Associate Professor, Political Science & Communication, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Entrepreneurial course taught by Professor Sulkin
Political Entrepreneurship and Policy Innovation
Political entrepreneurship is the sustained and focused investment of time and resources on major policy issues. Entrepreneurs both inside and outside of elected office play a critical role in U.S. politics, bringing new issues to the government and public agendas, providing expertise, and promoting the formulation and implementation of innovative policies. This course will focus on explaining the behavior of these entrepreneurs and assessing the effects of their actions on the scope and content of public policy. In particular, we will explore the processes of issue definition and agenda-setting (i.e., how conditions come to be seen as problems amenable to government action, and then how those problems are prioritized), investigate what motivates elected officials to undertake entrepreneurial action, examine the contributions of non-elected actors like bureaucrats and representatives of interest groups and think tanks, and evaluate the prospects for innovation in American politics. Students will have the opportunity to apply theories of policy change and elite political behavior to real-world politics through a series of projects that ask them to trace attention and action on an issue over time and to analyze the behavior of legislators, presidents, interest groups, and bureaucrats on that issue. The goals of the course are to equip students with an in-depth understanding of the processes underlying policymaking and to foster an appreciation for the role of political entrepreneurs in solving social, economic, and foreign policy problems.
About Professor Sulkin