Oslo Summer School Courses

In 2012, the Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science Studies offers (at least) two courses that may be of interest to members of the ECPR Standing Group in Analytical Politics and Public Choice.
Elections and Democracy
Lecturer: Professor José Antonio Cheibub,
Department of Political Science,
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

Main discipline: Political Science
Dates: 30 July – 3 August 2012
Course Credits: 10 pts (ECTS)
Limitation: 25 participants
This course is an exploration of theoretical, empirical and some normative issues related to elections as a macro-phenomenon. In spite of considerable disagreement among scholars regarding what democracy is, everyone agrees that elections are necessary for it to exist. At the same time, elections are a central part in the vast majority of arguments about democracy – whether they are arguments about its causes or about its consequences. It is the fact of an election that will, under certain conditions, set in motion a process that may ultimately threaten the existence of a democratic regime. It is the competition implied in elections, on the other hand, that generates incentives for actors to behave in specific ways and produce outcomes that are of great importance to society. The goal of this course, therefore, is to bring together different theories that place the holding of elections (and not necessarily competitive ones only), at their very center. Each lecture will focus on a different angle of elections (why they happen, how they happen and some of the consequences they may have), covering large and varied literatures that do not necessarily go together.

We will start with an examination of the relationship between elections and democracy (can democracy in any way be defined by elections? Why do dictatorships hold elections?). We will then proceed to examine a series of topics in which elections figure as the main causal mechanism in the generation of an outcome of interest. These include the very process of democratization, the emergence and consolidation of political parties, resource allocation across groups of voters and/or geographic units, citizen control of the government, and so on. The overall goal of the examination of this varied set of topics is to allow students to assess the nature and quality of answers to some specific questions pertaining to elections and, in the process, to generate interesting and viable research topics.

More info: http://www.sv.uio.no/english/research/doctoral-degree/summer-school/cheibub.html

The Political Economy of Institutions
Lecturer: Professor Jonathan A. Rodden,
Department of Political Science,
Stanford University, USA

Main discipline: Political Science
Dates: 30 July – 3 August 2012
Course Credits: 10 pts (ECTS)
Limitation: 25 participants
This course analyzes the paths through which preferences of individuals and groups are transformed into policies in democracies. We begin with a brisk review of theoretical approaches to questions of voting, majority rule, delegation and agency, cooperation, public goods, and the commons. We then analyze some of the key institutions through which preferences are aggregated in modern democracies: electoral systems, parties, parliaments, presidents, and federalism. We then examine the ways in which these institutions can shape incentives and ultimately outcomes. We focus on two broad classes of outcomes. First, why do some democracies redistribute more than others? Second, what accounts for cross-country and time-series variation in the nature of fiscal policy? We will pay special attention to the current crisis in the European Monetary Union.

We will consider a range of arguments asserting a causal role for institutions in shaping outcomes, but also carefully consider the possibility that institutions themselves are endogenous. We will give equal attention to theory and empirical analysis.
More info: http://www.sv.uio.no/english/research/doctoral-degree/summer-school/rodden.html

For more info about the summer school and the full list of courses, see:


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