Political Science | Elections & Voting Behavior (3 cr)
Y661 | 3448 | Wright


This seminar will cover the major lines of research on voter decision making
and the impact of elections on the policy process.  Our focus will be spread
between presidential, congressional, state, and urban elections, but,
reflecting the field, more attention will be paid to national elections.
The course will specifically examine four lines of research: (1) individual
voter choice, drawing on both the social-psychological tradition of the
American Voter and the rational choice tradition initiated by Downs' An
Economic Theory of Democracy; (2) research on aggregate election outcomes
including work on the political economy of elections and work that focuses
on macro phenomena such as presidential performance and campaign intensities
and issues; (3) research on the responsiveness of electoral behavior to
institutional changes, including the structure of the nomination process,
campaign finance, and possible reforms like term limitations; (4) and how
all of this influences the policy process.  Here we will focus on the
various approaches to studying representation specifically, but the
responsiveness of policy to electoral change more generally.
The seminars will be primarily discussion.  Participants will make at least
one report on a major works of the field that are not included in the
required reading and one analysis report using the National Election Studies
files to update and amplify important findings of the field.  There will be
weekly one-page "reaction statements" that are used as a basis class
discussion.  Finally, the course will have a research paper on a topic of
the participants' choosing.