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Political Science (PS) Courses (2017-18)

PS 12. Introduction to Political Science. 9 units (3-0-6): first, third terms. Introduction to the tools and concepts of analytical political science. Subject matter is primarily American political processes and institutions. Topics: spatial models of voting, redistributive voting, games, presidential campaign strategy, Congress, congressional-bureaucratic relations, and coverage of political issues by the mass media. Instructors: Ordeshook, Kiewiet.
PS 20. Political-Economic Development and Material Culture. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. During the 19th-century the American economy, despite the Civil War, caught up to and surpassed all European economies. How did the likes of Singer, John Deere and Seth Thomas -- latecomers to the markets they served - come to dominate those markets both domestically and internationally? Why did the technology of interchangeable parts and mass production become known as 'the American system' when much of that technology was imported from Europe? What role did government play in facilitating or thwarting innovation and economic growth? This course will explore such questions as reflected in the ordinary things people collect under the label 'antiques'. What do we learn from the fact that we can document a half dozen American manufacturers of apple peelers but not a single comparable European company? Why is the hand sewn quilt a nearly unique American folk art form and what does the evolution of quilting patterns tell us about technology and economic prosperity? What do baking powder cans as a category of collectible tell us about the politics of federal versus state regulation? Students will be expected to each choose a topic that asks such questions and to explore possible answers, all with an eye to understanding the interplay of economics, politics, and demography. Instructor: Ordeshook.
PS 97. Undergraduate Research. Unites to be arranged: any term. This course offers advanced undergraduates the opportunity to pursue research in political science individually or in a small group. Graded pass/fail.
PS 99 ab. Political Science Research Seminar. 9 units (3-0-6): first, second terms. Development and presentation of a major research paper on a topic of interest in political science or political economy. The project will be one that the student has initiated in a political science course he or she has already taken from the PS courses required for the PS option, numbered above 101. This course will be devoted to understanding research in political science, and basic political science methodology. Students will be exposed to current research journals, work to understand a research literature of interest, and work to formulate a research project. Fulfills the Institute scientific writing requirement. Instructor: Ordeshoo.
PS 101. Selected Topics in Political Science. Units to be determined by arrangement with the instructor: offered by announcement. Instructor: Staff.
PS 120. American Electoral Behavior and Party Strategy. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. A consideration of existing literature on the voting behavior of the citizen, and an examination of theoretical and empirical views of the strategies followed by the parties. Two substantial papers are expected of students. Not offered 2017-18.
PS 121. Analyzing Congress. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. Introduction to the US Congress with an emphasis on thinking analytically and empirically about the determinants of Congressional behavior. Among the factors examined are the characteristics and incentives of legislators, rules governing the legislative process and internal organization, separation of powers, political parties, Congressional elections, and interest group influence. Instructor: Hirsch.
PS 122. Political Representation. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. Theory, practice, and consequence of political representation in the electoral context. Topics include the concept of representation; how the degree of representation of various groups and interests (such as ethnic and racial) is affected by different electoral rules; and the impact of representation of minorities on public policies. The primary focus is on the empirical literature pertaining to the United States, but examples from other countries are also examined for comparative purposes. Not offered 2017-18.
PS 123. Regulation and Politics. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. This course will examine the historical origins of several regulatory agencies and trace their development over the past century or so. It will also investigate a number of current issues in regulatory politics, including the great discrepancies that exist in the cost-effectiveness of different regulations, and the advent of more market-based approaches to regulations instead of traditional "command-and-control." Not offered on a pass/fail basis. Instructor: Kiewiet.
PS 125. Analyzing Political Conflict and Violence. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. This course examines the causes of and solutions for conflict and violence: Why do wars occur and how do we stop them? We cover topics such as terrorism, ethnic violence, civil wars, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, repression, revolutions, and inter-state wars. We study these phenomena using the rational choice framework and modern tools in data analysis. The goals of the class are to explain conflicts and their terminations as outcomes of strategic decision-making and to understand the empirical strengths and weakness of current explanations. Instructor: Gibilisco.
An/PS 127. Corruption. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. Corruption taxes economies and individuals in both the developing and the developed world. We will examine what corruption means in different places and contexts, from grand financial scandals to misappropriation of development funds, ethnic patronage, and the theft of elections. How do we measure it? What are its costs and social consequences? What are its correlates? Does freedom of information matter? Students will read across a range of topics, and write an in-depth research paper on one topic. Limited enrollment. Instructor: Ensminger.
PS 130. Introduction to Social Science Surveys: Methods and Practice. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. In this course, students will learn the basic methodologies behind social science survey analysis: self-completion and interview-assisted surveying, sampling theory, questionnaire design, theories of survey response, and the basic analysis and presentation of survey results will be covered, as well as contemporary research in survey methodology and public opinion analysis. Students will be involved in the active collection and analysis of survey data and the presentation of survey results; students will be required to complete an independent project involving some aspect of survey methodology. Not offered 2017-18.
PS 132. Formal Theories in Political Science. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. Axiomatic structure and behavioral interpretations of game theoretic and social choice models and models of political processes based on them. Instructor: Agranov.
PS 135. Analyzing Legislative Elections. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. The purpose of this course is to understand legislative elections. The course will study, for example, what role money plays in elections and why incumbents do better at the polls. It will also examine how electoral rules impact the behavior both of candidates and voters, and will explore some of the consequences of legislative elections, such as divided government. Instructor: Katz.
PS/SS 139. Comparative Politics. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. The politics of non-American political systems with an emphasis on their electoral systems and methodologies for assessing their compliance with democratic standards. Students will be expected to develop data sets appropriate to analyzing elections in individual countries and offering an assessment of the pervasiveness of fraud in those elections. The student's grade will be determined by a final written report reporting the methodology and results of their analysis. Instructor: Lopez-Moctezuma.
PS 141 ab. A History of Budgetary Politics in the United States. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. This class will examine budgetary conflict at key junctures in U.S. history. Topics include the struggle to establish a viable fiscal system in the early days of the Republic, the ante bellum tariff, the "pension politics" of the post-Civil War era, the growth of the American welfare state, and the battle over tax and entitlement reform in the 1980s and 1990s. Instructor: Kiewiet.
Ec/PS 160 abc. Laboratory Experiments in the Social Sciences. 9 units (3-3-3): first, second, third terms. An examination of recent work in laboratory testing in the social sciences with particular reference to work done in social psychology, economics, and political science. Students are required to design and conduct experiments. Instructor: Plott.
PS/Ec 172. Game Theory. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. This course is an introduction to non-cooperative game theory, with applications to political science and economics. It covers the theories of normal-form games and extensive-form games, and introduces solutions concepts that are relevant for situations of complete and incomplete information. The basic theory of repeated games is introduced. Applications are to auction theory and asymmetric information in trading models, cheap talk and voting rules in congress, among many others. Instructor: Tamuz.