Comprehensive Exams: GOV/IA/Public Policy

You may use any sources you wish, and even work together on these questions. I encourage you to ask  faculty about your answers.

Note: If you have not taken the class, you should not answer the relevant question.  For example, if you have not yet taken Modern Political Thought, do not answer Government and Politics Part III.   

International Affairs Majors

Part I.

Please answer TWO of the following questions, in 250 words each.

International Politics

1. The balance of power principle has been central to both the theory and practice of international politics for many centuries. However, the balance of power idea is nebulous. Define balance of power and use two examples to illustrate the policy of balancing.
2. Wars involve the contest of power and interests. Discuss the *concept* of power and its *elements* and examine the *causes* of wars. Be sure to use specific examples in your discussion.
3. Describe the three levels of analysis in international studies, and use this framework of analysis to explain the causes of one international event.

Part II.

Answer one of these questions.

1. Why is The Great Depression important to an understanding of Macro? What are the three views on its cause? Which one can you defend? Why? Do liquidity traps exist? Did the gold standard play a role?

2.  Monetary policy is used as a primary policy in the U.S. since 1970. Why? Relate what constitutes money and monetary policy in the U.S.? Describe monetary policy in the Classical viewpoint, the Neoclassical view, Keynesian and Post-Keynesian views. Compare these views to Monetarism, Supply-siders, Rational Expectationists and Left-Keynesians.  Monetary and fiscal policy can be combined but often are not. Why?

3. What are the functions of money? How is money created and controlled in the U.S.? What are some problems with this control? Relate the history of money. Why is it important?

Government and Politics Majors

Part I. Answer ONE of the following questions.

American Politics

1. Why does Congress have Committees? What roles do the Committees play in the legislative process and what other functions do committees perform in Congress?

2. Scholars who study political parties in the United States have long debated their strength. Discuss the arguments that have been offered for the decline of political parties and for their resurgence. What value do you believe political parties have today in American politics.

3. What is divided government? How has divided government impact politics and governing in the United States? Do you believe that divided government is a good or a bad situation for America?

Part II. Answer ONE of the following questions.

Political Theory

1. Social contract theory is at center of modern political thinking. What are its central features, why is it important and how have various theorists understood it differently?

2. How does Socrates define justice? What is compelling, or not, in his analysis?

3. Classical Liberal political thought (e.g., Hobbes and Locke) has been attacked by both Conservative (Burke) as well as Socially Revolutionary Thinking (Rousseau, Marx). What is at the heart of these critiques? While waged against a common opponent, how do these two approaches differ?

4. Choose one major political thinker (Aristotle, Plato, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Burke or Marx) and answer what, if anything, a feminist inquiry adds to the issues raised by your chosen political thinker.

Public Policy Majors

Part. I  Answer ONE of the following questions.

American Politics

1. Why does Congress have Committees? What roles do the Committees play in the legislative process and what other functions do committees perform in Congress?

2. Scholars who study political parties in the United States have long debated their strength. Discuss the arguments that have been offered for the decline of political parties and for their resurgence. What value do you believe political parties have today in American politics.

3. What is divided government? How has divided government impact politics and governing in the United States? Do you believe that divided government is a good or a bad situation for America?

Answer TWO of the following questions.

1.  Accountability is viewed as perhaps the most important criteria for the behavior of public agencies. What is accountability, and why is it considered so critical for the functioning of government in a constitutional republic such as the United States? This essay should contain the definition of accountability and examples of how accountability is implemented in federal agencies. Please reflect on what you think the role of accountability is in American democracy. Do you think the private sector should be held accountable to the same degree as the public sector, and if so, why?

2.  1992 was a watershed year in the history of American public administration. In that year, David Osborne and Ted Gaebler’s Reinventing Government was published. This new approach to public administration provoked the Clinton administration to attempt a restructuring of our federal bureaucracy. What are the central concepts of the reinventing government perspective? What impact have they made on the practice of public administration? Do you feel that government agencies do in fact require reinvention as some scholars and practitioners argue?

3. The past decade has featured much attention to strategies for “reinventing government.” What is this all about? What are the central strategies of this effort? To what extent do you think such strategies are really appropriate or applicable to public sector organizations and programs? What are some examples of successful and unsuccessful reinvention?

4. There are numerous constraints on personnel administration in the public sector that are not present in the private sector. Suppose you were discussing personnel issues with a friend who works in the private sector. Your friend asks you to explain why public personnel administration is different from personnel management in the private sector. How would you respond? Please give several examples of differences and explain their impact and why they are present. Be sure your answer focuses specifically on personnel administration.

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