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PSCI 280 Intermediate Positive Political Theory

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  • Fall 2022
    John Duggan
    Fall 2022 — MW 11:50 - 13:05

    Positive political theory is an approach to thinking about political behavior and the institutions that shape voting and policy making. This course develops the analytical tools taught in PSCI 107 (Introduction to Positive Political Theory), and it applies those tools to shed light on theoretical problems and contemporary political issues. Topics may include the properties and pathologies of alternative voting rules, the so-called paradox of voting, the antecedents and consequences of polarization, the centripetal influence of the median voter, the power of the agenda setter, and the design of optimal constitutions. The goal is to give students the skills to think rigorously about politics, to see structure in seemingly chaotic events, and to understand the incentives of political actors and the choices they make. Prerequisite: PSCI 107 or another course in rational choice theory, game theory, or positive political theory.