Public Policy Analytics: Cases and Issues (90-802)

How can an algorithm used to identify children at risk of mistreatment be hailed as a success in Pennsylvania, “useless” in New Zealand and the subject of legal action by citizens in Scotland? Are data techniques applied to the criminal justice systems prone to racial bias? What rights should citizens have over the dissemination and use of data collected on them by governments? What redress should citizens have when data anonymized by governments is re-identified? We all know that the same big data techniques applied successfully in the commercial world are being turned to use by governments. However, the relationship between governments and their citizens is vastly more complex than the relationship between companies and their existing and prospective customers. This course focuses on the management issues that arise for governments looking to big data applications for better performance. In taking this perspective it traverses the various levers available to governments such as legislation, administrative reform and participative democracy as well as the pitfalls. The ultimate aim is to develop sound understandings of the principles which public policy professionals using big data techniques can apply to achieve successful outcomes for both governments and their citizens. The course concludes with a critical examination of some contemporary issues emerging from the use of dig data in the public policy arena such as perceptions of disempowerments and assertions of accountability deficits.

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