Political Science | Intro to Formal Political Theory
Y573 | 3747 | McGinnis


This course is a survey of the use of game and other formal models in
political science. Attention will be focused on the fundamental
rationale behind the development and application of modeling
techniques, and on the strengths and limitations of this general
approach to research. The basic tools of game theory will be covered,
but students seeking to specialize in this area should plan on taking
a more advanced course in game theory (from Economics or the Business
School). This course will focus on the ways in which game models can
be used to represent fundamental aspects, properties, and
implications of institutions of particular relevance to political
scientists, specifically institutions dealing with collective
decision-making, policy implementation, and dispute resolution.
Assignments will include a final exam and a few homework assignments.
Each student will present a report on a series of models used in his
or her expected area of specialization, which can be located within
any of the substantively-defined fields of political science. Among
the topics likely to be covered are models of general and committee
voting, bureaucrats as agents of legislative principals, veto player
models of democratic systems, and legal pluralism.