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Bureaucracy, democracy and public choice



Ojectives: 1. To introduce the public choice literature to strengthen the skills of students. 2. To analyze collective decision making problems using game theory and spatial models. 3. To help the students write research papers analyzing real-world collective decision making problems.

Content: This course introduces the students to the economic theory of collective decision making (also known as ‘public choice’ or the positive theory of political decision making). Important insights based on this approach include Downs’ theory on party competition, Niskanen’s insights on the behavior of bureaucrats, and Olson’s work on collective action problems. In this course, we further explore the applications of this approach to various problems and dilemma’s in political science and public administration. In addition, we also discuss game-theory and the spatial theory of voting as analytical tools often used to make public choice arguments.

Methods of Instruction

Lectures and discussion

Study Material

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.

Articles (available through the University Library services).


Paper or replication project.

Schedule: TBA

Entrance Requirements