The Economics of Politics

Module description

This module aims to provide you with the skills to critically evaluate and apply rational choice approaches as an analytical tool for the examination of political phenomena. First, it discusses the underlying assumptions and their theoretical and empirical implications for political analyses. Second, the seminar will make you familiar with core approaches introducing economic reasoning in the conceptualisation and in the analysis of politics. Third, it will introduce you to the applications of rational choice theory in comparative politics.

Full module specification

Module title:The Economics of Politics
Module code:POL2046
Module level:2
Academic year:2016/7
Module lecturers:
  • Dr Gabriel Katz Wisel - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:

7.5

Pre-requisites:

None

Co-requisites:

None

Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 1:

11

Module aims

This module aims at providing you with the skills to critically evaluate and apply rational choice approaches as an analytical tool for the examination of political phenomena. First, it discusses the underlying assumptions and their theoretical and empirical implications for political analyses. Second, the seminar makes you familiar with core approaches introducing economic reasoning in the conceptualisation and in the analysis of politics. Third, it introduces applications of rational choice theory in comparative politics.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. understand core concepts in rational choice theory;
  • 2. describe and analyse the connections and relationships between economics and politics;
  • 3. critically engage with concrete applications of rational choice theory;
  • 4. describe, list and assess the core works in comparative politics using rational choice theory;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. translate a particular logic of reasoning from one discipline (economics) to another (politics);
  • 6. apply abstract theoretical ideas and concepts to actual events and outcomes;
  • 7. construct well-structured rigorous arguments that are based on logical deduction;

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 8. deliver presentations to peers, communicate effectively in speech and writing;
  • 9. appropriately use ICT
  • 10. research & critically evaluate information;
  • 11. apply techniques and theories in appropriate contexts;

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad
26.5123.5

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activity 16.511 x 1.5 hour lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activity 1010 x 1 hour tutorials
Guided Independent study123.5Independent study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Discussion in lectures and tutorialsDuring lectures and tutorials1-7, 10-11Verbal

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams
07030

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Examination701 hour and 30 minutes 1-8, 10-11Written
ELE -based tests on the readings301-11Written
0
0
0
0

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
ExaminationExamination (1 hour and 30 minutes)1-8, 10-11August/September assessment period
ELE -based tests on the readingsELE-based tests on the readings1-11August/September assessment period

Syllabus plan

1. Rational Choice as Analytical Tool: Basic Assumptions and Standard Criticisms
2. Economic Conceptualisations of Democracy
3. Political Participation
4. The Paradox of Voting
5. Game Theory: Models of Cooperation and Coordination
6. Collective Action Problems
7. Principal-Agent Theory
8. Rational Choice Institutionalisms
9. Models of Government Formation
10. Bureaucratic Politics
11. Review Session

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Please be aware that due to a new lecturer running this course this year, we are expecting some changes to the Reading List.

- Laver, Michael (1997): Private Desires, Political Action, An Invitation to the Politics of Rational Choice. London: Sage.
- Downs, Anthony (1957): An Economic Theory of Democracy. New York: Harper and Row.
- Hardin, Russell (1982): Collective Action, Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins UP.
- Strøm, Kaare (1990): Minority Government and Majority Rule. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.
- Riker, William (1962): The Theory of Political Coalitions. New Haven: Yale UP.

Module has an active ELE page?

Yes

Origin date

01/10/2007

Last revision date

27/02/2012