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Course 2019-2020 a.y.

20672 - COMPARATIVE POLITICS: INSTITUTIONS AND INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 31

CLMG (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - M (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - IM (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - MM (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - AFC (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - CLELI (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - ACME (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - DES-ESS (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - EMIT (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - GIO (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - DSBA (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - PPA (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - FIN (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SPS/04)
Course Director:
PIERO STANIG

Classes: 31 (I sem.)
Instructors:
Class 31: PIERO STANIG


Mission & Content Summary
MISSION

This course presents a broad and in-depth overview of the state of the art in comparative politics, i.e., the scientific study of the functioning of political institutions. Special attention is given to democratization and institutional change, the functioning of democratic regimes in developed and developing countries, and institutional reform. The course is organized around four blocks: political regimes and regime change; electoral systems; accountability and corruption; types of executives and delegation of policymaking to bureaucrats and sub-national governments. Emphasis is given to recent and provocative contributions; some more dated classics are included when needed.

CONTENT SUMMARY

Dictatorship and democracy:

  • State building and state capacity. 
  • Transitions to democracy.
  • Authoritarian regimes and limited authoritarian government. 
  • Democratic consolidation. 
  • Regime types and economic growth.

Elections:

  • The spatial model of politics. 
  • Proportional vs majoritarian electoral institutions: functioning and adoption.
  • Strategic voting. 
  • Open and closed lists. 
  • Electoral fraud.

Accountability, corruption and governance:

  • Electoral control. 
  • Lobbies and mafias. 
  • Political vs. bureaucratic corruption. 
  • Clientelism and vote buying.
  • Consequences of corruption and anti-corruption policies.

Politicians and bureaucrats:

  • Party discipline. 
  • Prime ministers and presidents. 
  • The fragility of presidential democracies. 
  • Delegation to competent and incompetent bureaucrats. Federalism and decentralization.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)
KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Illustrate the central methodological and substantive insights that the scientific study of political institutions provides.
  • Describe the differences between democratic and authoritarian regime types.
  • Identify the consequences in terms of governance and economic performance of different types of political institutions.
APPLYING KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Distinguish genuine transitions to democracy from other types of alternation in power.
  • Describe the expected consequences of institutional reforms in specific real-world settings.
  • Explain and identify the plausible causes of the poor performance of a given political system.

Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face lectures
DETAILS

Each lecture revolves around one or two papers, which are going to be dissected in detail, in order to understand the mechanics and the logic of the model (for theoretical contributions) and the data and empirical strategy (for empirical contributions). Active participation, based on having read the paper(s) in advance of the relevant lecture, is expected.


Assessment methods
  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  •   x x
    ATTENDING STUDENTS

    There are two requirements.

    1. The first is a partial in-class exam, covering the first half of the course.
    2. The second is a final exam, covering only the second half of the course. Each of the partial exams is worth 50% of the grade.

    In the exam, students need to demonstrate their knowledge of the theoretical models and empirical contributions covered in class, and their ability to evaluate hypothetical specific cases, and provide advice to policymakers, in light of the material presented in the course.

    NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS

    There is one requirement: a final exam, covering the entire course material. The final exam is worth 100% of the grade.

    • In the exam, students need to demonstrate their knowledge of the theoretical models and empirical contributions covered in class, and their ability to evaluate hypothetical specific cases, and provide advice to policymakers, in light of the material presented in the course.

    Teaching materials
    ATTENDING AND NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS
    • There is no textbook for this course. 
    • Each lecture revolves around one or two papers, which are going to be dissected in detail, in order to understand the mechanics and the logic of the model (for theoretical contributions) and the data and empirical strategy (for empirical contributions). Papers and book chapters are made available via the Bocconi e-learning platform.
    • Students who need extra background or prefer to consult a textbook treatment to organize ideas can refer to: CLARK, WILLIAM R. MATT GOLDER, SONA N. GOLDER, Principles of Comparative Politics, CQ Press 2013, second edition. (Please notice that the textbook is not a substitute for the assigned papers and articles. This is particularly true for students who decide not to attend the lectures: studying the Clark et al. book is not sufficient –and not necessary– to successfully pass the exam).
    Last change 16/06/2019 23:29