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Public Choice


Admission requirements

MSc International Relations and Diplomacy students.


Public choice is often defined as the application of economics to political science (Mueller, 2003). The aim of the course is therefore to equip students with a basic analytical toolkit of economics (rational choice theory) and demonstrate how it is applied to study nonmarket decision-making. Students will learn how economic thinking can be applied to analyze the emergence of states, their institutions, interactions between states and their citizens, and interactions between states. The course is structured around four main topics/questions: (1) what are the economic determinants of national borders and secessions?; why do nations succeed and fail (2) what are the economic effects of various constitutional setups (proportional vs. majoritarian electoral systems, federal vs. unitary structure of government)? (3) what is the economic rationale behind a state’s regulatory effort? and (4) what are the legal and political barriers to trade? The course does not only provide an overview of related theoretical arguments, but also gives an overview of available empirical evidence.

Course objectives

By the end of this course, the learners will be able to (1) use basic economic concepts, such as public goods, principal-agent model, rent-seeking, etc., (2) predict economic outcomes of several institutional reforms, (3) identify public and private motives behind regulatory reforms, (4) describe the determinants of international trade and (5) determine and analyze barriers to international trade.


To be announced by OSC staff.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, seminars, class discussion.

Course Load

5 EC

Assessment method

Final grades are calculated based on four components:

  • In-class presentation (20%),

  • Short essay I (20%),

  • Short essay II (20%),

  • Research paper (40%).

You can find more information about assessments and the timetable exams on the website.
Details for submitting papers (deadlines) are posted on Blackboard.

Failed partial grades or components should be compensated by passed partial grades or components. The calculated grade must be at least 5,5 to pass the course. It is not possible to re-sit a partial grade or component once you have passed the course.


To be announced.

Reading list

Academic articles and book excerpts announced before the lectures.


Use both uSis and Blackboard to register for every course.

Register for every course and workgroup via uSis. Some courses and workgroups have a limited number of participants, so register on time (before the course starts). In uSis you can access your personal schedule and view your results. Registration in uSis is possible from four weeks before the start of the course.
Also register for every course in Blackboard. Important information about the course is posted here.


Dr. J.J. Kantorowicz Dr. Jaroslaw Kantorowicz


This course is an elective course designed for second year MIRD students.
This elective is conditional of at least 5 students registering for this course.