Attending students will be exposed to some of the most relevant debates within the field of political science on the actual functioning of modern democratic systems. Amongst the topics covered, we will review the empirical evidence concerning the causes of different levels of corruption, the congruence of preferences between government and citizens, the consequences of electoral and party systems, the performance of different institutional setups, and the relationship between economic and political phenomena. The course is entirely based on a reading list of articles published by the major international journals in the field, and adopts a quantitative approach. We will review the advantages and limits of this methodology, even by replicating some of the analyses proposed in the reading list.
The program for non-attending students focuses on the major institutional variables for the comparative analysis of different democratic political systems, and partially overlaps with the program for attending students. The Handbook on political institutions (Gandhi and Ruiz-Rufino) serves as a broad introduction to the variegate institutional setups of democracies, whereas Gallagher's edited volume focuses mostly on the origins, functioning and consequences of electoral systems.
Prerequisites for admission
Although there are no formal prerequisites, a previous knowledge of political science and comparative politics is recommended. In case you haven't any Bachelor's experience with these topics, the following handbook (already suggested for the admission interview) is a good way to fill the gaps: Clark W.R., Golder M. and Golder S.N., Principles of Comparative politics, Washington DC, CQ Press 2012.
It is important to have a basic understanding and familiarity with the use of quantitative methods in the social sciences, including the use of statistical packages like Stata.
The course for attending students is a varying mix of frontal lectures, group works, individual presentations, and exercises with statistical packages.
Attending students will receive a complete reading list for the beginning of the course. To have an idea of its structure, students can take a look at last year's syllabus in the Ariel web pages of the course.http://mgiulianicp.ariel.ctu.unimi.it/v5/home/Default.aspx
Non-attending students need to study the following books:
J. Gandhi and R. Ruiz-Rufino (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Comparative Political Institutions, London: Routledge 2015
M. Gallagher and P. Mitchell (eds.), The Politics of Electoral Systems, Oxford: Oxford UP 2006.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Attending students are assessed according to the following criteria:
Attendance and participation: 10%
Intermediate written exam: 30%
Final written exam: 45%
Research work: 15%
Written exams are mainly aimed at verifying the students' knowledge and understanding, and will take different forms, Including open questions, multiple choice questions and exercises. Presentations, group works and class discussions (together with some of the written questions) mainly verify their capacity to apply that knowledge.
Non-attending students' knowledge and understanding is assessed in written exams, mostly using open questions.