This course focuses on how the interaction among individuals translates into collective choices in public policy. The political analysis of public policy involves understanding how individuals pursue their goals given the limits imposed by resources, technologies, institutions, and the preferences and strategies of other actors. The course will help you acquire a toolkit to perform political analysis. This toolkit encompasses a set of assumptions about individual behaviour and conclusions about aggregate outcomes commonly known as "public choice". We will combine lessons from public choice with a fair deal of inspection of decision-making under different institutional constraints, a combination that we will refer to as "rational choice institutionalism." The first objective of the course is to develop an understanding of the structure of political decisions that you can apply across issues and across political systems. While most theory is written in a developed country context, we apply the arguments to the policy process in emerging market countries, especially on countries in Latin America.
This course is for 1st year MPP students only.