Economics 36101: 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.

Class Schedule: Winter 2013. MW 12:00-1:20 in Roswenwald 11.

Instructors: Roger Myerson and Richard Van Weelden

Course Outline

Social Choice and the Spatial Models

1. Muller-Sattherwaite/Binary Agendas:

2. The Median Voter Theorem and Probabilistic Voting:

3. Candidates:

4. Valence Models:

Agency Models of Elections

5. Pure Moral Hazard

  • John Ferejohn 1986. "Incumbent Performance and Electoral Control." Public Choice 50: 5-26.

  • Timothy Besley 2006. "Principled Agents? The Political Economy of Good Government." (Oxford: Oxford University Press). Chapter 3.

  • David Austen-Smith and Jeffrey Banks 1989. "Electoral Accountability and Incumbency." In Peter Ordeshook [ed.] Models of Strategic Choice in Politics (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press).

  • Jeffrey S. Banks and Rangarajan K. Sundaram 1998. "Optimal Retention in Agency Problems." Journal of Economic Theory 82 (2): 293-323.

  • Keneth Rogoff and Anne Sibert 1988. "Elections and Macroeconomic Policy Cycles." Review of Economic Studies 55 (1):1-16.

6. Ideological Competition and Agency Models:

7. Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard: Signal Jamming/Career Concerns:

8. Lobbying and Common Agency:

9. Pandering:


10. Information Aggregation and the Swing Voter's Curse:

11. Turnout:

12. Deliberation:

Comparative Electoral Systems

13. Electoral outcomes under Different Electoral Systems:

14. Federalism:

Legislative Politics

15. Information Transmission under Alternative Legislative Rules:

16. Legislative Bargaining:

17. Legislative Organization:

Endogenous Institutions and Institutional Stability

18. Property Rights:

19. Nondemocratic Politics:

20.Redistribution and the Revolutionary Threat: