PSC 589 Social Choice, Bargaining and Elections

Political Science Field: Positive Theory
Typically offered every year

John Duggan
Fall 2015 — T 15:25-18:05

The course covers the primary results in the literature on preference aggregation and applies them to models of elections and policy-making. The focus of the course is especially on dynamic models of politics, with an emphasis on structural similarities between models of bargaining and elections. We begin by studying Arrow's theorem and majority voting, and we review the workhorse models of agenda setting and static elections in the political economy literature, including the setter model of Romer and Rosenthal and the Downsian and probabilistic models of elections. The analysis moves to the study of the Baron-Ferejohn model of bargaining and dynamic models of elections, including the two-period model of political agency with adverse selection and moral hazard. We end by considering the fully dynamic bargaining model, in which the status quo evolves endogenously over time, and the infinite-horizon political agency model. The course will consist of a mix of lectures, discussion, and student presentation of assigned readings.

John Duggan
Fall 2014 — MW 10:00-12:00

Course Syllabus

Models-based course covering fundamental topics in theoretical political economy. Voting, electoral competition, special interest politics and political accountability. Highlights include institutional features shaping public policy and institutional design. Collective decisions viewed as outcomes of game played by individual decision-makers. Empirical motivations for and implications of the political economy models will be discussed.

John Duggan
Fall 2013 — MW 10:00-12:00

Course Syllabus

The course covers the primary results in preference aggregation and applies them to models of elections and policy-making. The focus of the course is especially on dynamic models of politics. We begin by studying Arrow's theorem and majority voting, we review the workhorse models of elections in the political economy literature, and we use these models to study taxation and inequality, interest groups and lobbying, etc. In the second part of the course, we extend the analysis to repeated elections and electoral accountability. We cover the literature on political agency with moral hazard and adverse selection. The course will consist of a mix of lectures, discussion, and student presentation of assigned readings.