This course provides students with an introduction to the field of Political Economy. The goal is to analyze policy outcomes and political behavior in modern democracies, and to explain how political choices may differ according to different political systems. At the end of the course, the students are equipped with knowledge on the most important models, which link voter preferences to policy outcomes. These models allow the students to predict, how policies change under different institutional regimes (e.g. changes in the voting franchise, electoral systems etc.)
The core of the course focuses on the basic models of public choice theory, describing the decision making process in the political arena, and the interactions among stakeholders with different, and sometimes even diametrically opposed interests (Median Voter theorem, Probabilistic Voting Model, Lobbying etc.). The last part of the course will deal with the most recent empirical literature on Political Economics, using the context of Switzerland. Students will be encouraged to make a presentation based on a paper of their interest.
The learning method consists of lectures held by the professor, exercise sessions held by the teaching assistant, and papers presented by the students. The idea is to work through the material in an interactive way.
The grade consists of two parts: a written exam (80%), and the grade from the student presentation (20%).
Mueller, Dennis: Public Choice III