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OEUR 3170 - Democratic Institutions : how to make Democracy work?

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

This course will ask which institutions can make democracy work. Do certain electoral rules better represent the preferences of the citizens than others? Do elections help fight corruption? Can deliberation and voting identify morally correct decisions? Can democratic institutions help reduce the power of special interests? How important are independent media for the functioning of democracy? Are institutions of direct democracy superior to institutions of representative democracy? Do institutions of democracy improve satisfaction with collective decision-making independently of the policies chosen? We will approach these and further questions looking at the theoretical and empirical literature from political science and economics. There is no prerequisite for this course as everything will be developed as needed in class but we will at times use some very simple mathematical models to structure our thinking and students should bring a willingness to engage in such reasoning.


LE BIHAN, Patrick G. (Assistant Professor in Tenure Track)

Pedagogical format

Elective course (24hrs)

Course validation

To validate the course, students are expected to write a response paper (no more than 1500 words) on one of the required readings (20%), to give a short presentation in class (30%) and to write an essay (no more than 4000 words) on the topic of the presentation (40%). Class participation will make up the remaining 10% of the course grade.


A detailed syllabus will be provided during the introductory session. For each topic, there will be some required reading, as well as some optional reading.

Required reading

Besley, Tim, Principled Agents? The Political Economy of Good Government, Oxford University Press, 2006

Additional required reading

Przeworski, Adam., Stokes, Susan C., and Manin, Bernard, Democracy, accountability, and representation, Cambridge University Press, 1999