Insegnamento a.a. 2017-2018



Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 31
CLMG (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - M (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - IM (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - MM (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - AFC (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - CLEFIN-FINANCE (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - CLELI (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - ACME (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - DES-ESS (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - EMIT (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - GIO (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SPS/04)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (II sem.)

Course Objectives

The course presents a broad, in-depth, and up-to-date overview of the results of the scientific study of comparative politics, with special emphasis given to analytical and empirical approaches and positive democratic theory. At the end of the course, students know the most important findings of contemporary comparative political science and the main concepts and debates in democratic theory. Therefore, students are acquainted with the analytical and scientific approach to the study of comparative politics. Students understand that many of the tools and concepts developed by the discipline turn potentially hard-to-untangle issues into tractable problems. In particular, students are exposed to the institutionalist perspective, which could be, somewhat simplistically, summarized with the aphorism the rules of the game affect the outcome. More specifically, the course shows how the outcomes of the political process (e.g., the policies implemented by the party that wins elections) depend on the interaction between social structure (e.g., the distribution of income) and the rules of the game (e.g., electoral system).

Course Content Summary

  • The state.
  • Authoritarian and democratic regimes; regime transitions: coups, democratization.
  • Varieties of autocracies.
  • Elections and electoral systems.
  • Accountability, corruption, clientelism.
  • Political representation: left and right, income redistribution, polarization.
  • Electoral campaigns, lobbies, interest groups.
  • Legislatures, parties, party discipline.
  • Presidents, prime ministers, coalitions.
  • Federalism and decentralization.
  • Non-economic dimensions of conflict in democratic regimes: religion, secularism, and ethnicities.

Detailed Description of Assessment Methods

For attending students:
There are two requirements. The first is a partial in-class exam, covering the first half of the course. The second is a final exam, covering only the second half of the course.
The grade you obtained in the first partial is valid until the exam session in June. For all subsequent exam sessions, you'll have to take the general even if you passed the partial in March.

For non-attending students
(and therefore unable or unwilling to take the partial exam)
The partial and the non-cumulative final exam are replaced by a longer final exam covering the entire course content. Students who have NOT passed the exam yet for the previous year have to prepare the current program.


  • W.R. CLARK, M. GOLDER, S.N. GOLDER, Principles of Comparative Politics, CQ Press, 2013, 2nd edition.
  • Papers and articles (one or two per week / topic) available on electronic platforms at the start of the semester.

Please notice that the main textbook is not a substitute for the assigned papers and articles. This is particularly true for students who decide not to attend the lectures: the Clark, Golder and Golder text is not sufficient to successfully pass the exam. In any case, attendance is strongly recommended.

Exam textbooks & Online Articles (check availability at the Library)
Last change 29/05/2017 11:25