economic context. Students will be exposed to two major debates about control mechanisms in managing central-local relations: fiscal decentralization and promotion tournament. They will critically engage these two theories by examining some recent empirical works. This course concludes with four important issues facing today’s Chinese economy: urbanization, pollution, financial policy and corruption. Students will gain insights about policies that are crucial to China’s future growth. 

Corruption is now perceived as a major challenge to public policy and governance facing many countries, especially in the developing world. This module, which focuses on efficiency consequences of corruption, provides students with quantitative tools to analyze the essence of corruption. Through lectures and class discussions, students will learn how to interpret the incidence, existence and persistence of corruption as an economist and policy maker. Students will be exposed to the most recent empirical studies to comprehensively understand the influence of corruption on economic growth. Finally, this module will examine policy issues and evaluate the anti-corruption efforts in different countries.

Traditional economics, which is one of the key theoretical cornerstones of public policy, typically assumes that human behavior is rational, preferences are stable, and individuals are smart and unemotional. However, human behavior often deviates from standard assumptions due to psychological and social factors; analysis based on traditional economics can therefore misinform policies and lead to detrimental consequences. This course discusses behavioral regularities that are of potential importance for public policy. Students will be exposed to behavioral economic theory and its applications to public policy in the areas of savings, investment, healthcare, climate change, taxation, labor supply, and monetary policy. 

This course links the fields of macroeconomic and financial policies. It provides coverage of economic principles that underlie the operation of banks and other financial institutions. The role of money in the economy and the impact of the central bank and monetary policy on the macroeconomy are emphasized, as is understanding the foreign exchange market and some basics of monetary theory and international finance. The focus of this course is on analytics.

This course is an introduction to selected aspects of Asian economic development and the region’s interactions with the rest of the world. It will focus on developing simple analytical tools to understand key trends and macroeconomic, financial and trade policy issues that confront Asia in the world economy. Topics covered include sources of growth in the Newly Industrializing Economies (NIEs) in East Asia, the rise of China and India and their impact on the global trading system, foreign direct investment to Asia, currency crisis in Asia, Asia in the global financial system, and issues relating to Asian economic regionalism. 

The module provides a comprehensive view with rigorous comparative analyses that are essential for understanding the dynamics of economic growth in developing Asia. The module also introduces to students concepts and analytical frameworks that enhance their competence in policy analysis for the issues related to economic growth and competitiveness. 

This course examines the contribution of science and technology (S&T) to national economic development and identifies the public policy roles of government in science and technology. It develops the concepts and analytic techniques for formulating and evaluating public policy towards science and technology, and analyses alternative institutional structures and processes for policy implementation. Comparative case studies on actual national S&T planning systems as well as specific policy experiences in selected advanced industrialised countries and newly-industrialised economies will be examined and their lessons and relevance for Singapore discussed. 

This course covers policy issues of modern ageing societies, with special emphases on families and comparisons between Asian and Western countries. To tackle the complex issues, we discuss both relevant theories and empirical evidence from various disciplines. The first part investigates demographic causes of population ageing–decreased fertility and extended longevity. The second part reviews public old-age support programs and discuss their challenges. We also describe policy options to mitigate the consequences of population ageing, and assess the effectiveness of the policies. The third part examines why families provide elder support, and how public and private old-age provisions are interrelated.

The course introduces students to development topics from a micro-economic perspective. The course will lead the students to analyze roles of different economic entities in developing countries. Topics such as education, health, migration and fertility will be covered. The empirical focus of this course allows students to develop sufficient analytical skills to analyze policy problems for development related issues.

The objective of this module is to get an understanding of what is poverty, how to measure poverty, who is poor, what causes poverty, and what are the policy responses to poverty alleviation. In addition, the module will also examine the concept of inequality and its interlinkages with poverty. The module will combine theory, measurement, and policy with an emphasis on policy examples from Asia. In addition to introducing students to mainstream conceptualizations of poverty and inequality such as pre-determined poverty lines and Gini index, this module will bring in contemporary and alternative paradigms such as multi-dimensional poverty, capability deprivation, and inequality of opportunity. 

This course is an introduction to international economics and is conducted in two parts. The first part focuses on international finance theory and open economy macroeconomics policy while the second part deals with international trade theory and policy. The broad topics that will be examined include: theory of international trade and commercial policies; balance of payments accounting and its determinants; and the basics on foreign exchange. Extensive examples will be drawn from experiences of Asian economies.

This module will provide a fundamental understanding of the root causes of current mismanagement of water at a massive scale, both in terms of quantity and quality, as well as in terms of economic, environmental and health implications. It will explore the direct interrelationships between water and population dynamics, urbanization, ruralisation, globalization, free trade, technological developments, economic growth and other similar issues. The course will assess the impacts and relevance of current global water policy dialogues on issues like poverty alleviation, environment conservation and regional income distribution. Issues like improper and inadequate water quality management in the entire developing world, management of transboundary and interstate rivers and lakes, economic instruments, legal frameworks and institutional arrangements will be considered. The roles of stakeholder participation, public-private partnerships and non-governmental organizations will be explored. 

This module is based on the premise that the sustainability of the natural environment is a necessity for the sustainability of the economic system. Hence the module commences with how specific definitions and models in economics need to be modified in cognizance of certain laws of thermodynamics. The module is divided into four blocks. The first block concerns the introduction of pertinent concepts in economics and their adaptation in the context of the relevant laws of thermodynamics The second and third blocks deal with the application of the adaptations to policy issues respectively at the microeconomic level and the macroeconomic level. The fourth block deals with the synthesis between microeconomic and macroeconomic analyses and the synergy between policies at the different levels 

This module gives an overview of health and economic issues, with a special focus on the implications for public policy. It examines health policies using an economic framework, including supply and demand factors, market structure, market failure and public-private roles as they apply to health care. Topics include: health care financing and payment methods, health resources, costs and cost-containment; resource allocation and issues of equity, efficiency and cost-effectiveness; valuation of health status and outcomes including utilities like QALYs, and application of economic evaluation techniques.

This course explores the determinants of national and regional competitiveness from a bottom-up, microeconomic perspective. The course probes the ultimate determinants of a nation’s or region’s productivity, rooted in the strategies and operating practices of locally-based firms, the vitality of clusters, and the quality of the business environment in which competition takes place. The course examines both advanced and developing economies and addresses the competitiveness of nations and particular clusters. It also examines the role that economic coordination among neighboring countries plays in competitiveness. The course is concerned not only with government policy but also with the roles that firms, industry associations, universities, and other institutions play in competitiveness. In modern international competition, each of these institutions has an important role that is shifting. Moreover, the process of creating and sustaining an economic strategy for a nation or region is a daunting challenge. The course explores not only theory and policy, but also the organisational structures, institutional structures, and change processes required for sustained improvements in competitiveness. 

The objectives of this module are to understand the basic principles and logic of government fiscal activities and government budgets. This module helps MPA students become familiar with analytical approaches for resource allocation and decision evaluations in the public sector. Major topics covered include rationale for public sector; options for financing government expenditure; taxation policy; expenditure policy; fiscal decentralisation; privatization; role of cost recovery and user charges; budgeting systems and techniques; capital budgeting.

This project-based module allows students to develop innovative solutions to real-world policy problems. Students work in teams with external partners (government, corporate, incubators, non-profit organizations, foundations, etc.) to develop a concrete innovative “product" that addresses a specific public policy issue. Students work with their partner on a project. They participate in workshop-style lectures on key issues related to innovation including diffusion, disruption, and policy application, and on practical skills for policy innovation including design thinking, human-centered design, stakeholder analysis, and problem-solving processes. External partners reserve the right to select the student teams working on their proposed projects.

This course looks at pension systems design and public policy issues associated with retirement income provision in Singapore and internationally. It provides students with an understanding of different models of social security systems, the economics and finance of pensions, governments’ role in pension provision, and reform options. Topics covered include: rationale for state involvement; types of pension schemes; plan design and policy choices; Singapore’s Central Provident Fund scheme; fiscal sustainability of pension systems; distributional issues and risk sharing; recent reforms and policy developments; and international comparisons;. A special focus is given to the implications of population ageing on pension policy.

This course examines the concepts and theories pertaining to the introduction and governance of novel technologies in cities. We will explore innovative practices, analyse the environmental, societal, and economic impacts of various technologies and study analytical approaches that can aid us in devising smart policy solutions to utilise them while minimising their risks and unintended consequences. Some of the topics covered are: conceptions of future cities, risk and unintended consequences, design for socio-technical transitions, and governance of risks of novel technologies. We will analytically explore issues around crowdsourcing, sharing economy, 3d printing, ridesharing, autonomous systems, blockchains and automation.

Singapore is a small postcolonial multicultural nation-state and a cosmopolitan global city. Its experience of rapid development led by a clean, elite, and pragmatic state has been codified into a model and in fact a nation brand, admired by developing and advanced countries alike. This module focuses on how Singapore’s transformation into a top-rank global city has affected its policies surrounding social cohesion, urban development, social development, and foreign affairs. It examines the viability of the Singapore model in the face of complex global challenges, which may require fundamental adjustments to Singapore’s strong state model.

The objective of this course is to train future policy makers to perform gender analysis and to develop gender inclusive public policy in the context of international development. This course covers theoretical, methodological as well as practical aspects of gender analysis in various sectors of the economy and discusses how public policy and programmes can be designed to bridge gender inequality. The course puts a specific emphasis on methodological issues including the available qualitative and quantitative instruments to measure empowerment and gender disparity.

This module covers policy issues related to gender inequality in contemporary, developed societies in Asia. To understand the complex dynamics of gender inequality in the Asian region, we take the life course approach, compare developed Asian countries with their Western counterparts, and discuss both relevant theories and empirical evidence from various disciplines.The first half investigates causes of the inequality over the life course, and describes policy options to reduce the inequality at various life stages. The second half focuses on evaluating options and making policy recommendations, and examining additional topics to prepare governments for gender-sensitive policy design and implementation.

Evidence-Based Innovation Lab

Empirical evidence is key to sound public policy formulation, monitoring, and evaluation. Official statistics, as trusted, organized information, have served this purpose for centuries; their production is institutionalized and governed by internationally-agreed ethics and practices. Unstructured information, including Big Data and Geoinformation, has emerged recently, offering public policy new empirical basis for making decisions. This has been described as ‘Data Revolution’ by international organizations. This course is designed for practitioners in the field of public policy to gain an in depth understanding of the design and intricacies of structured information (official statistics) and unstructured information such as Big Data and Geoinformation.

Understanding the interplay of Public Administration, Technology and Innovation is the object of this course, and its aim is to stay at the “top of the game” and therefore to be capable of dealing with this key aspect of the public sphere today. What is the relationship between PA and Technology – which drives the other, what are the motives and interests involved, does cultural context matter, are there any choices, and is the specific PA model relevant? Should the bureaucracy innovate itself or promote business innovation? And should the focus be on the future or on the present?

Data analytics is a scientific approach to help organisations solve problems, make better decisions, and increase productivity. Despite its business origins, analytics has been applied in governments, hospitals, and even museums, spurning a $125 billion market. However, a significant number of analytics projects fail due, in part, to poor science (techniques), art (e.g., implementation, change management) or both. This module covers the critical success factors for organisations embarking on their analytics journeys with topics spanning: project scoping, psychometrics, statistical modelling, text analytics, and applications in government, people, and healthcare analytics.

This course examines the contribution of science and technology (S&T) to national economic development and identifies the public policy roles of government in science and technology. It develops the concepts and analytic techniques for formulating and evaluating public policy towards science and technology, and analyses alternative institutional structures and processes for policy implementation. Comparative case studies on actual national S&T planning systems as well as specific policy experiences in selected advanced industrialised countries and newly-industrialised economies will be examined and their lessons and relevance for Singapore discussed. 

The module will address the salient aspects of how evidence informs policy making, covering the following areas: needs assessment; evidence generation and synthesis; presentation of evidence in an appropriate, useful and actionable manner; strengthening evidence generating and presenting capacity in low income countries; barriers and aids to use of evidence by policy-makers; engaging the public; and effectiveness of methods and processes to achieve evidence-informed policy. Health policy is used to illustrate concepts and practice, but principles are equally applicable to policy development in other sectors. The module will emphasize case studies from real policy situations but will also address the importance of sound conceptual frameworks. 

This project-based module allows students to develop innovative solutions to real-world policy problems. Students work in teams with external partners (government, corporate, incubators, non-profit organizations, foundations, etc.) to develop a concrete innovative “product" that addresses a specific public policy issue. Students work with their partner on a project. They participate in workshop-style lectures on key issues related to innovation including diffusion, disruption, and policy application, and on practical skills for policy innovation including design thinking, human-centered design, stakeholder analysis, and problem-solving processes. External partners reserve the right to select the student teams working on their proposed projects.