Fall 2024 Courses

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PSCI/INTR 101 Introduction to Comparative Politics
Bonnie M. Meguid
Fall 2024 — MWF 10:25 - 11:15
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This course is an introduction to the study of domestic political institutions, processes, and outcomes across and within countries. The course surveys key concepts and major theoretical contributions in the field of comparative politics, including the challenges for democratization and democratic consolidation, the possibility of revolution, how countries vary in their political and electoral institutions and why these variations matter, and the power of social forces such as ethnicity, culture, and social capital. Country cases are drawn from different regions of the world and historical periods to ground students in the set of tools of comparative analysis.


PSCI 104 Introduction to Political Philosophy
Alexander Moon
Fall 2024 — MWF 11:50 - 12:40
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This course is most aptly called Thinking About Politics. It aims to examine a range of contemporary issues and to explore the political and philosophical conflicts and controversies that those issues raise. So, for example, we might examine the concepts of patriotism and explore the tensions that arise between it and such other concepts as democracy or freedom or dissent or security. Readings will be drawn both from contemporary sources and classic political thought.


PSCI/INTR 106 Introduction to International Relations
Hein Goemans
Fall 2024 — MWF 14:00 - 14:50
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International relations is the study of how states interact with each other. This course builds a working knowledge of our field, introducing the background, theoretical, and empirical tools necessary to understand international relations today. Students will learn about important findings in a variety of subfields, including war, international political economy, institutions, and nuclear proliferation. To do so, the course emphasizes readings from original research material rather than from a textbook. Further, students will solve problem sets and work with common international relations datasets to obtain a working understanding of the discipline's methodological foundations.


PSCI 200 Data Analysis I
Curtis S. Signorino
Fall 2024 — TR 12:30 - 13:45
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Data analysis has become a key part of many fields including politics, business, law, and public policy. This course covers the fundamentals of data analysis, giving students the necessary statistical skills to understand and critically analyze contemporary political, legal, and policy puzzles. Lectures will focus on the theory and practice of quantitative analysis, and lab sessions will guide students through the particulars of statistical software. Core topics include descriptive statistics, probability, hypothesis testing, and linear regression. RESTRICTION: Students who have taken ECON 230, PSCI 205, PSY/CSP 211, STAT 212, STAT 213, or STAT 214 may not take the course. Must have laptop on which you can run R and R Studio.


PSCI 202W Argument in Political Science
Gerald Gamm
Fall 2024 — MWF 10:25 - 11:15
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This course introduces students to the questions, concepts, and analytical approaches of political scientists and emphasizes careful reading and analytical writing. For its subject matter, this class focuses on the tension between majority rule and minority rights in the American political tradition. Topics include tyranny of the majority, slavery, constitutional design, representation, the paradox of voting, collective action problems, political ambition, the development of the American party system, congressional organization, racism and civil rights, women's rights, substantive due process, the politics of contraception and abortion and LGBTQ rights, partisan polarization, and democratic erosion. Readings are drawn from classic texts in American thought—the Declaration of Independence, The Federalist, Tocqueville's Democracy in America, speeches by Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, Supreme Court cases—as well as from books and articles written by contemporary political scientists. Written requirements include a midterm, a final exam, and several short papers on the assigned readings.


INTR 205 Global Sustainable Development
Milena Novy-Marx
Fall 2024 — R 14:00 - 16:40
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With world population of nearly 8 billion and global GDP of $85 trillion, human impacts on the environment have already reached dangerous levels. By 2050, world population could reach 9 billion and global GDP $200 trillion. Despite unprecedented growth in countries such as China and India, over 700 million people still live in extreme poverty-concentrated especially in South and Central Asia and Africa. The central challenge for humanity in the 21st century is the triple endeavor of ending extreme poverty, improving social inclusion, and achieving sustainability for the planet. Any effort to address these three complex, interlinked challenges must be interdisciplinary. Policies at the local, national and global level will need to draw on the best of our knowledge and innovation across sectors such as energy, biodiversity and conservation, health, sustainable business practices, food and nutritional security, social service delivery, and good governance. Interventions and policies in these sectors must be gender sensitive, address racial inequalities and discrimination, and be in keeping with international standards of human rights. They must involve governments, the private sector, and civil society. In September 2015, the world adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2015 to 2030 at the UN General Assembly while the historic Paris Climate accord was also reached under the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change.


PSCI 211 Conspiracy Theories in American Politics
Scott Tyson
Fall 2024 ("W" Optional) — TR 14:00 - 15:15
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Conspiracy theories are becoming an organizing principle in American politics. This course will explore the history and trends of conspiracy theories, the psychological and strategic underpinnings of persuasion in these theories and misinformation, and the political implications of current conspiracy theories. In order to understand the use (or misuse) of evidence and logic in conspiracy theories, several weeks will be dedicated to extended examples. These conspiracy theories are polarized and polarizing, a unit of the course will discuss political science research on polarization and place conspiracy theories within this trend. Assignments for the course include writing an individual short paper and group presentation on a conspiracy theory that applies the concepts in class. Readings include classics (e.g., Hofstadters The Paranoid Style in American Politics) and contemporary academic articles and books (e.g., Knights Conspiracy Nation: The Politics of Paranoia.


PSCI 213 Black Politics
Alexander Moon
Fall 2024 — WF 9:00 - 10:15

This course is about the politics of racial subordination and emancipation in the United States. We begin by thinking about different explanations of the rise, dynamics, and persistence of racial domination in the United States and of the cultural and political challenges to it. We will pay special attention to the Great Migration, the subsequent emergence of blacks as an important constituency of the Democratic Party, the Civil Rights Movement, and the role of race in structuring current party divisions. Next, we will examine the politics of black communities. Topics include the legacy of demobilization of the Civil Rights Movement and the channeling of political activity into electoral institutions; the politics of urban regimes; the challenge to political solidarity posed by increasing social economic and social inequality within the black community; the Black Lives Matter movement; and debates about the effectiveness of identity-based, class based, and coalitional strategies of political mobilization. In conclusion we will reflect upon the differences between the nature and dynamics of racial subordination today compared with the past and what, if any, prospects for change there are.


PSCI 215W American Elections
James Druckman
Fall 2024 ("W" Required) — TR 15:25 - 16:40
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What explains the current state of the American political system? How do elections and political campaigns work? Are voters manipulated by slick media-based election campaigns? What about campaign ads or social media? Do polls help or harm voters? Do differences in how states regulate voting matter? The goal of this seminar is to enhance our understanding of the contemporary political environment, how elections work, how politicians conduct campaigns, how campaigns and media coverage affect voters, and how we study election campaign dynamics. We will not only examine the academic literature on these topics, but we will also follow the ongoing events of the 2024 presidential primary campaigns. Through a combination of group projects, short assignments, and a research paper, we will arrive at an understanding of elections and campaigns. We also will consider the place of elections and campaigns in contemporary American democracy.


PSCI 218 Emergence of the Modern Congress
Gerald Gamm
Fall 2024 ("W" Optional) — T 12:30 - 15:15
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Through intensive reading and discussion, we will analyze the major institutional features of Congress, with an emphasis on historical development. We will examine the basic institutions of the House and Senate--committees, parties, leaders, and rules. In doing this, we will consider the rise of careerism, the seniority system, agenda-setting, electoral concerns, divided government, efforts at institutional reform, party polarization, gridlock, and the Senate filibuster.


PSCI 223 Constitutional Structure and Rights
Alexander Moon
Fall 2024 — MWF 15:25 - 16:15
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Through the lens of the Constitution and Supreme Court cases, examines the structure of the American legal system (both separation of powers at the federal level and the authority of, and relationship among, states and the federal government), as well as the nature of civil rights of citizens.


PSCI 232 Disagreement in a Democratic Society
David Primo
Fall 2024 ("W" Optional) — W 14:00 - 16:40
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Is consensus overrated? In this seminar course we will study the role of disagreement in a democratic society. Topics will include the causes and consequences of political polarization, academic freedom and viewpoint diversity on college campuses, and practical tools for managing disagreements.


PSCI 235 The Political Economy of U.S. Food Policy
Dan Alexander
Fall 2024 ("W" Optional) — TR 11:05 - 12:20
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The course examines how reforms to food policy in the United States make their way through the democratic process and how these reforms constitute efforts to democratize our food system, exploring how these efforts confront the same challenges that a democracy faces more broadly. How does our political system approach the task of reconciling the diverse preferences of the American public and the corporations that feed it, agricultural and health agencies, and the food activists and advocacy groups? How do we think about the concepts of representativeness, access, information, centralization, externalities, and regulation in the context of our food system?


PSCI 236 Health Care and the Law
Molly McNulty
Fall 2024 — TR 14:00 - 15:15
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An introduction to the legal foundations of the biomedical healthcare system; topics include national health reform, bioethics, the right to health care, genetic discrimination, and access to reproductive care. Primary law (judicial opinions, legislation) comprises the bulk of the reading assignments; students will learn how to brief cases and interpret statutes. Pre-requisite: PHLT 116 highly recommended.


PSCI/INTR 245 The Politics of Science and Expertise
Casey Petroff
Fall 2024 ("W" Optional) — TR 11:05 - 12:20
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The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of scientific expertise in crafting policy, and policymakers depend on expert advice in many other arenas, including climate policy, regulation, and economic policy. However, recent polling demonstrates a deterioration and polarization of public trust in scientific experts. This course examines the politics of science and expertise. It covers theories and evidence about topics such as the motivations of experts, the roles of scientific communities, interactions between experts and policymakers, and public views of experts' credibility. Students will engage with both relevant social science research and with case studies of policy-relevant scientific work to draw connections to the theories considered in class.


PSCI 247 Green Markets: Environmental Opportunities and Pitfalls
Lawrence Rothenberg
Fall 2024 ("W" Optional) — TR 11:05 - 12:20
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In recent years, there has been much discussion of the possibility of a green economy. This course examines the potential for "green markets," focusing on three drivers-social, political, and economic-that can both constrain firms and potentially condition whether issues of environment and sustainability can be exploited as a means for competitive advantage. Among issues covered will be demand and willingness to pay for green goods, the roles of NGOs and investors, regulation and its alternatives, firm reputation and product differentiation, supply chain management, and green production processes. Special attention will be given to the need of firms to deal with climate change now and in the future.


PSCI 248 Discrimination
Kevin A. Clarke
Fall 2024 ("W" Optional) — TR 12:30 - 13:45
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An examination of discrimination from a social scientific perspective. Topics covered include defining discrimination, types of discrimination under the law, testing for discrimination, discrimination experiments, and a survey of what social scientists have discovered about discrimination in the areas of policing, bail, retail sales, automobile sales, and home mortgages. Although there is considerable time devoted to lecture, students are encouraged to participate.


INTR 249 Israel/Palestine
Aaron Hughes
Fall 2024 ("W" Optional) — TR 12:30 - 13:45
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This course will provide a non-partisan introduction to the conflict between these two national movements. Discussion will focus on an examination of historical documents, in addition to understanding of how it plays out in literature and film.


PSCI/INTR 255 Poverty and Development
Anderson Frey
Fall 2024 ("W" Optional) — TR 9:40 - 10:55
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Why are some countries poor, while others enjoy a high standard of living? Why some enjoy stability and freedoms, while others suffer with corruption, repression and violence? Why countries stagnate or decline in their economic development. This course is designed to provide a broad theoretical framework for thinking about these problems, focusing on the political and institutional causes of differences in economic development across countries.


PSCI/INTR 265 Civil War and the International System
Bethany Lacina
Fall 2024 — TR 9:40 - 10:55
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Addresses the question of when and where civil wars occur and what their effects are domestically and internationally. Also examine role played by external actors in civil war, such as financial support to governments or insurgents, armed interventions, and peacekeeping missions.


PSCI/INTR 266 The Politics of India and Pakistan
Alexander Lee
Fall 2024 ("W" Optional) — MW 14:00 - 15:15
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This course examines the politics of India and Pakistan, and uses the history of these countries to examine broader issues in the politics of the developing world. Topics examined include the appeal of caste, class, regional and religious identities, the influence of institutions such as parties, armies and bureaucracies, and outcomes such as authoritarianism, poverty, corruption and insurgency.


PSCI 282 Making Public Policy
Sergio Montero
Fall 2024 ("W" Optional) — MW 15:25 - 16:40
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What should governments do? What can governments do? What do policymakers want to do? This course examines these questions from the perspective of modern political economy. The perspective is twofold: it comprises both a set of tools (mathematical modeling and rigorous empirical analysis) and a fundamental premise that public policy is the outcome of rational, strategic choices by self-interested policymakers who face institutional constraints that shape their incentives and limit their scope of action. The course begins by discussing normative considerations about what might constitute "good" public policy. It then explores areas where public policy has the potential to improve social welfare in a modern economy. Finally, it analyzes how the political process influences policymakers' actual choices. Special attention is given to key differences between developed and developing countries.


PSCI 287 Theories of Political Economy
James Johnson
Fall 2024 ("W" Optional) — TR 12:30 - 13:45
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In recent decades a number of important intellectual intersections have emerged between political science and economics. The course will explore these intersections as they appear in the work of several scholars who have won the Nobel Prize in economics. Our aim is to explore the analytical, explanatory and normative implications of this work in hopes of discerning lessons for thinking about enduring political issues and institutions. Some prior course work in economics or political science will be helpful but is not required.


PSCI 288 Game Theory
Fall 2024
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Game theory is a systematic study of strategic situations. It is a theory that helps us analyze economic and political strategic issues, such as behavior of individuals in a group, competition among firms in a market, platform choices of political candidates, and so on. We will develop the basic concepts and results of game theory, including simultaneous and sequential move games, repeated games and games with incomplete information. The objective of the course is to enable the student to analyze strategic situations on his/her own. The emphasis of the course is on theoretical aspects of strategic behavior, so familiarity with mathematical formalism is desirable.


PSCI/INTR 389W Senior Honors Seminar
Casey Petroff
Fall 2024 ("W" Required) — W 14:00 - 16:40
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Through reading and critiquing political science research in American politics, comparative politics, and international relations, students learn how to select a research question, formulate testable hypotheses, find and evaluate relevant literature, locate or collect data that addresses their research question, analyze the data, and write a research report. Course requires instructor's permission.


PSCI 394 Local Law and Politics Internships
Stuart Jordan
Fall 2024 ("W" Optional)
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Students in the Local Law and Politics Internships work 10-15 hours per week in one of a variety of internships in policy, politics and law in the Rochester area. Possible internship placements include the district offices of state and federal legislators, the City of Rochester municipal government, policy research and advocacy organizations, and the Monroe County District Attorney's and Public Defender's offices. Students supplement their hands-on learning with a series of short research-based writing assignments related to their internships. Contact professor Stu Jordan to learn how to apply. Students must have a B average and must be a sophomore, junior or senior to be eligible.


PSCI/INTR 394C Washington Semester Internship
Stuart Jordan
Fall 2024
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Please contact Professor Stu Jordan for more information.


PSCI 399 Washington Semester
Stuart Jordan
Fall 2024
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These internships provide an opportunity to learn experientially one or more of the following: how government functions; how public policies are created, adopted and implemented; and how political campaigns work. Students intern in Congress, the executive branch, party campaign committees, and lobbying and advocacy groups. Please contact Professor Stu Jordan for more information.


PSCI 401 Math Fundamentals for Political Science
Fall 2024
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This course provides students with the mathematical background that is needed for the graduate program in Political Science. Topics covered include set theory, functions, basic calculus, and probability. The course involves both lecture and problem-solving sessions. Instructor permission required for undergraduate students.


PSCI 404 The Art and Practice of Data Analysis
Kevin A. Clarke
Fall 2024 — TR 15:25 - 16:40
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This course in mathematical statistics provides graduate students in political science with a solid foundation in probability and statistical inference. The focus of the course is on the empirical modeling of non-experimental data. While substantive political science will never be far from our minds, our primary goal is to acquire the tools necessary for success in the rest of the econometric sequence. As such, this course serves as a prerequisite for the advanced political science graduate courses in statistical methods (PSC 405, 505, and 506).

Prerequisites: Undergraduates must obtain the instructor's (or a Political Science advisor's) permission to take this course. Students must have taken a sequence in calculus and have attended the Political Science two-week Math Bootcamp. The Math Bootcamp may be waived in rare cases where a student has already taken courses in multivariable calculus, linear algebra, and probability.


PSCI 407 Mathematical Modeling
John Duggan
Fall 2024 — MW 10:00 - 12:00
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This course is the first half of a two-course sequence consisting of PSC 407 and PSC 408. The goal of the sequence is to give a rigorous introduction to the main concepts and results in positive political theory. At the same time, we will teach you the mathematical tools necessary to understand these results, to use them and (if it suits you) to surpass them in your own research in political science. The course will emphasize rigorous logical and deductive reasoning - this skill will prove valuable, even to the student primarily interested in empirical analysis rather than modeling. The sequence is designed to be both a rigorous foundation for students planning on taking further courses in the positive political theory field and a self-contained overview of the field for students who do not intend to do additional coursework in the field.

Prerequisites: Undergraduates must obtain the instructor's (or a Political Science advisor's) permission to take this course. Students must have taken a sequence in calculus and have attended the Political Science two-week Math Bootcamp. The Math Bootcamp may be waived in rare cases where a student has already taken courses in multivariable calculus, linear algebra, and probability.


PSCI 505 Likelihood + Topics
Curtis S. Signorino
Fall 2024 — TR 9:40 - 10:55
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The classical linear regression model is inappropriate for many of the most interesting problems in political science. This course builds upon the analytical foundations of PSC 404 and 405, taking the latter's emphasis on the classical linear model as its point of departure. Here students will learn methods to analyze models and data for event counts, durations, censoring, truncation, selection, multinomial ordered/unordered categories, strategic choices, spatial voting models, and time series. A major goal of the course will be to teach students how to develop new models and techniques for analyzing issues they encounter in their own research.


PSCI 507 Experiments in Political Science Research
Mayya Komisarchik
Fall 2024 — TR 11:05 - 12:20
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Researchers in comparative politics, American politics, international relations, political methodology, and political theory increasingly rely on data collected from various types of experiments to answer important questions in their fields. This graduate-level class is designed to introduce students to experimental techniques and the applications of experiments in political science. Students who take this course should have completed causal inference (PSC 504). While this is primarily a seminar course, students will cover statistical material and get a hands-on introduction to programming tools for experimental research in R. This course is not specific to a particular subfield; students will get exposure to a wide range of experimental methods (lab experiments, field experiments, surveys, etc.) used across different research areas.


PSCI 518 Emergence of the Modern Congress
Gerald Gamm
Fall 2024 — T 12:30 - 15:15
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Through intensive reading and discussion, we will analyze the major institutional features of Congress, with an emphasis on historical development. We will examine the basic institutions of the House and Senate--committees, parties, leaders, and rules. In doing this, we will consider the rise of careerism, the seniority system, agenda-setting, electoral concerns, divided government, efforts at institutional reform, party polarization, gridlock, and the Senate filibuster.


PSCI 540 American Political Institutions
Sidak Yntiso
Fall 2024 — M 12:30 - 15:15
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This course aims to provide graduate students with a foundation from which to conduct original research on U.S. political institutions. We will survey theoretical and empirical literature across areas of focus in the sub-field of U.S. politics. We will also explore perspectives on the institutions-based approach to research, especially in the context of U.S. politics. In addition to reading published research, students will gain exposure to a set of "workhorse" models and empirical strategies that practitioners rely upon when conducting research on U.S. political institutions. Students will be expected to participate actively in class discussions as well as to lead some discussions of assigned articles. The central assignment will be the development of a research proposal that demonstrates promise for development into a publishable paper.

This course is one of two core courses in the U.S. politics sequence, with the other laying the foundation for conducting original research on U.S. political behavior. The two may be taken in either order. The prerequisites for this class include the first semester of the graduate theory and methods training.


PSCI 552 Dictatorship and Democracy
Gretchen Helmke
Fall 2024 — R 12:30 - 15:15
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Why are some political regimes more stable than others? Why do democracies endure or unravel? Why do dictatorships last or crumble? To answer these questions, this course offers a survey of the empirical and theoretical literatures on democracy and dictatorship in comparative politics. The first part of the course will be devoted primarily to examining competing theories about the conditions and causes of the transition to and consolidation of democracy. The second part of the course examines theories about democratic erosion and the emergence and instantiation of autocracy. Class will be conducted in a weekly discussion format.


PSCI 561 Revealed Political Preferences
Tasos Kalandrakis
Fall 2024 — T 12:30 - 15:15
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PSCI 576 Graduate Research Seminar
Casey Petroff
Fall 2024 — F 10:00 - 11:30
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Designed as a forum for upper-level doctoral students who have completed formal coursework to present ongoing research. Students regularly present research either stemming from their dissertations or from ancillary projects.


PSCI 579 Politics of International Finance
Randall Stone
Fall 2024 — W 14:00 - 16:00
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This course surveys the politics of international movements of capital, focusing on money as a power resource, the evolution of international cooperation in monetary policy, international financial institutions, and the domestic politics of macroeconomic adjustment.


PSCI 584 Game Theory
Mark Fey
Fall 2024 — MW 10:30 - 12:00
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This course is the third semester of the formal theory sequence for graduate students. It focuses on teaching students more sophisticated tools for modeling more complex games. Specifically, the course concentrates on games of incomplete information such as signaling games and communication games and develops analytical tools such as Bayesian-Nash equilibrium, perfect Bayesian equilibrium, and equilibrium refinements. The course also covers repeated games, bargaining games and equilibrium existence in a rigorous fashion. The prerequisites for the course are PSC 407 and 408, or an equivalent background in complete information game theory. Grading is based on homework assignments and a midterm and final exam.