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Regular version of the site
Bachelor 2020/2021

Modern Political Science

Type: Compulsory course (Political Science)
Area of studies: Political Science
When: 4 year, 2 module
Mode of studies: offline
Instructors: Ilya Gorelskiy, Dina Rosenberg
Language: English
ECTS credits: 3
Contact hours: 34

Course Syllabus


Many of the questions that political scientists study are timeless. Who votes for whom, how and why? How do politicians compete for political support and maintain themselves in power? How does the organization of the state shape incentives for investment, corruption, and for policies that promote (or retard) inequality? The answers to these questions are central both to our understanding of real world outcomes - economic growth, poverty, inequality - and to promoting policies to shape them. Despite their obvious importance, however, few of these questions have clear cut answers. As with any science, new findings are constantly released that challenge our understanding of older findings or expand it in new an important ways.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • Introduce to students the latest mainstream works from the leading international journals in Political Science and Comparative Political Economy.
  • Familiarize students with the current trends in political science referring to key publications of recent years in academic journals which are most in demand among the professional community of political scientists.
  • Develop students' critical thinking skills, it introduces them modern research methods (instrumental variables, research discontinuity design, Bayesian statistics), and also serves the purpose of forming students' standards of modern research work in the field of political science.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Students should know actual trends in the field of political science, key concepts and ideas behind them.
  • Students should be able to Identify the ideas and arguments presented in modern political science literature and take a critical approach to their analysis.
  • Students should know modern research methods used by political scientists.
  • Students should have Working skills with modern political science literature in English.
  • Students should apply acquired knowledge about research methods and techniques to their own works.
  • Students should be able to build their own researches in accordance with the considered methodological requirements.
  • Students should have critical thinking skills and the skills of writing their own researches, taking into account the criteria considered during the course.
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Political Economy of Pandemics
    Pandemics in the historical perspective Pandemics in the economic and political perspective
  • Political Parties and Right-Wing Populism
    The populism trend: its causes and effects Far right parties in a comparative perspective
  • Revolutions, Protests and the Role of Technology
    Characteristics of modern protests Social media and protest
  • Politics and Social Media. Text as data.
    Authoritarian reply: trolls and bots Twitter messages and markets’ reaction
  • Historical legacies
    Modern approaches to political research The influence of historical heritage (attitudes, preferences, traditions, norms, etc.) on political outcomes
  • Women empowerment? Survey experiments
    Causes of women empowerment Consequences of women empowerment
  • Analyzing Legislatures. Political Economy of the US Congress
    A new look at the role of legislatures in modern politics Political economy of the US Congress
  • Interest Groups and Social Movements. BLM.
    Interest groups and their influence on politics in a comparative perspective New social movements
  • Delegation of power
    Role of nonmajoritarian institutions Banks and courts
  • Bureaucracy
    Effective bureaucracy: opportunities and limitations Key features of bureaucracy in authoritarian regimes
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Participation
    For each seminar, students are offered literature, which should be carefully read and prepared in detail to discuss.
  • non-blocking Tests
  • non-blocking Summary
    1 page which should include: research question, causal inference, hypothesis, results. The deadline for submitting the summary is 1st of December 2020 (23:59:59). Deadline extension options: not provided.
  • non-blocking Referee Reports (2)
    The deadline for submitting the first referee report is 25th of November 2020 (23:59:59); the second referee report – 10th of December 2020 (23:59:59). Deadline extension options: not provided.
  • non-blocking Research Project
    The deadline for submitting the research project is 18th of December 2020 (23:59:59). Deadline extension options: not provided.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (2 module)
    0.2 * Participation + 0.3 * Referee Reports (2) + 0.3 * Research Project + 0.15 * Summary + 0.05 * Tests


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Alesina, A., Giuliano, P., & Nunn, N. (2013). On the Origins of Gender Roles: Women and the Plough. https://doi.org/10.1093/qje/qjt005
  • Allyson L. Benton, & Andrew Q. Philips. (2020). Does the @realDonaldTrump Really Matter to Financial Markets? American Journal of Political Science, 1, 169. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajps.12491
  • Andrei Markevich, & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya. (2017). The Economic Effects of the Abolition of Serfdom: Evidence from the Russian Empire. Working Papers.
  • Ansolabehere, S., Snyder, J., & de Figueiredo, J. (2005). Why Is There So Little Money In US Elections?
  • BEATH, A., CHRISTIA, F., & ENIKOLOPOV, R. (2013). Empowering Women through Development Aid: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0003055413000270
  • Berk, J. B., Harvey, C. R., & Hirshleifer, D. (2017). How to Write an Effective Referee Report and Improve the Scientific Review Process.
  • Hix, S., Hoyland, B., & Vivyan, N. (2007). From doves to hawks: a spatial analysis of voting in the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England, 1997-2007. LSE Research Online Documents on Economics.
  • Junyan Jiang. (2018). Making Bureaucracy Work: Patronage Networks, Performance Incentives, and Economic Development in China. American Journal of Political Science, 4, 982. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajps.12394
  • Kirsten Cornelson, & Boriana Miloucheva. (2020). Political polarization, social fragmentation, and cooperation during a pandemic. Working Papers.
  • KUNG, J. K.-S., & CHEN, S. (2011). The Tragedy of the Nomenklatura: Career Incentives and Political Radicalism during China’s Great Leap Famine. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0003055410000626
  • Larson, J. M., Nagler, J., Ronen, J., & Tucker, J. A. (2019). Social Networks and Protest Participation: Evidence from 130 Million Twitter Users. American Journal of Political Science (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.), 63(3), 690–705. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajps.12436
  • Mian, A., Sufi, A., & Trebbi, F. (2010). The Political Economy of the US Mortgage Default Crisis. American Economic Review, 100(5), 1967–1998. https://doi.org/10.1257/aer.100.5.1967
  • Principles of comparative politics, Clark, W. R., 2013
  • Reuter, O. J., & Robertson, G. B. (2012). Subnational Appointments in Authoritarian Regimes: Evidence from Russian Gubernatorial Appointments. Journal of Politics, 74(4), 1023–1037. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022381612000631
  • Rosenfeld, B. (2017). Reevaluating the Middle-Class Protest Paradigm: A Case-Control Study of Democratic Protest Coalitions in Russia. American Political Science Review, 4, 637.
  • Siroky, L. B. (2012). Revenge of the Radical Right: Why Minority Accommodation Mobilizes Extremist Voting.
  • STEUNENBERG, B. (1997). Courts, Cabinet and Coalition Parties: The Politics of Euthanasia in a Parliamentary Setting. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0007123497000264
  • Teele, D. L., Kalla, J., & Rosenbluth, F. (2018). The Ties That Double Bind: Social Roles and Women’s Underrepresentation in Politics. American Political Science Review, 3, 525.
  • WUTTKE, A., SCHIMPF, C., & SCHOEN, H. (2020). When the Whole Is Greater than the Sum of Its Parts: On the Conceptualization and Measurement of Populist Attitudes and Other Multidimensional Constructs. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0003055419000807

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Avinash Dixit. (2008). Democracy, Autocracy, and Bureaucracy.
  • Becker, G. S. (1983). A Theory of Competition Among Pressure Groups for Political Influence. https://doi.org/10.2307/1886017
  • Becker, G. S., & Lewis, H. G. (1973). On the Interaction between the Quantity and Quality of Children. Journal of Political Economy, 81(2), S279. https://doi.org/10.1086/260166
  • Bernhard, W. (1998). A Political Explanation of Variations in Central Bank Independence. American Political Science Review, 02, 311.
  • Boffa, F., Piolatto, A., & Ponzetto, G. A. M. (2016). Political centralization and government accountability.
  • Caramani, D. (2017). Will vs. Reason: The Populist and Technocratic Forms of Political Representation and Their Critique to Party Government. American Political Science Review, 1, 54.
  • Charnysh, V. (2015). Historical legacies of interethnic competition : anti-Semitism and the EU referendum in Poland. Comparative Political Studies, 48(13), 1711–1745. https://doi.org/10.1177/0010414015598921
  • Dahl, R. A. (1989). Who Governs? : Democracy and Power in an American City. New Haven: Yale University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=52913
  • Duflo, E. (2012). Women Empowerment and Economic Development. Journal of Economic Literature, 50(4), 1051–1079. https://doi.org/10.1257/jel.50.4.1051
  • GAILMARD, S. (2017). Building a New Imperial State: The Strategic Foundations of Separation of Powers in America. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0003055417000235
  • Gibson, J. L., Caldeira, G. A., & Baird, V. A. (1998). On the Legitimacy of National High Courts. American Political Science Review, 02, 343.
  • Hongbin Li, & Li-an Zhou. (2004). Journal of Public Economics Forthcoming Political Turnover and Economic Performance: The Incentive Role of Personnel Control in China ∗.
  • Huber, J. D. (1992). Restrictive Legislative Procedures in France and the United States. American Political Science Review, 03, 675.
  • Hunt, S., & Posa, C. (2001). Women Waging Peace. Foreign Policy, 124, 38. https://doi.org/10.2307/3183189
  • Jones, B. T., & Mattiacci, E. (2017). A Manifesto, in 140 Characters or Fewer: Social Media as a Tool of Rebel Diplomacy. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0007123416000612
  • Jörg L. Spenkuch, & Philipp Tillmann. (2018). Elite Influence? Religion and the Electoral Success of the Nazis. American Journal of Political Science, (1), 19. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajps.12328
  • KING, G., PAN, J., & ROBERTS, M. E. (2013). How Censorship in China Allows Government Criticism but Silences Collective Expression. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0003055413000014
  • Noam Lupu, & Leonid Peisakhin. (2017). The Legacy of Political Violence across Generations. American Journal of Political Science, (4), 836. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajps.12327
  • Qian, Y., & Xu, C. (1998). Innovation and Bureaucracy Under Soft and Hard Budget Constraints. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-937X.00039
  • Sergei Guriev, Nikita Melnikov, & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya. (2019). 3G Internet and Confidence in Government. Sciences Po Publications.
  • STEINERT-THRELKELD, Z. C. (2017). Spontaneous Collective Action: Peripheral Mobilization During the Arab Spring. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0003055416000769
  • Stone, L., He, D., Lehnstaedt, S., & Artzy-Randrup, Y. (2020). Extraordinary curtailment of massive typhus epidemic in the Warsaw Ghetto. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abc0927
  • The Role of Oligarchs in Russian Capitalism. (2005). Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.8D3B9D7A
  • Thies, C. G., & Porche, S. (2007). The Political Economy of Agricultural Protection. Journal of Politics, 69(1), 116–127. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2508.2007.00498.x
  • Who leads? Who follows? Measuring issue attention and agenda setting by legislators and the mass public using social media data. (2019). American Political Science Review, 113(4), 883–901. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0003055419000352
  • Wolfsfeld, G., Segev, E., & Sheafer, T. (2012). The Social Media and the Arab Spring: Politics Comes First. Conference Papers —— American Political Science Association, 1–34.