• Offered by School of Politics and International Relations
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Political Science

The seminar based course designed for students on the PPE degree will study classic texts in PPE.  Each session a group of students will introduce a classic article locating it in the literature and demonstrating the puzzle or problem the author addressed and the solution they came up with.  The seminar group will be expected to critique the article and consider other potential solutions.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

By the end of this course you should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a working knowledge of classic texts in PPE
  2. Prepare materials on a topic relevant to the course and demonstrate critical faculties with the text discussed
  3. Think, write and argue about issues demonstratng a full understanding of the issue.

Indicative Assessment

Formative assessment will be conducted by an essay on one of the classic texts that the student has not presented (or will not present) on.

Marked presentation (10%) (LO 1-3)  For group presentations those involved in the presentation will mark each others contribution and individual marks will be assigned by the course convener, who may take those marks into consideration as appropriate.

Examination 90% (LO 1-3) The examination is sit down.

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


All students will be expected to have read the set article for each session.  Each session a group will present the article in context and all students will be expected to join in the discussion.  The contact will be equivalent to two hours per session.  Students will be expected to spend approximately eight hours per session on average preparing for seminars and preparing their presentations.  (120 hours in total spread over the semester.)

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have enrolled in Bachelor of Politics, Philosphy and Economics and 48 units of 1000 level courses

Preliminary Reading

The following are a list of articles that might be assigned, grouped into topics (the number covered will depend on the choice of students).  The list is indicative only.

Strategic Issue in Voting (3-4 sessions)

Black, Duncan. 1948. "On the Rationale of Group Decision-making." Journal of Political Economy 56:23-34.

Caplin, Andrew and Barry Nalebuff. 1988. "On 64%-Majority Rule." Econometrica 56:787-814.

McKelvey, Richard D. 1976. "Intransitivities in Multi-dimensional Voting Models and Some Implications for Agenda Control." Journal of Economic Theory 12:472-482.

Plott, Charles. 1967. "A Notion of Equilibrium and Its Possibility Under Majority Rule." American Economic Review 57:787-806.

Gibbard, Allan. 1973. "Manipulation of Voting Schemes: A General Result." Econometrica 41:587-601.

Austen-Smith, David. 1987. "Sophisticated Sincerity: Voting Over Endogenous Agendas." American Political Science Review 81:1323-1329

Legislative Control (3-4 sessions)

Shepsle, Kenneth. 1979. "Institutional Arrangements and Equilibrium in Multidimensional Voting Models." American Journal of Political Science 23:27-59.

Baron, David P. and John A. Ferejohn. 1987. "Bargaining in and Agenda Formation in Legislatures." American Economic Review 77:303-309.

McCubbins, Mathew, Roger Noll, and Barry Weingast. 1987. " Administrative Procedures as Instruments of Political Control." Journal of Law, Economics and Organization 3:177-243.

Weingast, Barry and William Marshall. 1988. "The Industrial Organization of Congress." Journal of Political Economy 96:132-163.

Laver, Michael and Kenneth Shepsle. 1990. "Coalitions and Cabinet Government." American Political Science Review 84:873-890.

Krehbiel, Keith. 1993. "Where's The Party?" Legislative Studies Quarterly 23:235-266.

Interests and Bargaining (2-3 sessions)

Tullock, Gordon. 1967. "The Welfare Costs of Tarriffs, Monopolies and Theft." Western Economic Journal 5:224-232

Becker, Gary. 1983. "A Theory of Competition Among Pressure Groups for Political Influence." Quarterly Journal of Economics XCVIII:371-400.

Coate, Stephen and S. Morris. 1995. "On the Form of Transfers to Special Interests." Journal of Political Economy 103:1210-1235.


Democratic Processes and Outcomes (2-3 sessions)

Meltzer, Allan H and Scott F. Richard. 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government." Journal of Political Economy 89:914-927.

 Groseclose, Tim and Nolan McCarty. 2001. "The Politics of Blame: Bargaining Before an Audience." American Journal of Political Science 45:100-119.

Besley, Tim and Stephen Coate. 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Government." Quarterly Journal of Economics:85-114.

Tsebelis, George. 1995. "Decision-making in Political Systems: Veto Players in Presidentialism, Parliamentarism, Multicameralism, and Multipartyism." British Journal of Political Science 25:289-325.


Formation of Democracy (1-2 sessions)

North, Douglass C. and Barry R. Weingast. 1989. "Constitutions and Commitment: The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in Seventeenth-Century England." The Journal of Economic History 49:803-832

 Acemoglu, Daron and James A. Robinson. 2001. "A Theory of Politial Transitions." American Economic Review 91:938-963.

 Olson, Mancur. 1993. "Dictatorship, Democracy and Development." American Political Science Review 87:567-576.


Collective Action and Tiers of Government (1-2 sessions)

Buchanan, James M. 1965. "An Economic Theory of Clubs." Economica 32:1-14.

 Bendor, Jonathan and Dilip Mookherjee. 1987. "Institutional Structure and the Logic of Ongoing Collective Action." American Political Science Review 87:129-154.

Independent Judiciary (0 to 1 session)

Landes, William M. and Richard A. Posner. 1975. "The Independent Judiciary in an Interest-Group Perspective." Journal of Law and Economics 18:875-901.



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Students continuing in their current program of study will have their tuition fees indexed annually from the year in which you commenced your program. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee Description
1994-2003 $1164
2014 $2478
2013 $2472
2012 $2472
2011 $2424
2010 $2358
2009 $2286
2008 $2286
2007 $2286
2006 $2286
2005 $2286
2004 $1926
International fee paying students
Year Fee
1994-2003 $2574
2014 $3246
2013 $3240
2012 $3240
2011 $3240
2010 $3240
2009 $3240
2008 $3240
2007 $3132
2006 $3132
2005 $3132
2004 $2916
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3305 20 Jul 2015 07 Aug 2015 31 Aug 2015 30 Oct 2015 In Person N/A

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