• Offered by Crawford School of Public Policy
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Policy and Governance
  • Areas of interest Policy Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Colette Einfeld
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Offered in Winter Session 2024
    See Future Offerings

Available remote (online) only learning. Students participate in interactive, real-time classes. 2024 class dates: Sept 13, 20 & 27

The increasing complexity and interconnectivity of policy problems has led to governments turning to innovative policy tools to achieve policy outcomes. This course on policy tools and mixes offers an overview of contemporary and emerging tools and tools mixes. We use the obvious, but helpful, metaphor of a tool box and explore what tools are available in the tool box, how they are chosen, and whether they work. But we will also be thinking critically about policy tools, asking; how did the tools get into the tool box in the first place, how do new tools get in, and why are some tools used more than others? The course is structured around the concepts of:

  • Charting policy tools;
  • Choosing policy tools and mixes; and
  • Checking the tool/s work.

The course draws on case studies on two emerging tools in government – nudge and co-design – to help us to understand policy tools, but also dig beneath assumptions about policy tools, asking questions such as how do policy tools emerge into practice? How do they become popular? Can all policy tools be mixed? What does the use of different tools say about citizen/state relationships, and whose voices may be heard or silenced?

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Identify different policy tools governments use to address contemporary challenges.
  2. Demonstrate a sound understanding of why governments choose certain types of tools.
  3. Understand and be able to critically evaluate the factors that determine the effectiveness of different tools.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Critical reflection on policy tool/mixes (1000 words) (40) [LO 1,2]
  2. Evaluating policy tool effectiveness (1500 words) (60) [LO 3]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


The standard workload for a 3 unit course is 65 hours including class time and independent study.

Inherent Requirements


Prescribed Texts


Preliminary Reading

Howlett, M. Designing Public Policies: Principles and Instruments. Routledge, 2019.

Lascoumes, P, and Patrick Le Galès. ‘Introduction: Understanding Public Policy through Its Instruments—From the Nature of Instruments to the Sociology of Public Policy Instrumentation’. Governance 20, no. 1 (2007): 1–21.

Howlett, M, Ishani Mukherjee, and Jun Jie Woo. ‘From Tools to Toolkits in Policy Design Studies: The New Design Orientation towards Policy Formulation Research’. Policy & Politics 43, no. 2 (2015): 291–311.

Arno Simons & Jan-Peter Voß (2017): The concept of instrument constituencies: accounting for dynamics and practices of knowing governance, Policy and Society,

Gunningham, Neil, and Darren Sincalir. ‘Regulatory Pluralism: Designing Policy Mixes for Environmental Protection’. Law & Policy 21 (1 January 1999): 49–76.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
3 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

3.00 0.06250
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $2220
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $3180
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Winter Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
6550 13 Sep 2024 12 Sep 2024 20 Sep 2024 18 Oct 2024 Online N/A

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