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Decision Making and Rational Choice


The aim of this course is to introduce students to the rational choice approach to understanding collective decision making. Rational choice theory is based on a simple set of assumptions and an analytical method that, when applied rigorously, has produced revolutionary insights about public life and has changed the way we think about collective action, political and economic institutions, policy making and international relations. The course will present the basics of rational choice theory and some if its applications for the analysis of voting, co-operation, and institutional design and effects. Students will learn the necessary skills to apply the theory in their own research.

Objectives: – to introduce the students to the logic of rational choice analysis of collective decision making – to provide skills for a critical analysis political decision making – to present some of the major accomplishments of rational choice theory for explaining the effects of different voting arragements, the effect of legislative institutions and the logic of coalition formation.

Dr. R. de Ruiter

Method of instruction
Lectures, discussion and exercises

Study material:
Shepsle, Kenneth A. and Mark S. Bonchek (1997) Analyzing Politics: Rationality, Behavior, and Institutions. New York and London: W.W. Norton & Company.

Tuesday 7/2-20/3 from 13-15 hr in 1A-20, except for 14/2 from 9-11 hrs in 1A20