Introduction to political science

Организатор: Финансовый университет при Правительстве РФ
Даты проведения:

С открытой датой

Описание мероприятия

Язык обучения: английский

Для кого эта программа

This course is designed to:

  • introduce students to the main differences between democratic and nondemocratic regimes, and between different models of democratic government
  • introduce students to how political preferences are formed, how voters behave, how parties compete, how interest groups form, and how electoral systems shape behaviour
  • explain how political institutions work, such as presidential and parliamentary systems, single-party and coalition governments, federalism, and courts and central banks
  • explain how political behaviour and institutions shape policy outcomes, such as economic performance, public spending, and immigration and environmental policies
  • prepare students for further courses in political science

Описание программы

The course is taught as an introduction to politics in a globalised world, with a focus on how political science tries to understand and explain cross-country and cross-time differences between countries. The course introduces students to some of the basic theoretical ideas and research methods in modern political science, and then looks at how these ideas help explain patterns of political behaviour, political institutions, and policy outcomes.


This course is assessed by a three-hour unseen written examination

Учебный план:

Basics: Why Are Some Countries Democratic? Procedural and substantive conceptions of democracy. Measuring democracy, and the number of democracies across time. Explanations of democratization: political culture, economic and social modernisation, and institutional ‘contracts’ between social groups.

Basics: Political Science Explanations and Methods Historiography of modern political science. Difference between rational choice and institutional explanations. Difference between qualitative and quantitative methods. Basic understanding of regression.

Behaviour: Political Preferences and Voting Behaviour The two main ‘dimensions’ of preferences: economics, and social. Why the ‘Left-Right’ is a universal phenomenon. Difference between ‘expressive’ and ‘strategic’ voting. Class dealignment and post-materialism.

Behaviour: Political Parties and Electoral Systems The Downsian model of electoral competition versus the ‘cleavage model’ of party systems. The number and location of parties in democracies. Two main types of electoral systems: majoritarian, and proportional. Trade-offs in the design of electoral systems. How electoral systems shape party competition and voting behaviour.

Institutions: Presidents and Parliaments, Coalitions and Single-Party Governments Difference between presidential, parliamentary, and semi-presidential systems and their performance, e.g. regime survival, policy-making, and accountability. Patterns of single-party and coalition government across the world. Theories of coalition formation. Policy implications of single-party, coalition, and minority government.

Institutions: Federalism and Independent Institutions Difference between unitary, decentralised, and federal systems. Causes and consequences of centralisation and decentralisation. Principal-agent theory and why politicians delegate to independent institutions. Design of courts and central banks, and policy consequences of granting power to independent institutions.

Outcomes: Economic Performance and Public Spending Patterns of economic performance and public spending. How political institutions and party preferences shape economic policy outcomes. Models of welfare states. Whether citizens choose redistributive policies, or whether redistributive policies shape citizens’ attitudes towards these policies.

Outcomes: Environmental Protection and Migration Patterns of environmental policy and migration policy in democracies. Theories of why some governments are better at protecting the environment than others. The ‘tragedy of the commons’ problem. ‘Push’ and ‘pull’ factors that influence migration flows. How institutions and political preferences influence migration policy outcomes.

Результат обучения:

At the end of the course and having completed the essential reading and activities students should be able to:

  • explain patterns of voting behaviour and party competition in different countries, and how electoral systems influence voters and parties
  • explain how different institutional designs of democracy work
  • describe how political science explains policy outcomes
  • critically evaluate rational choice and institutional theories in political science
  • explain the pros and cons of quantitative and qualitative methods in political science

Требования к поступающим:

This course may not be taken with: PS1114 Democratic politics and the state.

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