The Chair of Political Economy offers on a regular basis lectures on "Comparative Politics" for students in the B.A. program political science as well as the lectures "Game Theory" and "International Political Economy" for graduate students. In addition, we offer diverse seminars in the areas of comparative politics and (international) political economy, exam and thesis colloquia, and workshops at the Doctoral Center in Social and Behavioral Science (CDSS).
Overview over selected courses
Lecture: Introduction into Comparative Government
This lecture gives an introduction into one of the main subfields of political science: comparative government. Core topics are the comparative research methods, approaches in
comparative politics, political institutions, actors and decision-making
Seminar: International Comparison of the Parliamentarian Opposition
A well-functioning parliamentarian opposition is one of the key requirements for every pluralistic democracy. To describe its main tasks, terms like criticism, control and alternative are often used. But there are many country-specific differences concerning the implementations of those tasks. In this seminar, we draw a line from the democratic theoretical origin of the term "opposition", to international analysis of parliamentarian oppositions, and further to formal modelling and empirical investigation of oppositional influence. Well-founded comprehension of parliamentarian opposition in different regimes are taught and practised, as well as principles of scientific research and writing. While the seminar is taught in German, the main literature is provided in English.
Advanced seminar: Political Economy in Developing Countries
This seminar provides an introduction for undergraduate students to the political economy of developing countries. First, we dive into the question why some countries are poor and others rich and under which circumstances economic growth can be established. The main focus lies on those political interests which oppose economic development, considering both national and international actors behaviour. The aim of the seminar is to give an introduction to the key literature, designated theories and empirical research. To pass the course, students need to give a presentation, do their homework on a regular basis and write a term paper at the end of the semester.
Advanced seminar: Electoral systems and Representation
In this seminar, we deal with the relationship between electoral systems and representation. Since "Duverger´s Law", the influence of electoral systems on the party system is well known. This knowledge influenced the representation of voters interests in various systems. But incentives of different electoral systems may also vary on the level of the individual MP and influence his legislative behaviour. The focus of the course lies on the influence of electoral systems on the behaviour of MPs, voters and parties, as well as on the relationship between different actors and the implications of political outcomes.
Lecture: Game Theory
The objective of this course is to provide students with the basics of formal modeling in political science. The course has some breadth in coverage in the sense that it provides a graduate-level introduction and overview to different areas in game theory. It is also narrow in the sense that the emphasis is not on application and model testing but getting trained in reading and writing down formal models. At the conceptual level the course will cover the following topics: preferences and individual choices, decision theory, normal form games, Nash equilibria, extensive form games, subgame perfect equilibria, repeated games, bargaining, games with incomplete and imperfect information, Bayesian perfect equilibria, signalling games. At the substantial level, we will use these concepts to study, as examples, candidate competition, political lobbying, war and deterrence.
Seminar: Legislative Politics
Legislatures are, at least formally, the key policy-making institutions
in modern democracies. They represent and aggregate constituent
interests, pass laws and approve government budgets, monitor
bureaucracies, and, in European-style, parliamentary democracies choose
governments. Yet, any single link in this chain of multiple delegations
involves reciprocal dependencies and accountablities that put
constraints on what actors can do and how they do it. Institutions
certainly matter but how and when and to what extent do they shape the
way legislators feel, behave and act?
The objective of this course is to prepare you for professional research into legislative politics. The course has some breadth in coverage in the sense that it provides a graduate-level overview of
different areas such as electoral competition, legislative bargaining, coalition formation, information transmission, agenda-setting, legislative organization, voting and cohesion, delegation to bureaucratic authorities, and seminal models used in these areas. It is also narrow in the sense that the emphasis is on approaches that use and apply formal models in these areas. When do legislatures grants discretionary power to bureaucrats and why should they do that at all? What drives legislators' decisions and how does that vary across different types of electoral and parliamentary institutions? The ultimate goal is to identify interesting and important questions in the field, and to think about the ways in which research can be designed to get at those questions. Throughout the semester we will meet to pore over a set of seminal papers and important books. The focus here is on the theoretical argument. What is the substantive argument? What do we have to assume to make the argument? What type of model is used and how do we actually arrive at the conclusions? We will also have a look at one or the other piece that exemplifies empirical strategies and evidence.