ASTK15492U CANCELLED - SEMINAR: The Tools of Government Revisited. Policy design and instrumentation in the information age

Volume 2017/2018

Elective course IV at "Security Risk Management"

The course is open to all master students


The seminar takes its cue from Christopher Hood’s revision (together with Helen Margetts) on his seminal work on the ‘Tools of Government’, prompted by the innovations in information and communication technology at the heart of the information age and the network society. The course opens with an introduction to the NATO-model and the broader debate on policy instrumentation and design that has since developed around this model. The following sessions discuss the innovations and transformations taking place within each of the dimensions of the NATO-model, using additional literature on specific instruments and tools as well as the broader technological and socio-economic transformations behind them. The following session takes a step back and looks at the governmental toolbox in its entirety. 


1. Introduction: the NATO-model and other approaches to policy design and instrumentation

2. Nodality: communication, messages, information/network society

3. Authority: legality, demands, prohibitions, sanctions/sovereignty

4. Treasure: fungible chattels, distribution, exchange/commodity

5. Organization: buildings, environments, people, treatments/security

6. Combining, comparing and evaluating the tools of government

7. Student presentation of papers


Learning Outcome

Competences and learning outcome: Students will gain proficiency in the field of policy instrumentation and design, which is central to most political, administrative and advisory functions in public agencies, as well as many forms of consultancy and functions in private organizations attempting to influence public policy. Additionally, the tools-based approach is completely cross-sectoral, equipping students with a grid of analysis and action that can be applied to any policy field. A particular advantage is also that the tools-based approach allows and even requires an understanding of the broader political, technological and socio-economic conditions at stake in the concrete choice of specific instruments and tools.

Hood, Christopher. 1983. The Tools of Government. London: Macmillan Press

Hood, Christopher, and Helen Margetts. 2007. The Tools of Government in the Digital Age. Houndsmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Salamon, Lester M., and Odus. V. Elliot, eds. 2002. The Tools of Government: A Guide to the New Governance. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bemelmans-Videc, Marie-Louise, Ray C. Rist, and Evert Vedung, eds. 1998. Carrots, Sticks and Sermons. Policy Instruments & Their Evaluation. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.

Hood, Christopher, and Helen Margetts. 2016. "Tools Approaches." In Contemporary Approaches to Public Policy. Theories, Controverses and Perspectives, eds. Guy B. Peters and Philippe Zittoun. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 133-155

Lascoumes, Pierre, and Patrick Le Galès. 2007. "Introduction: Understanding Public Policy through Its Instruments—From the Nature of Instruments to the Sociology of Public Policy Instrumentation."  Governance 20 (1):1-21.

Le Galés, Patrick. 2011. ‘Policy Instruments and Governance’, in Bevir, Mark (ed.): The Sage Handbook of Governance, London: Sage

Howlett, Michael. 1991. "Policy Instruments, Policy Styles, and Policy Implementation."  Policy Studies Journal 19 (2):1-21.

Howlett, Michael. 2014. "From the 'old' to the 'new' policy design: design thinking beyond markets and collaborative governance."  Policy Sciences 47 (3):187-207.

Linder, Stephen. & Peters, B. Guy. 1989. ‘Instruments of Government: Perceptions and Contexts’, Journal of Public Policy, 9(1): 35-58

Relevant bachelor degree and commitment to the seminar model
Teaching and learning methods: Regular seminar sessions will combine teacher presentations with an open discussion environment. The seminar does not require individual student presentations of literature, but active participation in discussions throughout the entire seminar. The exam is a portfolio exam including a) four short papers (app. 2 pages) to be delivered prior to sessions 2-4 (weight: 20%) and b) a longer paper to be delivered after session 6 and presented at session 7 (weight: 80%). A minimum attendance of 75% is required to qualify for the exam.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Total
  • 28
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Individuel written assignment
Exam registration requirements
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assesment

Graded assignment