Checking date: 28/03/2022

Course: 2023/2024

The Political Economy of Democracy
Master in Social Sciences (Plan: 481 - Estudio: 325)


Department assigned to the subject: Social Sciences Department

Type: Electives
ECTS Credits: 6.0 ECTS


Core Competences Possess and understand knowledge that provides a basis or opportunity to be original in the development and/or application of ideas, often in a research context. Students know how to apply their acquired knowledge and problem-solving skills in new or unfamiliar settings within broader (or multidisciplinary) contexts related to their field of study. Students are able to integrate knowledge and face the complexity of making judgments based on incomplete or limited information that includes reflections on the social and ethical responsibilities linked to the application of their knowledge and judgments. Students know how to communicate their conclusions and the knowledge and the reasons behind them to both specialised and non-specialised audiences in a clear and unambiguous way. Students possess the learning skills that will enable them to continue studying in a way that will be largely self-directed or autonomous. General Competences Understand the main analytical tools from political science, sociology or economic history. Evaluate and compare different contributions to important social science debates from an analytical, methodological and empirical point of view. Plan and carry out an autonomous research programme in a particular field of the social sciences. Evaluate the internal logic of a scientific publication, examining the consistency between theory, analytical strategy, indicators, results and conclusions. Understand and know how to synthesize the main theories into one or more contemporary debates in the social sciences. Specific Competences To apply acquired knowledge to the evaluation, formulation and critique of economic policies within the framework of different types of capitalism. To identify the economic and social bases of the functioning of political regimes. Learning outcomes Knowledge of debates on the interaction between political and economic structures. Command of theories on the role of the State in the economy. Command of the literature on agency and delegation. Knowledge of the problems of aggregation of preferences that arise in social choice. Awareness of formal models of party competition. Knowledge of political party theories. Knowledge of formal models and empirical research on representation and accountability. Awareness of the main theories of electoral behaviour. Knowledge of the political economy literature on government formation. Knowledge of the literature on electoral systems
Skills and learning outcomes
Description of contents: programme
1. Problems of social choice (Arrow's theorem and further developments). 2. Voter models. Economic vote. 3. Analytical approaches to political representation and accountability. 4. Models of electoral competition. 5. Parties and democracy. 6. Information problems in politics. 7. Democracy and inequality. 8. Democracy and globalization. 9. Political economy of government formation (coalitions). 10. Political economy of government survival. 11. Models of democracy.
Learning activities and methodology
TRAINING ACTIVITIES Theoretical class Practical classes Tutorials Individual student work TEACHING METHODS Presentations in the professor's lecture room with computer and audiovisual support, in which the main concepts of the subject are developed and a bibliography is provided to complement the students' learning. Critical reading of texts recommended by the subject professor: Press articles, reports, manuals and/or academic articles, either for later discussion in class, or to expand and consolidate knowledge of the subject. Resolution of practical cases, problems, etc. raised by the professor, either individually or in a group. Presentation and discussion in class, under the moderation of the professor, of topics related to the content of the subject, as well as practical case studies. Developing pieces of work and reports, individually or in group.
Assessment System
Basic Bibliography
  • Achen, Christopher H., and Larry M. Bartels. Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government.. Princeton University Press. 2017
  • Aldrich, John H. Why Parties? . University of Chicago Press. 1995
  • Bartels, Larry M. Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age. Princeton University Press. 2018
  • Converse, Philip E. . The Nature of Belief Systems in Mass Publics, . in D. Apter (ed) Ideology and Discontent (Ch.6).. 1964
  • Downs, Anthony. An Economic Theory of Democracy. New York: Harper. 1957
  • Gallego, Aina. Unequal Political Participation Worldwide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.. 2015
  • Gilens, Martin. Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America. Princeton University Press. 2012
  • Laver, Michael and Ken Shepsle. Making and Breaking Governments. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1996
  • Lijphart, Arend. Patterns of Democracy. New Haven: Yale University Press. 1999
  • Linz, Juan. The Perils of Presidentialism. Journal of Democracy, 1(1): 55-69. 1990
  • Merrill, Samuel and Bernard Grofman. A Unified Theory of Voting. Cambridge University Press. 1999
  • Page, Benjamin & Robert Shapiro. The Rational Public. University of Chicago Press. 1992
  • Powell, G. Bingham. Elections as Instruments of Democracy. New Haven: Yale University Press.. 2000
  • Przeworski, Adam, Susan C. Stokes, and Bernard Manin (eds). Democracy, Accountability, and Representation. Cambridge University Press. 1999
  • Tsebelis, George. How Political Institutions Work. Princeton University Press. 2002

The course syllabus may change due academic events or other reasons.