Insegnamento a.a. 2003-2004



Department of Economics

Go to class group/s: 17
DIEM (6 credits - II sem. - CC)
Course Head:

Classes: 17

Introduction to the course:

The course is designed to provide the participants with an introduction to the modern political economics. The aim is to explain the determination of economic policy in modern democracies and to analyze how these policies may differ according to the different political institutions in place.
The first part of the course will provide a general introduction to comparative political analysis. In particular, it will focus on themes such as models of democracy, welfare state politics, differences among political institutions, political parties and interest groups in contemporary democratic regimes. The second part provides a comparative analysis of the welfare states across industrialized countries. Special emphasis is posed on the pension systems and the labor market institutions. We then address how these differences in economic policies may arise from political institutions, in particular electoral rules and regime types. The last part will touch upon relevant current issues such as the process of European integration and the size of the nations.

Course Content :

The following topics will be covered:

  • Models of democracy: the Westminster model vs. the Consensus model of democracy.
  • Welfare state politics: the notion of welfare state regimes, the different models of welfare state, types of social policies and peculiarities of social policy decision-making.
  • The impact of political institutions on decision-making, with particular focus on the role of party systems, executive-legislative relations, electoral systems, interest groups and division of power.
  • Tools of political economics: voting models.
  • Welfare state and redistributive policies: general transfers, pension system, labor market regulations and unemployment benefits.  Data, facts and theory.
  • Electoral rules and electoral competition: single-district proportional elections, multiple-district majoritarian elections. Broad versus targeted redistribution.
  • Political regimes: Presidential-Congressional and Parliamentary regimes.
  • European integration and the optimal size of the nation.


  • A. LIJPHART, Patterns of democracy, New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1999
  • T. PERSSON, G. TABELLINI, Political Economics: Explaining Economic Policy, MIT Press, 2000

For further and continuously updated information consult the IEP web site or contact S.I.D.  Servizio Informazione Didattica - Via Gobbi, 5 - 3rd floor.


Written examination.
Students have two options. They may take the exam in two written parts: a mid-term exam and a final exam which will cover the first half and the second half of the course respectively. In this case the exam will be considered as passed only if both tests are sufficient. Alternatively, they may take a general examcovering the entire course material.