This course is discontinued

STV9250 – Political Feasibility Analysis

Course content

In cooperation with CICEP – Strategic Challenges in International Climate and Energy Policy

More frequently than many policy prescriptions and textbooks like to acknowledge, the policy options with the highest scores on important substantive criteria such as economic efficiency or ecological sustainability are not the ones selected through political processes. Political feasibility analysis can help us understand why this happens, and also to avoid ‘unnecessary’ deadlocks. Its main purpose is to help identify which policy option(s) – among those that satisfy important substantive criteria – stand a good chance of being successfully adopted and effectively implemented in a given setting. In pursuing this mission, political feasibility analysis draws upon a wide range of conceptual tools and empirical findings from political science and related disciplines.

This course will explore promising approaches to and present important insights from political feasibility analysis. Most of the lectures and seminars will use environmental governance as the main empirical reference but we welcome also participants who study other policy domains. Work modes include regular lectures (with time for discussion), presentations by participants, and a problem-solving workshop.


The course is open to doctoral studens in political science and related disciplines.

There is no participation fee, but the cost of travel and accommodation, if needed, must be covered by the participants. Applicants will be notified about the outcome of their application as quickly as possible after the deadline.

PhD candidates from UiO: Apply for the course in StudentWeb
Other candidates: Application form

Application deadline: 1 June 2015


Time:   22-26 June 2015
Venue: University of Oslo, Department of Political Science
Coordinator: Professor Arild Underdal. Teachers will include also other faculty members and at least two guest lecturers.

A preliminary outline of the program is provided below.

Day 1: Introduction and overview

  • The concept of political feasibility and its relationship to other important policy assessment criteria
  • Political feasibility analysis: a brief review of research strands providing important conceptual tools, models, and propositions

Day 2: Political feasibility analysis: statics and dynamics

  • Towards a simple static model for political feasibility analysis: specifying and coupling principal determinants (the institutional structure, the configuration of actor preferences and beliefs, the distribution of power)
  • Analysing dynamic processes – agent-based modelling
  • Differentiating by stage of the policy process      

Day 3: Topical applications. Participant presentations

  • Topical applications of political feasibility analysis
  • Participant presentations of own research/ideas – part 1

Day 4: Designing substantive solutions. Team work

  • Designing substantive solutions: diagnosing problems, escaping veto players, building winning coalitions
  • Overcoming ‘wicked’ and ‘super-wicked’ problems
  • Case-work in small teams to be followed by plenary discussion. Simulation material will be distributed

Day 5: Institutional design. Concluding discussion

  • Designing institutions and procedures: ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ approaches, ‘venue shopping’, the order in which issues are dealt with, other procedural arrangements
  • Behavioural strategies for, inter alia, building (or preserving) trust, inducing others to reciprocate cooperative moves, dealing with process-generated stakes
  • Participant presentations of own research/ideas – part 2
  • Concluding discussion; course evaluation


Submission deadline for papers: 20 August 2015

Facts about this course






22 - 26 June 2015




Teaching language