This course examines public policy formation, political processes and political institutions from a rational choice (RC) perspective. A one semester course cannot offer a comprehensive treatment of the complex working of political systems. The emphasis is on introducing some key formal models to simplify and analyse broad classes of situations. Students are not only expected to be familiar with these models but also to be able to use them to solve problems of a technical nature. At the same time, empirical testing of formal models will be part of our approach to political economy. We will focus on the rational choice literature on collective action, voting, elections, interest groups, legislative organization and bargaining, political agency and bureaucracies, electoral institutions and their effect on political competition.
4 Problem Sets
2 hour exam
Educational aims & objectives
• Apply the economics tool-kit to study problems that are on the border of two disciplines; economics and politics. • Expose students to the formal, rational-choice based way of approaching problems in political science and economics, • Familiarise them with existing literature and prepare them for pursuing a higher degree in quantitative political science or economics. • Familiarise them with modern mathematical tools that are used currently by economists and formal/quantitative political scientists.
By the end of the module students will be comfortable in understanding the workings of formal (game-theoretic) models in political science, apply them and acquire a rigorous understanding of how such models are tested. While students are not expected to produce formal models on their own they should feel comfortable in working with them and understanding the relevant literature. They should also feel comfortable to use mathematical tools in the study of political economy and political science.
2-hour lecture & 1-hour seminar weekly