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Fall 2019 Political Science UN3220 section 001

Call Number 99769
Day & Time
MW 10:10am-11:25am
603 Hamilton Hall
Points 3
Grading Mode Standard
Approvals Required Department
Instructor Jeffrey R Lax
Method of Instruction Classroom
Course Description Much of politics is about combining individual preferences or actions into collective choices. We will make use of two theoretical approaches. Our primary approach will be social choice theory, which studies how we aggregate what individuals want into what the collective “wants.” The second approach, game theory, covers how we aggregate what individuals want into what the group gets, given that social, economic, and political outcomes usually depend on the interaction of individual choices. The aggregation of preferences or choices is usually governed by some set of institutional rules, formal or informal. Our main themes include the rationality of individual and group preferences, the underpinnings and implications of using majority rule, tradeoffs between aggregation methods, the fairness of group choice, the effects of institutional constraints on choice (e.g., agenda control), and the implications for democratic choice. Most of the course material is highly abstract, but these abstract issues turn up in many real-world problems, from bargaining between the branches of government to campus elections to judicial decisions on multi-member courts to the allocation of relief funds among victims of natural disasters to the scoring of Olympic events. The collective choice problem is one faced by society as a whole and by the smallest group alike.
Web Site Vergil
Department Political Science
Enrollment 30 students (38 max) as of 1:03PM Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Subject Political Science
Number UN3220
Section 001
Division Interfaculty
Open To Barnard College, Columbia College, Engineering:Undergraduate, Global Programs, General Studies, Professional Studies
Campus Morningside
Section key 20193POLS3220W001

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