30313 - ECONOMICS OF INSTITUTIONS AND CULTURE
Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 31
Class-group lessons delivered on campus
How do politics, institutions and culture affect economic outcomes? This course is designed to provide students with key methodological tools and substantial knowledge from cultural and political economics. The course examines competing hypotheses on the role of geography, economic institutions, political institutions, and culture for long-term economic growth and cross-country differences in economic policies. It then focuses on the role of religion for the accumulation of human capital and economic progress. The course also analyzes how opportunistic politicians’ incentives influence economic policies, and, in turn, how these incentives are shaped by political institutions (with a focus on electoral rules and forms of governments). The course also explores the role of religion for the accumulation of human capital and economic progress. Finally, it analyzes the rise of populism and its economic consequences.
- The Role of Geography for Growth and Development.
- The Role of Institutions for Growth and Development.
- The Role of Culture for Growth and Development.
- The 1st Industrial Revolution and the beginning of modern economic growth: geography, institutions, and culture.
- Religion, Human Capital, and Economic Outcomes.
- Religious and Ethnic diversity.
- Institutions, Comparative Politics and Fiscal Policy.
- Political Agency and Corruption.
- Political Populism.
- Understand the different hypotheses on the role of geography, institutions, and culture for economic progress.
- Understand the role of religion (and religiosity) for accumulation of human capital and economic growth.
- Recognize how politicians’ decisions are guided by electoral incentives.
- Understand the determinants of the demand of political populism.
- Critically compare the different hypotheses on the role of geography, institutions, and culture for economic development.
- Evaluate the consequences of religion (and religiosity) for economic development across time and space.
- Evaluate the political conflicts between politicians and voters.
- Evaluate the consequences of political institutions on economic outcomes.
- Face-to-face lectures
- Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
- Group assignments
The learning experience of this course includes, in addition to face-to-face lectures by the instructors, one or more guest lectures by leading scholars in the field of political economics or culture economics. Students also are asked to prepare one group presentation on a research paper at the frontier of the field. These presentations are used for the student assessment as well as a basis for a discussion of the papers in class, during which students are encouraged to bring their own views and to share their insights on the most significant, controversial or innovative aspects of the research project.
In order to evaluate the acquisition of the aforementioned learning outcomes, the assessment of attending students is based on three main components:
- A partial written exam.
- A final written exam,
- An in-class group presentation.
- The two written exams contribute up to 15 points each to the final grade (for a total of 30 points) and are both based on a mix of multiple-choice and open questions. Multiple choice questions are designed to test the students’ knowledge of the basic fundamental concepts and notions about different political institutions and cultural norms as well as their consequences on economic outcomes. Open-ended questions and short statements to discuss are aimed at evaluating the students’ ability to establish connections between findings reported in different readings and to use these connections to evaluate the impact of a cultural or institutional shock to social, political, and economic outcomes. Moreover, they test the ability to describe the complex interaction between culture and political or legal institutions and how this interaction affects economic outcomes. The partial exam focuses on the material covered in the first part of the course. The final exam focuses on the material covered in the second part of the course.
- At the beginning of the course, the instructors forms small groups of students and assign to each group a research paper at the frontier of the field. This assignment tests the ability of students to summarize the research question and results presented in scientific journal articles, to enhance their critical thinking, and to engage them in the most recent debate on the consequences of institutions and cultural norms. The aim of this assignment is also to improve students’ communication and presentation skills. Members of the groups that give a clear and effective presentation receive 1 additional point. Members of the two groups that give the best presentation receive 2 additional points. The points awarded for the presentation are considered only if the final exam is held by the first General exam session.
Written general exam (100% of the final grade) based on a mix of multiple-choice and open questions, which aims to assess the student’s ability to describe the main theoretical and empirical findings contained in the readings covered over the course of the semester.
Teaching materials (syllabus, papers and class slides) are uploaded on the Bboard platform for this class.