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Regular version of the site
Master 2021/2022

Modern Political Science

Type: Compulsory course (Applied Politics)
Area of studies: Political Science
When: 1 year, 2, 3 module
Mode of studies: offline
Open to: students of one campus
Instructors: Boris Kapustin, Israel Marques II, Patrick Sawyer
Master’s programme: Applied Politics
Language: English
ECTS credits: 5
Contact hours: 64

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. This course will serve as a (brief) introduction to the major topics that have animated the field of political science in recent years. While the topics are timeless, the goal will be to familiarize students with the broad sweep of debates on these topics and work on the cutting edge of them.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • This course seeks to provide a broad overview of the current state of the literature in several key areas of contemporary Political Science.
  • The course also seeks to provide students with a better understanding of modern methodological tools and research design, as well as how to apply them to developing and critiquing a research agenda. The course places particular emphasis on the potential pitfalls of causal analysis, how to spot them in the works of others, and how to attempt to overcome them in one's own work.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be able to apply contemporary approaches to theory and methods to designing or extending original empirical research. They will be able to present this work and respond to constructive criticism related to it
  • Students be able to constructively critique the work of others both orally and in written form. They will be able to apply insights from contemporary theoretical work and methodologies in suggesting improvements or extensions.
  • Students will both understand the state of the art in the discipline, and how this recent work fits into the grand arc of research in Political Science.
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Causal Inference and the Scientific Enterprise
  • Vote Choice and Responsibility
  • Economic Voting and Clientalism
  • Non-Economic Voting and Ideology
  • Identity Politics
  • Democratic Parties, their Influence, and Representation
  • Electoral Rules and their Origins
  • Autocracies
  • Autocratic Institutions and Policymaking
  • The Politics of Reform
  • Institutions, Investment, and Property Rights
  • Political Protests
  • Corruption and Governance
  • Civil War and Violence
  • The Welfare State and Inequality
  • Elective Topic
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Take-Home Midterm Assessment
  • non-blocking Final Exam
  • non-blocking Referee Report Presentation
  • non-blocking Referee Report 1
  • non-blocking Research Proposal
  • non-blocking Participation
  • non-blocking Referee Report 2
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • 2021/2022 3rd module
    0.05 * Referee Report Presentation + 0.1 * Participation + 0.15 * Referee Report 2 + 0.15 * Take-Home Midterm Assessment + 0.15 * Referee Report 1 + 0.2 * Research Proposal + 0.2 * Final Exam


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Ang, Y. Y. V. (DE-588)1114840696, (DE-627)869232401, (DE-576)477522866, aut. (2020). China’s gilded age the paradox of economic boom and vast corruption Yuen Yuen Ang (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor).
  • Bakshy, E., Messing, S., & Adamic, L. A. (2015). Exposure to ideologically diverse news and opinion on Facebook. Science, 348(6239), 1130–1132. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aaa1160
  • Deng, J., & Liu, P. (2017). Consultative Authoritarianism: The Drafting of China’s Internet Security Law and E-Commerce Law. Journal of Contemporary China, 26(107), 679–695. https://doi.org/10.1080/10670564.2017.1305488
  • Druckman, J. N., & Levendusky, M. S. (2019). What Do We Measure When We Measure Affective Polarization? Public Opinion Quarterly, 83(1), 114–122. https://doi.org/10.1093/poq/nfz003
  • Iyengar, S., Sood, G., & Lelkes, Y. (2012). Affect, Not Ideology. Public Opinion Quarterly, 76(3), 405–431. https://doi.org/10.1093/poq/nfs038
  • Kreuzer, M. (2010). Historical Knowledge and Quantitative Analysis: The Case of the Origins of Proportional Representation. American Political Science Review, (02), 369. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsrep&AN=edsrep.a.cup.apsrev.v104y2010i02p369.392.00
  • Leemann, L., & Mares, I. (2014). The Adoption of Proportional Representation. Journal of Politics, 76(2), 461–478. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022381613001394
  • Legvold, R. (2018). Property Rights and Property Wrongs: How Power, Institutions, and Norms Shape Economic Conflict in Russia. Foreign Affairs, 97(1), 163.
  • Lobo, M. C., & Pannico, R. (2020). Increased economic salience or blurring of responsibility? Economic voting during the Great Recession. Electoral Studies, 65. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.electstud.2020.102141
  • Rebecca Weitz‐Shapiro. (2012). What Wins Votes: Why Some Politicians Opt Out of Clientelism. American Journal of Political Science, (3), 568. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-5907.2011.00578.x
  • Regina Smyth. (2020). Elections, Protest, and Authoritarian Regime Stability : Russia 2008–2020. Cambridge University Press.
  • Reuter, O. J. (2017). The Origins of Dominant Parties : Building Authoritarian Institutions in Post-Soviet Russia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1491929
  • Reuter, O. J., & Robertson, G. B. (2015). Legislatures, Cooptation, and Social Protest in Contemporary Authoritarian Regimes. Journal of Politics, 77(1), 235–248. https://doi.org/10.1086/678390
  • Reuter, O. J., & Szakonyi, D. (2019). Elite Defection under Autocracy: Evidence from Russia. American Political Science Review, (02), 552. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsrep&AN=edsrep.a.cup.apsrev.v113y2019i02p552.568.00
  • Rosenfeld, B. (2018). The Popularity Costs of Economic Crisis under Electoral Authoritarianism: Evidence from Russia. American Journal of Political Science (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.), 62(2), 382–397. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajps.12338
  • Sokhey, S. W. (2017). The Political Economy of Pension Policy Reversal in Post-Communist Countries. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=nlebk&AN=1578646
  • Wimmer, A. (2018). Nation Building: Why Some Countries Come Together While Others Fall Apart. Survival (00396338), 60(4), 151–164. https://doi.org/10.1080/00396338.2018.1495442

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, Clement Imbert, Santhosh Mathew, & Rohini Pande. (2016). E-governance, Accountability, and Leakage in Public Programs: Experimental Evidence from a Financial Management Reform in India. Working Papers.
  • Abhijit V. Banerjee, & Esther Duflo. (2008). The Experimental Approach to Development Economics. NBER Working Papers.
  • Alemán, E., Micozzi, J. P., Pinto, P. M., & Saiegh, S. (2018). Disentangling the Role of Ideology and Partisanship in Legislative Voting: Evidence from Argentina. Legislative Studies Quarterly, 43(2), 245–273. https://doi.org/10.1111/lsq.12182
  • Baker, A., Ames, B., & Renno, L. R. (2006). Social Context and Campaign Volatility in New Democracies: Networks and Neighborhoods in Brazil’s 2002 Elections. American Journal of Political Science (Wiley-Blackwell), 50(2), 382–399. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-5907.2006.00190.x
  • Bates, R. H., Coatsworth, J. H., & Williamson, J. G. (2007). Lost Decades: Postindependence Performance in Latin America and Africa. Scholarly Articles.
  • Calvo, E., & Murillo, M. V. (2013). Cuando los partidos políticos se encuentran con sus votantes: un análisis de los vínculos políticos a través de las redes partidarias y las expectativas distributivas en Argentina y Chile ; When parties meet voters: assessing political linkages through partisan networks and distributive expectations in Argentina and Chile ; Quand les partis politiques rencontrent leurs électeurs : une analyse des liens politiques à travers les réseaux partisans et les attentes distributives en Argentine et au Chili.
  • Cederman, L.-E., & Girardin, L. (2007). Beyond Fractionalization: Mapping Ethnicity onto Nationalist Insurgencies. American Political Science Review, (01), 173. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsrep&AN=edsrep.a.cup.apsrev.v101y2007i01p173.185.07
  • Coppock, A., & Green, D. P. (2015). Assessing the Correspondence between Experimental Results Obtained in the Lab and Field: A Review of Recent Social Science Research. Political Science Research and Methods, (01), 113. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsrep&AN=edsrep.a.cup.pscirm.v3y2015i01p113.131.00
  • Cusack, T. R., Iversen, T., & Soskice, D. (2007). Economic Interests and the Origins of Electoral Systems. American Political Science Review, (03), 373. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsrep&AN=edsrep.a.cup.apsrev.v101y2007i03p373.391.07
  • Cusack, T., Iversen, T., & Soskice, D. (2010). Coevolution of Capitalism and Political Representation: The Choice of Electoral Systems. American Political Science Review, (02), 393. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsrep&AN=edsrep.a.cup.apsrev.v104y2010i02p393.403.00
  • Daniela Braun, & Hermann Schmitt. (2018). Different emphases, same positions? The election manifestos of political parties in the EU multilevel electoral system compared. https://doi.org/10.25384/SAGE.C.4265177
  • Darden, K., & Grzymala-Busse, A. (2006). The Great Divide: Literacy, Nationalism, and the Communist Collapse. https://doi.org/10.1353/wp.2007.0015
  • Frye, T., Reuter, O. J., & Szakonyi, D. (2012). Political Machines at Work: Voter Mobilization and Electoral Subversion in the Workplace. Conference Papers —— American Political Science Association, 1–56.
  • Gueorguiev, D. D., & Malesky, E. J. (2019). Consultation and Selective Censorship in China. Journal of Politics, 81(4), 1539–1545. https://doi.org/10.1086/704785
  • Irina Denisova, Markus Eller, Timothy Frye, & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya. (2010). Everyone Hates Privatization, but Why? Survey Evidence from 28 Post-Communist Countries. Working Papers.
  • O. J. Reuter, & J. Gandhi. (2015). Economic Performance and Elite Defection from Hegemonic Parties. Sravnitelʹnaâ Politika, 6(2(19)), 22–49. https://doi.org/10.18611/2221-3279-2015-6-2(19)-22-49
  • Posner, D. N. (2004). The political salience of cultural difference: Why Chewas and Tumbukas are allies in Zambia and adversaries in Malawi.
  • Robertson, G. B. (2011). The Politics of Protest in Hybrid Regimes : Managing Dissent in Post-Communist Russia. Cambridge University Press.