Not available in 2017/18
GV325      Half Unit
Advanced Issues in Political Economy

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Stephane Wolton


This course is available on the BSc in Government, BSc in Government and Economics, BSc in Government and History, BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, BSc in Politics and International Relations and BSc in Politics and Philosophy. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

The course is capped at 1 group.  The deadline for enrolments is 12 noon on Friday 30th September.


Students are expected to have taken GV225 Public Choice and Politics, or equivalent, in a previous year. An introductory knowledge of economics and econometrics would be useful.

Course content

This course is an advanced treatment of Political Economy. The course will cover some advanced concepts in game theory and their application to contemporary political issues. It will provide an overview of the empirical literature on the topics covered. The course material will expand students’ capacity to think about policy relevant issues and will cover democratic and autocratic politics. The course structure will be as follows:

Week 1 – Game theory refresher

Week 2 - Political accountability

Week 3 – Media and democracy

Week 4 - Behavioural political economy

Week 5 - Accountability in autocracies: The role of elite

Week 7 – Accountability in autocracies: The role of institutions

Week 8 - Democratisation,

Week 9 – Terrorism

Week 10 - International conflicts

Week 11 - Revision lecture


10 hours of lectures and 9 hours of classes in the MT.

There will be 9 one-hour lectures in Weeks 1-5 and Weeks 7-10 in MT and a one-hour revision lecture in Week 11. Classes will run in Weeks 2-5 and Weeks 7-11 in MT. Week 6 will be a Reading Week. 

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 problem sets and 1 other piece of coursework in the MT.

Students will complete one problem set to further their understanding of the concepts covered in the course and prepare for the take-home exam. There will also be a time exam in week 11 to allow practise on problem sets solving under exam conditions.

Indicative reading

Canes-Wrone, Brandice, Michael C. Herron, and Kenneth W. Shotts. 2001. ``Leadership and pandering: A theory of executive policymaking." American Journal of Political Science 45(3): 532-550.

Gentzkow, Matthew, and Jesse M. Shapiro. 2006. "Media Bias and Reputation." Journal of Political Economy 114(2): 280-316.

Prato, Carlo and Stephane Wolton. 2015. ``The Voters' Curses: Why we need Goldilocks voters." American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming.

Egorov, Georgy, Sergei Guriev, and Konstantin Sonin. 2009. ``Why Resource-Poor Dictators Allow Freer Media: A Theory and Evidence from Panel Data.'' American Political Science Review 103(4): 645-668.

Bueno de Mesquita, Ethan. 2005. ``The quality of terror." American Journal of Political Science 49(3): 515-530.

Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson. 2000. ``Why Did the West Extend the Franchise?" Quarterly Journal of Economics 115 (4): 1167-1199.

Fearon, James D. 1995. ``Rationalist explanations for war." International organization 49(3): 379-414.

Most of the reading is from journal articles; a complete list will be supplied at the start of the term. A useful overview of political economy topics in democracy is: T Besley, Principled Agents? Selection and Incentives in Politics, Oxford University Press, 2005


Exam (60%, duration: 2 hours and 45 minutes, reading time: 15 minutes) in the main exam period.
Coursework (40%) in the Week 9.

The exam will have two parts. Part A is a compulsory question. In Part B, candidates will answer two questions from three posed.

The coursework will have four compulsory questions.

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2016/17: 3

Average class size 2016/17: 5

Capped 2016/17: Yes (5)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills