PS3108 Political analysis and public choice
EC1002 Introduction to economics or PS1114 Democratic politics and the State.
Part A - Toolkit and Fundamentals
- Models and Modelling
Introduces some of the basic ideas of the toolkit of public choice and how models are used to help understand political processes and institutions.
- Individual Rationality
Defines rationality in rational choice models.
- A Simple Model - Black's Median Voter Theorem
Explains the median voter theorem which will be used several times on this course.
- Collective Rationality
Demonstrates the Condorcet cycle, and describes the results of Arrow's theorem, showing that individually rational actors may not describe a collectively rational entity.
- Collective Choice
Illustrates some of the problems of collective choice from the results of topic 4.
- Collective Action
Explains the collective action problem and some strategies for overcoming it.
- Simple Game Theory I
Explains some simple game theoretic principles, describes some toy games, and how they illustrate different collective action problems.
- Simple Game Theory II
Continues explaining some simple game theory.
Part B - Parties and Legislatures
- Two-Party Competition - Deterministic Model
Explains the Hotelling/Downs model of two-party competition and compares to the median voter theorem. It shows why two parties may converge on the median voter.
- Two-Party Competition - Probabilistic Model
Explains why parties may not converge if voters and parties do not have complete information about their preferences.
- Multi-party Competition
Examines what might happen under multi-party competition in Downsian models.
- Forming Coalition Governments I
Explain the principles underlying coalition theory. Explains minimum winning coalitions, minimum connected winning in a single ideological dimension. Explains the cycling problems that emerge when there is more than one dimension.
- Strong Legislatures
Introduces structure-induced equilibrium and the role of committees in strong legislatures. Introduces first, second and third generation models and the role of the pary.
- Forming Coalition Governments II
Explains how strong parties can reduce the cycling problem. Explains how structure-induced equilibrium can be used to explain coalitions in the portfolio allocation model.
Part C - Government and the State
- Controlling the Bureaucracy - Shirking and Shifting
Introduces the principal-agent model. Explains shirking and how government and legislatures may try to control it. Explains policy drift. Shows how bureaucrats with policy preferences may shift policy implementation away from that desired by elected politicians.
- Controlling the Bureaucracy - Shaping
Discusses organisational change within bureaucracies and the processes by which line-bureaucracy has been replaced by agencies.
- Pressure Politics - Rent Seeking
Examines the pressure group system and how agencies may become captured by clients.
- Pressure Politics - Information
Examines more recent models which suggest that pressures provide information for bureaucrats.
- Growth of the State?
Examines claims that the state has grown. Looks at the 'leviathan' model
Examines how decentralization may control the growth of the state, and the welfare problems decentralization might bring.