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Prospectus

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Decision Making and Rational Choice

Course
2013-2014

Description

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 of 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.

Course objectives

  • to introduce students to the logic of rational choice analysis of collective decision making
    • to provide skills for a critical analysis of collective decision making
    • to present some of the major accomplishments of rational choice theory for explaining the effects of different voting arrangements, the effect of legislative institutions, the logic of coalition formation, and other decision-making processes in the public sector.

Time table

The (provisional) timetable is on the first page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

Lectures

h3.Blackboard

Instructors use Blackboard. The page of the course is available from a week before the course starts.

Assessment

Graded and ungraded assignments; final paper

Reading list

  • Shepsle, Kenneth A. and Mark S. Bonchek (1997) Analyzing Politics: Rationality, Behavior, and Institutions. New York and London: W.W. Norton & Company.
    Or
    • Shepsle, Kenneth A (2010) Analyzing Politics: Rationality, Behavior, and Institutions. 2nd edition. New York and London: W.W. Norton & Company.

Registration

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the “Prospective students website”:
http://www.prospectivestudents.leiden.edu/programmes/study-abroad/ for information on how to apply.

Via USIS

Contact

Dr. Rik de Ruiter
R.de.ruiter@cdh.leidenuniv.nl