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Internationalisation des politiques publiques

Internationalisation of Public Policies

Faculté de gestion: Institut de hautes études en administration publique

Responsable(s): Flavia Trifa

Période de validité: 2018 -> 2018

Pas d'horaire défini.

Cours (obligatoire)

Semestre de printemps

Langue(s) d'enseignement: anglais
Public: Oui
Crédits: 0


This course looks at the impacts generated by international-level factors and processes on domestic policies and politics, with a particular focus on Switzerland. It will assess how and through which mechanisms, processes such as globalization, international cooperation, supranational governance, regionalization (e.g. the EU integration process), etc. have been impacting domestic public policies, paying specific attention to various Swiss public policy sectors.

These international-level dynamics have substantially changed the conditions within which national public policies are defined and implemented. A first import outcome relates to transformations of national boundaries or territorial borders, in the sense that an increasing number of policy areas along with economic and social activities develop in an internationalized or de-territorialized space. For example, processes such as market integration or the mobility of capital have led to an increased competition between business locations, generating new opportunities, but also constraints for the development of economic, social, or fiscal policies, among others. Similarly, decision makers can no longer ignore the transnational nature of many policy issues, such as climate change or international migration, which all require coordinated action among state and non-state actors at the international level.

The emergence of this international or "beyond the border" cooperation, is the second important transformation of national public policies. International cooperation today encompasses next to states, intergovernmental organizations, as well as private actors such multinational companies, or NGOs, which all have developed governance functions in specific policy areas. For example, the governance of economic-related issues is increasingly delegated to international or supranational organizations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) or the European Union (EU), as well as informal fora, like the Basel Committee dealing with banking regulations or the International Competition Network, a dialogue-based venue for competition policy principles. Moreover, cross-border cooperation does not only engage state-to-state relations, but more and more it requires trans-governmental coordination between various subunits of states, at the level of public administrations. Thus, multiple policy areas are governed today through transnational networks of governments along with diverse private actors, such as business organizations and NGOs. In turn, these governance structures have created binding treaties, international standards or norms that can be formal or informal, but which all have an impact on national public policy, both directly and indirectly.

In short, this course aims to provide the students with an in-depth knowledge along with the analytical and methodological tools necessary to understand and assess how international-level factors impact on Swiss public policy. At the end of the course the students should be able to identify different processes and instances of "internationalization" and have gained a deeper understanding of why particular policies have been reformed in light of "external factors".


The course will be structured in two main parts, encompassing a theoretical and an empirical block. The first four sessions will provide the students with the theoretical, methodological and analytical tools necessary to understand the concepts and domestic effects of internationalization of public policy, ranging from processes of globalization, to international policy cooperation, to European integration. At the same time, it will discuss the various forms and mechanisms through which international-related factors affect national policies and policy-making, through the adoption of international binding rules, instances of policy diffusion, or autonomous/voluntarily adaptation.

The second part, covering the final four sessions, are empirical oriented, and will be devoted to the presentation and discussion of group work prepared by the students based on pre-assigned topics and readings. Throughout these sessions, the students will have the opportunity to explore in greater detail specific Swiss policies that have been affected by diverse international norms and legislation and thus acquire first-hand experience on how and through which mechanisms international-level factors impact domestic policies.


The final grade will be calculated based on group work as well as individual contribution, according to the following assignments:

-Written work (group research paper, 3-4 students/group) together with the oral presentation will count for 75% of the final grade.
-Individual discussion paper and in-class activity (participation in general discussions, during presentations, etc.) will count for 25% of the final grade.

Retake: written exam.


The course instructor will make available all the required readings on the Moodle space of the course. Students are expected to read all mandatory literature assigned per session. The section of further readings is optional literature, intended to provide the participants with the opportunity to go further with the study of those topics.

Canton de Vaud
Swiss University
Unicentre  -  CH-1015 Lausanne  -  Suisse  -  Tél. +41 21 692 11 11  -  Fax  +41 21 692 26 15