- Code POLS2130
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by School of Politics and International Relations
- ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
- Course subject Political Science
- Areas of interest Political Sciences, Politics
- Academic career UGRD
- Dr Thiago Nascimento da Silva
- Mode of delivery Online or In Person
Second Semester 2022
See Future Offerings
Similar to economists' portrayal of individuals making choices in the private market, political scientists can represent political agents as self-interested rational maximizers when making choices in the public market. This approach is usually called public choice, i.e., the use of economic tools in political science research. Building on the integration of rational choice theory, formal models, and statistical analyses, this course is a comprehensive overview of public choice theory and the important empirical contributions of the field to our understanding of diverse political phenomena---e.g., democratic decision-making, state formation and capacity, collective action, public goods and distributive politics, voting methods and electoral systems, political behavior, coalition governance, and interstate conflicts. Among other things, we will learn: 1. the extent to which the political realm differs from the economic; 2. the relation between individual self-interest and collective welfare, and; 3. how the motivations of individuals affect the outcome of their collective decision-making under different political institutions.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- identify and debate the assumptions and limitations of public choice theory applied to political science research;
- use the principles of public choice theory to enhance our understanding of diverse political phenomena---e.g., democratic decision-making, state formation and capacity, collective action, public goods, voting methods and electoral systems, how political institutions constrain individual and group behaviors, among others; and
- develop the ability to think and write coherently, logically, and creatively about public choice and politics in the academic style associated with the discipline.
- Class Participation (10) [LO 1,2,3]
- Four assignments (500 words each) (20) [LO 1,2,3]
- Research Paper (2000-2500 words) (30) [LO 1,2,3]
- Final Exam (3 hours) (40) [LO 1,2,3]
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130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures, and 12 hours of tutorials; and
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Shepsle, Kenneth A. 2010. Analyzing Politics. London: W. W. Norton. [Second Edition.]
- Riker, William H. 1988. Liberalism against populism. Long Grove: Waveband Press. [Reissued Edition.]
- Johnson, David B. 1991. Public Choice: An Introduction to the new political economy. London: WCB/McGraw-Hill.
- Hindmoor, Andrew. 2006. Rational Choice. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Butler, Eamonn. 2012. Public Choice: A Primer. London: Institute of Economic Affairs.
- Elster, Jon. 2015. Explaining Social Behavior: More Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [Revised Edition.]
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- 6 units
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