M/E for Year 1 MPA and 1YMAPP students (they have to complete 2 credits of either this or Public Sector Economics (2) or Labour and Population Policy (2) or Macroeconomics and Public Finance (4) or Institutions Culture and Development (2)
Elective course for Year 2 MPA and Mundus MAPP
This course provides an overview of the public choice literature, covering the field's foundational texts up to modern theoretical and empirical advances. Also known as the rational choice approach to politics, public choice uses microeconomics to analyze the decision making of political actors (voters, politicians, interest groups, bureaucrats). In the public choice tradition, actors in the political arena are assumed to be self-interested and public policies are characterized as equilibria that emerge from some political process in which actors follow their self-interest. The political process itself is determined by political and legal institutions that set the rules of the "political game" and affect how individual actors behave and what are the equilibrium outcomes. Indeed, the field of Public Choice is now more relevant than ever, as we grapple with the emergence of extreme public policies and realize the urgency to understand how political institutions can constrain policy-makers whose actions seem increasingly at odds with the public interest. The course is broken up into four main areas of analysis: (i) elections and public policy outcomes, (ii) special interest groups and public policy outcomes, (iii) constitutions and comparative political institutions, (iv) globalization and domestic politics. The course sessions will be interactive lectures, encouraging critical reflection on assigned readings, completion of additional analytical exercises, presentation of student work, and exploration of related research topics.