PSC 586 Voting and Elections

Political Science Field: Positive Theory
Typically offered every 2-3 years

Mark Fey
Spring 2012 — T 14:00-16:40

This course covers much of the modern game-theoretic literature on models of voting and elections. It is meant to expose students to the techniques and models used in this line of research. Some of the topics covered include probabilistic voting, policy-motivated candidates, candidate entry, strategic voting, and issues of information in elections, including uncertainty on the part of voters and candidates, and problems associated with private information in elections. The course covers both complete and incomplete information models and thus students must have a working knowledge of Bayesian games prior to taking this course.

Mark Fey
Spring 2010 — T 14:00-16:40

Course Syllabus

We will take up several foundational topics in theoretical political economy. We begin with the analysis of fundamental concepts used throughout the course: binary relations, preferences, and choice. We then study social choice theory, where we view collective decisions as arising from a social preference relations determined in some arbitrary way by the preferences of individuals. We will prove Arrow's impossibility theorem and others, which inform us of inherent limitations on the rationality of collective decisions. We then change perspective, viewing collective decision as outcomes of a game played by individual decision-makers. We will consider game-theoretic models of static elections, sequential voting, bargaining, and repeated elections, with a special focus on connections to social choice.