84698 - Institutional Adaptation and Evolution

Course Unit Page

SDGs

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Peace, justice and strong institutions

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course focuses on political institutions and their effects, with the aim of gaining a better understanding of their persistence and change. A special attention is devoted to democracy in the digital age. At the end of the course the students a) is capable of analyzing and interpreting trajectories and pace of institutional change b) has a deep knowledge of the main approaches to institutional change c) he is able to discuss the relationship among technology and democracy.

Course contents

The course will deal with the most important theoretical perspectives on institutions and institutional change, focusing on the rational choice approach to studying institutions. Four main topics will be addressed: coordination; cooperation; problems in group decision-making; the delegation problem. Examples of the questions we will address are the following: how do institutions help solving collective action dilemmas? When do institutions persist and when do they change? Is there any optimal method for group decision-making? What are the cost and benefits of delegation? The course aims at providing theoretical tools to deal with this kind of questions.

The course is organized into lectures and seminars. Lectures ( 8 lectures, 16 hours ) aim at introducing students to the core tenets of the course.

For the seminar section of the course, students will be divided in two groups (depending on their number) according to their preferences and their availability to attend in person. Topic of the seminars will be  empirical applications of the RCT approach to the study of institutions. Seminars (6 meetings , 12 hours for each seminar, in person or online) aim at providing occasions for students’ presentations and in-depth discussions of class materials.

 

Readings/Bibliography

Students are required to read:

Shepsle Kenneth A., Analyzing Politics: Rationality, Behavior, and Institutions, New York, Norton, 2007 (second edition)

A detailed syllabus will be provided at the beginning of the course.

Teaching methods

The course is organized in lectures and seminars. Lectures ( 8 lectures, 16 hours ) aim at introducing students to the core tenets of the course. Seminars (6 meetings, 12 hours for each seminar) aim at  providing occasions for students’ presentations and in-depth discussions of class materials. For the seminar section of the course, students will be divided in two groups (depending on their number) according to their preferences and their availability to attend in person.  Students are required to carefully read the assigned material before the session and actively participate in the seminar sessions.

Assessment methods

For students who ATTEND the class:

Class attendance/participation: 25%

Oral presentation: 25%

Written paper: 50%

For students who are NOT ABLE TO ATTEND the class:

Oral exam based on Shepsle Kenneth A., Analyzing Politics: Rationality, Behavior, and Institutions, New York, Norton, 2007 , second edition ( all chapters) : 50%

Written paper: 50%

Teaching tools

Powerpoint slides, articles and other materials will be available on line at the Virtuale website

Office hours

See the website of Daniela Giannetti

See the website of