GV325      Half Unit
Advanced Issues in Political Economy

This information is for the 2019/20 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 International Social and Public Policy with Politics, BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, BSc in Politics, BSc in Politics and Economics, BSc in Politics and History, BSc in Politics and International Relations, BSc in Politics and Philosophy, BSc in Psychological and Behavioural Science and BSc in Social Policy with Government. 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 12:00 noon on Friday 4th October 2019.


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. Topics covered in the course include, among others, populism, media and democracy, autocratic politics, terrorism.


15 hours of lectures and 13 hours and 30 minutes of classes in the MT.

There will be 9 one-hour and a half lectures in Weeks 1-5 and Weeks 7-10 in MT and a one-hour and a half 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 timed 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 (50%, duration: 2 hours and 45 minutes, reading time: 15 minutes) in the summer exam period.
Coursework (50%) in the MT Week 9.

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2018/19: Unavailable

Average class size 2018/19: Unavailable

Capped 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills