POLITICAL SCIENCE 8280A
General Classroom Building 701
Dr. William M. Downs
Department of Political Science
Georgia State University
This graduate-level course analyzes the linkages between economic performance/conditions
and political behavior in advanced industrial democracies, primarily in
Europe and North America, and also explores the interplay of economic and
political variables among nascent democracies in developing countries.
Instead of a country-by-country approach, the course focuses on key theories,
arguments, and issues in the field of political economy. We will cover
several different definitions of political economy, examine macro-economic
policy, search for evidence of economic influences on democratic behavior,
compare classic liberal market political economy with Marxist or "radical"
political economy, conservative political economy, and modern liberal political
economy, and evaluate public policy performance in a cross-section of political
systems. In analyzing relationships between economic performance and political
behavior, this course considers these and related questions:
TEXTS AND COURSE MATERIALS
How strong is political control over national economic policy making?
What are the effects of unemployment and inflation on government stability?
Why do tax systems vary so profoundly across liberal democracies?
Why does the relationship between economic performance and mass opinion
vary in strength and direction across time and across countries?
Does national economic performance or an individual's personal economic
situation affect one's voting decisions?
What role have economic crises played in the current wave of political
liberalization and democratization?
How, if at all, can new democracies manage the daunting political challenges
posed by economic reform?
We will make use of the following texts:
James P. Caporaso and David P. Levine. Theories of PoliticalEconomy.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.
Stephan Haggard and Robert R. Kaufman. The Political Economy of Democratic
Transitions. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995.
Sven Steinmo. Taxation and Democracy: Swedish, British, and American
Approaches to Financing the Modern State. New Haven: Yale University
Edward R. Tufte. Political Control of the Economy. Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1980.
Ben S. Bernanke et al. Inflation Targeting: Lessons from the International
Experience. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999.
Jeffrey S. Banks and Eric A. Hanushek, eds. Modern Political Economy.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
Notes on Articles and Chapters: Additional readings will come
from select journal articles and book chapters, which will be made available
to you. Please note that I reserve the right to add or delete reading assignments
as the course develops. Additionally, you should recognize that I provide
you with a set of required readings as well as a suggested list of recommended
readings. You will not be held formally responsible for the supplementary
readings; however, if you find a theme particularly engaging or perhaps
particularly difficult to grasp, you may want to pursue the supplementary
readings to gain a fuller understanding of the material.
For your reference, be aware that new work in the subfield of comparative
political economy appears regularly in the American Political Science
Review, the American Journal of Political Science, and the official
journals of the other regional political science associations (for example,
the Southern Political Science Association's Journal of Politics).
Of the journals specializing in comparative political economy, Journal
of Political Economy and European Journal of Political Economy
are among the best. Others you should be aware of include: Constitutional
Political Economy, Economics and Politics, New Political
Economy, Review of Radical Political Economics, and the Scottish
Journal of Political Economy.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING SYSTEM
Participation: This is a graduate-level class. As with all graduate
classes, the value you derive from it is largely a function of the effort
put into it. Therefore consistent attendance is expected. Everyone is expected
to participate--i.e., thoughtful participation in class discussions is
required. There is no expectation that you be correct when you speak, only
that you be thinking seriously--raising questions, critiquing the literature,
and trying to apply theoretical propositions to real-world phenomena. Also,
please note that we will begin class promptly at 5:30.
Reading Assignments: Given our time constraints in the summer
session, it is imperative that each student completes the assigned readings
to each class. It is important that we all keep up to speed on the
material and come to class prepared to discuss it.
Written Assignments: Given, again, the time constraints of the
summer session, there is no research paper requirement for this course.
In its place are three short papers--two analytical essays reviewing one
or more of the readings and one empirical paper on the theme of "economics
Analytical Essays. Students will write two discussion papers
(each approximately five pages in length). These review essays will require
you to evaluate the arguments currently under consideration in class by
raising a single or a series of substantive, theoretical, or methodological
questions/criticisms/discussion points on the work being analyzed for that
particular class session. Assignments will be staggered so that several
essays will be prepared each week. Each essay must be submitted to me and
be in the hands of all other class members at least 24 hours prior to its
Economics-Elections Assignment: Students will be assigned a midterm
mini-research project to be due July 12. Each student will be charged with
comparing the relationship between economic conditions and electoral outcomes
in two countries. The two countries will be distributed in advance, although
persons with interests in the political-economic systems of particular
countries may be able to choose alternative cases in consultation with
the professor. Each student will prepare a written report, the findings
of which will be discussed at the July 12 class meeting. You will receive
further instructions on the details of this project early in the summer
Examination: There will be a take-home final examination for this
Distribution of Grade Weights:
Economics-Elections Project 15%
INTRODUCTION TO COMPARATIVE POLITICAL ECONOMY
June 14 Introduction to Course
Politics, economics and political economy: basic definitions and outline
of central questions
THEORETICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL UNDERPINNINGS
June 16 "The Great Debate": Contending Perspectives in Political
Caporaso & Levine, Chapters 1-5 (pp. 1-125)
Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (Bk. 1, chs. 1-3; Bk. 3, ch. 1,
Bk. 4, chs. 1, 2, 5, 8; Bk. 5, ch. 1)
K. Marx, Das Kapital (esp. volume 1)
John R. Freeman, "Theoretical Perspectives," in Democracy and Markets:
The Politics of Mixed Economies (Ithaca: Cornell University Press,
ECONOMIC POLICY: MONETARY POLICY
June 21 Monetary Policy, Economic Theory, and Rise of Central Banking
Bernanke et al., Chapters 1-4, 7
June 23 Central Bank Independence: European and American Experiences
James E. Alt and K. Alec Chrystal, "Macroeconomic Policy and Economic Theory,"
in Alt and Chrystal, Political Economics (Berkeley: University of
California Press, 1983), pp. 54-77.
Bernanke et al., Chapters 9-12
William T. Bernhard, "A Political Explanation of Variation in Central Bank
Independence," American Political Science Review 92:2 (June 1998):
Alberto Alesina and L. Summers, "Central bank independence and economic
performance: Some comparative evidence," Journal of Money Credit and
Banking 25 (May 1993): 403-414.
ECONOMIC POLICY: FISCAL POLICY
June 28 Revenue: The Politics of Taxation in Comparative Perspective
Steinmo, Taxation and Democracy
June 30 Spending: The Growth of Government and the Age of Austerity
B. Guy Peters, The Politics of Taxation : A Comparative Perspective
(Cambridge, MA. : B. Blackwell, 1991)
R. Bates and D.-H. Lien, "A Note on Taxation, Development and Representative
Government," Politics and Society 14:1 (1985): 53-70.
Peter Hall, "Economic Policy and the Paradigms of Politics," in Governing
the Economy (Cambridge: Polity, 1986)
Edward M. Gramlich, "The politics and economics of budget deficit control:
policy questions and research questions," in Jeffrey S. Banks and Eric
A. Hanushek, eds., Modern Political Economy (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1995), pp. 171-190.
Alexander M. Hicks and Duane H. Swank, "Politics, Institutions, and Welfare
Spending in Industrial Democracies, 1960-82," American Political Science
Review 86:3 (September 1992): 658-674.
July 5 ***University HolidayŚno class***
Gøsta Esping-Andersen. Politics Against Markets: The Social Democratic
Road to Power. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985.
July 7 Schools of Thought Applied: Tying the Classics to Contemporary
Caporaso & Levine, Chapters 7-9 (pp. 159-216)
Clark, Political Economy, Chapter 9 (Poverty and Inequality), 11
(Minorities and Discrimination), 12 (Political Economy of Gender)
Joseph Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy
Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom (1962)
Michael Barratt Brown, Michael Barratt Brown, Models in Political Economy:
A Guide to the Arguments
John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and
Money. (1964)Brace and World.
POLITICAL CONTROL OF THE ECONOMY
July 12 Economics and Elections
James E. Alt and K. Alec Chrystal, "The Economics of Voting," in Alt and
Chrystal, Political Economics (Berkeley: University of California
Press, 1983), pp. 149-172.
Alberto Alesina, "Elections, Party Structure, and the Economy," in Jeffrey
S. Banks and Eric A. Hanushek, eds., Modern Political Economy (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1995), pp. 145-170.
July 14 Political Business Cycles
Michael S. Lewis-Beck, Economics and Elections (Ann Arbor: University
of Michigan Press, 1990)
Tufte, Political Control of the Economy
P.E. Mouritzen, "The Local Economy Political Business Cycle," Scandinavian
Political Studies (1989), pp. 37-55
Motoshi Suzuki, "Political Business Cycles in the Public Mind," American
Political Science Review 86:4 (December 1992): 989-996.
POLITICAL ECONOMY OF DEMOCRATIZATION
July 19 Problems of Political Economy in Developing Countries
July 21 Political Economy and Regime Change
Ronald Chilcote, "Theories of Development and Underdevelopment," in
Theories of Comparative Politics (Boulder: Westview, 1994), pp. 215-283.
Mancur Olson, "Dictatorship, Democracy, and Development," American Political
Science Review 87:3 (September 1993): 567-576.
Haggard and Kaufman, Chapters 1-5
William H. Riker and David L. Weimer, "The Political Economy of Transformation:
Liberalization and Property Rights," in Jeffrey S. Banks and Eric A. Hanushek,
eds., Modern Political Economy (Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1995), pp. 80-107.
July 26 Political Economy of Democratic Transitions
J. Frieden, Debt, Development and Democracy, ch. 1-3,7-8.
Gerschenkron, Economic Backwardness in Historical Perspective, ch.1.
Haggard and Kaufman, Chapters 6-10
McFaul, Michael. "State Power, Institutional Change, and the Politics of
Privatization in Russia," World Politics, 47 (January 1995).
Haggard, Pathways from the Periphery, chs. 1, 2, 8-10.
POLITICAL ECONOMY OF REGULATION
July 28 Environmental Policy: Classic Nexus of CPE and IPE
Clark, Political Economy, Chapter 14
David P. Baron, "The economics and politics of regulation: perspectives,
agenda, and approaches," in Jeffrey S. Banks and Eric A. Hanushek, eds.,
Political Economy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), pp.
Geoffrey D. Dabelko and P. J. Simmons, "Environment and Security: Core
Ideas and US Government Initiatives," SAIS Review (Winter-Spring
August 2 ***Take-home exam due***
Lester Thurow, The Future of Capitalism (Morrow, 1996)
C. Lindblom, Politics and Markets, chs.1-6, 8-9, 12-15.
Gabriel A. Almond, "Capitalism and Democracy," PS: Political Science
and Politics (September 1991): 467-474.
Note: This course syllabus provides a general plan for
the course; deviations may be necessary.
Note: Students are responsible for the information contained
in the Academic Honest policy found in On Campus.