Introduction to Politics (POL101) | ISM
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Introduction to Politics (POL101)

Annotation

This course introduces students to the key concepts, methodologies and fields of research in the contemporary political science, by employing the rational choice approach to analyzing politics.  The general topics covered include the notion of human rationality, collective action problems, political entrepreneurship, voting, party competition and politics of coalition, as well as basic game-theory-based methods for the analysis of political phenomena.

Aim of the Course

This course is rather theoretical and methodological in its orientation.  It does not aim to review a certain number of empirical findings regarding political events.  Instead, students receive an overview of the scholarly thinking about political phenomena along with the basic game-theoretic tools that will enable an analytically rigorous exploration of political phenomena during the later courses of the Economics and Politics program.

Learning outcomes

  • To explain the concept of science and to use scientific method in formulating statements about political phenomena.
  • To list and to comment on the implications of the assumption of human rationality in social sciences.
  • To identify instances of the collective action problem (CAP) in social contexts and to propose solutions to the problem, including economic solutions, anarchic solutions and political solutions.
  • To explain the role of political entrepreneurs in solving the CAP.  Explain the funding as well as the oversight of political entrepreneurs.
  • To explain the implications of the Condorcet paradox, and related theoretical constructs for voting and public choice.
  • To explain political institutions as agenda-setting mechanisms, designed to overcome the problems of vote aggregation.
  • To model basic principles of electoral competition among political parties. 8To model basic principles of coalition formation, maintenance and dissolution. 
Syllabus
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