PSCI 282 Political Economy of Public Policy
- Spring 2021
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. Students are expected to have taken PSCI 107, PSCI/ECON 288, or a similar introductory course on formal models of decision-making.