Politikos įvadas (POL101)

Program code:
Teaching language:
Anglų kalba
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Course description

This course introduces students to the key concepts, methodologies and fields of research in the contemporary political science, by employing the rational choice approach to analyzing politics.  The general topics covered include the notion of human rationality, collective action problems, political entrepreneurship, voting, party competition and politics of coalition, as well as basic game-theory-based methods for the analysis of political phenomena.

Course goals

This course does not aim to review a certain number of empirical findings regarding political events.  Instead, the course is theoretical and methodological in its orientation.  Students receive an overview of the scholarly thinking about politics along with the basic game-theoretic tools that will enable an analytically rigorous exploration of political and economic phenomena during the later courses of the Economics and Politics program.

Course results

  • Define science; explain the components of the scientific method; discuss possibilities and advantages of scientific study of politics.
  • Define human rationality; contrast rationality and selfishness; discuss merits and limitations of the rational-choice explanations of political behavior.
  • Define collective action problem (CAP); explain economic solutions to CAP as well as their shortcomings; list possible political solutions to CAP and link them to contemporary schools of political thought.
  • Define political entrepreneurship; explain solutions to CAP‘s that arise in selecting, monitoring and replacing political incumbents.
  • List reasons for voting.  Discuss consequences of vote-cycling in the context of the Codorcet Paradox, and Arrow‘s Theory of Impossibility.  Explain solutions to the cycling problem in terms of deliberation and agenda setting (including Median Voter Theorem).
  • Explain the logic and the determinants of strategies that political parties implement prior to elections, including strategic positioning on policy issues.
  • Explain the logic and the determinants of strategies that political parties implement after elections, including formation, maintenance and dissolution of governments.
  • Solve game-theoretic and decision theoretic problems, such as calculating expected utility and critical conditions, solving of extensive and strategic games, defining sub-game perfection, and doing basic spatial utility modeling.


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