402171 VU Political Science - Specialisation 2

summer semester 2020 | Last update: 20.05.2020 Place course on memo list
VU Political Science - Specialisation 2
VU 2

Students advance their knowledge in political science by specialising in different areas of the field.

The Politics of Development

This course studies political and economic development from a political economy perspective. It revolves around the questions: Why don’t poor countries catch up? Why do some countries strive while others fail? What is the micro-foundation of development? With a particular focus on (a) the crucial role of institutions and (b) the behavioral micro-foundation of development we investigate which factors account for economic growth, democratization and regime stability. We study the explanatory power of factor endowments, institutions, regime type, clientelism, ethnic heterogeneity and corruption for development and growth. Taking into account historical legacies, ethnic conflicts, and natural resources, we shed light on the different components that influence the politics of development. At the micro level we zoom in on general theories of political behavior, investigating preference formation, voting behavior and political activism. We learn about the incentive structures of political elites, citizens and social groups, and reflect on challenges for cooperation. We tap into motivations for individuals to engage in protests, conflicts and revolt and study the impact of clientelism, group membership and corruption on vote choices in elections.

The course will provide you with a set of micro theories and institutional theories to study and explain economic and political development. The readings span from classical work to the current research frontier, so that the course will equip you with insights into the key debates in comparative and international political economy research. Geographically, the course covers a variety of cases, from Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, but also East and Western Europe.

Methodologically, we will come across a variety of approaches such as regression analysis, multilevel models, field experiments, laboratory experiments and qualitative case studies.

Term paper + presentation

North, Douglass C. and Barry R. Weingast. (1989) “Constitutions and Commitment: The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in Seventeenth-Century England”, Journal of Economic History 49: 803-32.
Acemoglu, D. and J. Robinson, (2012) Why Nations Fail. Profile Books LTD: London.
Glaeser, E., La Porta R., Lopez-de-Silanes F, Shleifer A. (2004) “Do Institutions Cause Growth?” Journal of Economic Growth 9: 271-303.

successful completion of compulsory module 1 to 3

A good knowledge of general political science concepts, theories and basic quantitative and qualitative methods is required. Students should have completed a course in statistics prior to this course so that a basic familiarity with quantitative methods, in particular linear regression analysis, can be expected. Students should be able to understand and articulate themselves in English as this will be the general classroom language. Of course, perfection is not required but you should be able to make yourself understood.

see dates
Group 0
Date Time Location
Tue 2020-05-05
16.00 - 19.45 SR 19 (Sowi) SR 19 (Sowi) Barrier-free
Thu 2020-05-28
10.00 - 13.45 SR 16 (Sowi) SR 16 (Sowi) Barrier-free
Thu 2020-05-28
14.00 - 18.00 SR 5 (Sowi) SR 5 (Sowi) Barrier-free
Fri 2020-05-29
10.00 - 18.00 SR 5 (Sowi) SR 5 (Sowi) Barrier-free
Wed 2020-06-10
10.00 - 15.45 SR 12 (Sowi) SR 12 (Sowi) Barrier-free