Political Science | Comparative Democratic Institutions
Y657 | 13989 | Smyth

The new institutionalism gave rise to studies of institutions as
dependent variables (institutional formation and change) and
independent variables to explain outcomes as diverse as successful
democratic consolidation and the decision to go to war.  This course
will begin with a brief discussion of the three branches of the new
institutionalism.  We will then turn to recent studies of
institutional selection and change in a wide range of cases from the
post-Communist to the European and US contexts.  The remainder of
the class will explore the role of institutions—from electoral rules
to legislative organization—as explanatory variables in the study of
political outcomes in emerging and established democracies.  In this
last section, we will look at relevant data sets to understand how
institutional structures are coded and incorporated into large-N
studies.  For the most part, the readings are designed to survey the
subfield and will be drawn from recent journal articles and edited
volumes.  The majority of the readings are available through the
library’s e-resource system.  A supplementary set of readings will
be made available at the beginning of the semester.