Econ36101: Economic Models of Politics

Course Description: This course is an introduction to current research in political economics. The emphasis is on game-theoretic models that can be used to study the effects of different constitutional structures on the competitive behavior of politicians and the welfare-relevant performance of government. Strudents who take the course for credit will be required to present a paper from the reading list. Students can sign up for which date to present here. Please discuss with at least one of the instructors the paper you intend to present beforehand and co-ordinate with your fellow presenter to ensure that each student presents a different paper. The sign-up sheet for presentations is available here.

Class Schedule: Winter 2016. TR 9:00-10:20 in SHFE 103.

Instructors: Roger Myerson and Richard Van Weelden

Course Outline

Social Choice and the Spatial Models

1. (1/05/16) The Median Voter Theorem and Probabilistic Voting:

2. (1/07/16) Muller-Sattherwaite/Binary Agendas:

3. (1/12/16) Candidates:

4. (1/14/16) Valence Models:

Agency Models of Elections

5. (1/19/16) Pure Moral Hazard

6. (1/21/16) Ideological Competition and Agency Models:

  • John Duggan 2000. “Repeated Elections with Asymmetric Information.” Economics and Politics 12 (2): 109-135.

  • Dan Bernhardt, Larissa Campuazano, Odilon Camara, and Francesco Squintanti 2009. “On the Benefits of Party Competition.” Games and Economic Behavior 66 (2): 685-707.

  • Dan Bernhardt, Odilon Camara, and Francesco Squintani 2011. “Competence and Ideology.” Review of Economic Studies 78 (2): 487-522.

  • Richard Van Weelden 2013. “Candidates, Credibility, and Re-election Incentives.” Review of Economic Studies 80 (4): 1622-1651.

7. (1/26/16) Lobbying and Common Agency:


8. (1/28/16) Information Aggregation and the Swing Voter's Curse:

9. (2/2/16) Turnout:

Comparative Electoral Systems

10. (2/4/14) Electoral Outcomes under Different Electoral Systems:

11. (2/9/16) Federalism:

Communication and Organizational Structure

13. (2/11/16) Pandering:

12. (2/16/16) Communication:

14. (2/18/16) Bureaucratic Politics:

Legislative Politics

15. (2/23/14) Legislative Bargaining:

16. (2/25/16) Legislative Organization:

Endogenous Institutions and Institutional Stability

17. (3/1/16) Nondemocratic Politics:

18. (3/3/16) Redistribution, the Revolutionary Threat, and Democratization:

19. (3/8/16) Conflict and Violence: