Seminar
Advanced Topics in CP: Legislative Politics
instructed by Thomas Bräuninger
Tuesday 12 am - 1:30 pm, A5 6, B318
Start date: 08-09-2015, Finish date: 08-12-2015

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.