Develop and Using “Quasi-Cases” for Public Policy Teaching Kent Weaver Georgetown University
What is a “quasi-case”: A set of materials collected by the instructor that focus on a particular empirical situation or decision. Can be either primary or secondary materials or a combination of the two. Like formal cases, force students to think about the options available to decisionmakers and the constraints acting on them.
An example of a “quasi-case”: TATA MOTORS IN WEST BENGAL: • Partha Pratim Basu, “’Brand Buddha’ in India's West Bengal: The Left Reinvents Itself,” Asian Survey. • Somini Sengupta, “India Grapples With How to Convert Its Farmland Into Factories,” New York Times • “`Land reform not an end in itself': Interview with Nirupam Sen, West Bengal Industries Minister,” Frontline. • Walter Fernandes, Singur and the Displacement Issue,” Economic and Political Weekly. • Documentary video Abad Bhumi (The Right to Land”)
Why use “quasi-cases”? • Much cheaper to develop than formal cases • Cover situations that are • Local or foreign • very current • Make use of “the perfect case” • Greater political context than KSG and Hallway cases usually provide • Present several points of view • Get away from “decisionmaker as hero” • Make students assess which information is most relevant
Materials to use: Government reports, testimony in legislative hearings, and other primary government documents. Articles in second tier, regional journals and journals focused on a particular policy sector—e.g., Energy Politics and Latin American Politics and Society. Case study chapters in books Articles from the print media, especially the local print media. Websites of government agencies and NGOs News clips from broadcast media, some of which are posted on YouTube.
Steps in creating a quasi-case: • Do a www.scholar.google.com search • Do a Google search to find primary source materials • Search YouTube and Google video for news clips and other video materials • Do a search of Lexis/Nexis and individual media websites • Winnow the material down • Develop a set of questions to that focus students on the key issues you want them to address in reading the case.
How to use quasi-cases: • For classroom discussion • For memo-writing assignments • For simulation exercises
More examples of “quasi-cases”: CASTE RESERVATION IN INDIA: • Evan Osborne, “Culture, Government and Development: Reservations in India,” Economic Development and Cultural Change. • Somini Sengupta, “Quotas to Aid India’s Poor Spark Push for Meritocracy,” New York Times. • Subhash Gatade, “Phenomenon of False Certificates,” Economic and Political Weekly. • Jayati Ghosh, “The Case for Caste-based Quotas in Higher Education,” Economic and Political Weekly.
More examples of “quasi-cases”: ABORTION POLICY IN MEXICO: • Andrej Kulczycki, “The Abortion Debate in Mexico: Realities and Stalled Policy Reform,” Bulletin of Latin American Research. • Hector Tobar “Mexico begins abortion bill hearings,” Los Angeles Times. • Manuel Roig-Franzia, “Mexico City's Legislature Votes to Legalize Abortion,” Washington Post • Catherine Bremer, “Mexico Catholics to go to rights court on abortion,” CanWest News Service • Elisabeth Malkin and Nacha Cattan, “Mexico City Struggles With Law on Abortion,” New York Times. • Ken Ellingwood, “Mexican Supreme Court upholds legalized abortion law” LA Times.
More examples of “quasi-cases”: CHINA’S MISSING GIRLS: • Shuzhuo Li, “Imbalanced Sex Ratio at Birth and Comprehensive Intervention in China” conference paper • “China to outlaw sex-selective abortions,” China Daily • “Sex-ratio imbalance not a result of family planning policy: official,” People’s Daily • John Pomfret, “In China's Countryside, 'It's a Boy!' Too Often ,” Washington Post.