Rational Choice in Empirical Political Science

Time:

14 - 18 Jan 2019

Place:

UiO, Department of Political Science

Organizer:

Credits:

10 ECTS

Contact:

Lecturers:

Professor ​Scott Gates, UiO

This course aims to enable students to use a game-theoretic model or other rational choice framework in their own research.

For further information on curriculum and registration, please visit the course page of the Dept. of Political Science, UiO.

Application deadline: 14 December 2018. 

Course Description:

In all parts of political science, scholars often use a game-theoretic model or some other rational choice framework to analyze their research questions and to develop empirically testable hypotheses about politics and policy making. Examples of political science topics being analyzed with this analytical tool include aspects of international cooperation, international and domestic conflict, democracy, institutional design (at all levels), voting, bureaucratic politics and more. This course aims to enable students to use a game-theoretic model or other rational choice framework in their own research.

The course consists of five main parts. The first part introduces the students to the relationship between institutions, rational choice theory, and political science in general. The second part deals with the construction, solving and evaluation of formal models. The third part explains how models can be confronted with empirical evidence in the form of case studies. The fourth part studies how formal models can be confronted with experimental evidence. Finally, the fifth part similarly explains how models can be confronted with empirical evidence in the form of large-n statistical analysis.


Learning outcome

Knowledge

Students will acquire knowledge about:

  • The use of rational choice theory in political science

  • Rational choice institutionalism as a methodology

  • How to construct and evaluate models

  • Various methods for solving models, including backward induction, forward induction, elimination of weakly dominated strategies, and equilibrium selection

  • How to use case studies to empirically assess various types of game-theoretic models, including static games, sequential games, and repeated games

  • How to conduct statistical evaluation of game-theoretic models

Skills

Students will be able to:

  • Critically read and evaluate rational choice based literature in political science

  • Construct and analyze their own models

  • Apply case studies to confront models with evidence

  • Apply various statistical tools and techniques to confront models with evidence.

Competences

Students will:

  • Enhance their competence in analyzing complex questions thoroughly, critically, and independently

  • Enhance their competence concerning the relationship between theoretical models and empirical evidence