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Introduction. Political Science 1. Academic discipline dealing with the theory and practice of politics and the description of political systems and political.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction. Political Science 1. Academic discipline dealing with the theory and practice of politics and the description of political systems and political."— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction

2 Political Science 1. Academic discipline dealing with the theory and practice of politics and the description of political systems and political behavior. 2. Political Science is a social science concerned with explaining human behavior in regard to politics.

3 What is Politics? The authoritative allocation of resources Politics usually describes the processes by which people and institutions exercise and resist power. Political processes are used to formulate policies, influence individuals and institutions, and organize societies. The management of CONFLICT

4 Political Science Distinguished The emphasis upon government and power distinguishes political science from other social sciences. Although political scientists share an interest with economists in studying relations between the government and economy. As well as with sociologists in considering relations between social structures in general and political structures in particular. Political scientists attempt to explain and understand recurrent patterns in politics rather than specific political events.

5 Political Science - Fields Political science is organized into five major fields, each representing a major subject area of teaching and research in colleges and universities. These fields include: comparative politics American politics international relations political theory public administration / public policy

6 Comparative Politics Comparative politics involves study of the politics of different countries. Some political scientists, known as area specialists, study a single country or a culturally similar group of nations, such as the countries of Southeast Asia. Other political scientists compare culturally dissimilar nations, and investigate the similarities and differences in the politics of these nations. Some question often considered: why are some countries democratic and others not? To what extent and how does democritization occur?

7 International Relations International relations is the study of the international system, which involves interactions between nations, international organizations, and multinational corporations. International Relations experts often analyze the international system in terms of the balance of power between nations and the threat of war while others examine the problem solving capacity of international organizations. Key questions considered: Why do nations go to war? Why do wars occur? How do different political regimes affect international conflict?

8 Political Theory Political theory involves the study of philosophical thought about politics from ancient Greece to the present; the interpretation and development of concepts such as freedom, democracy, human rights, justice, and power; the development of models for government, such as participatory democracy or constitutional systems; and the logic that political scientists use in their inquiries. Political Theory is the only sub-field that consistently and primarily concerns itself with normative questions. What is the good society?

9 Public Policy / Public Admin Political scientists interested in public administration study government organizations and their relation to other parts of government. Political scientists investigate how these organizations work, and try to devise methods of improving them Public Policy is more concerned with theoretical and empirical investigations, while Public Administration is more concerned with the practical applications of administrative tools.

10 American Politics American Politics: the study of the American political institutions and processes, as well as the behavior of American citizens. Political scientists interested in American politics often study the Congress of the United States, judicial politics, constitutional law, the presidency, state and local politics, voting and elections, and American political history. Key Questions: Why do citizens vote? What role does Congress have in determining public policy?

11 State & Local Politics American Politics – subject area Comparative Politics – comparative method States = natural laboratory Teasing Out cause & effect

12 Collective Action The theory of collective action is concerned with the provision of public goods through the collaboration of two or more individuals, and the impact of externalities on group behavior. The foundational work in collective action was Mancur Olson's 1965 book The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups.

13 Public Goods A public good is a good that is hard or even impossible to produce for private profit, because the market fails to account for its large beneficial externalities Non-rivalrous — its benefits fail to exhibit consumption scarcity; once it has been produced, everyone can benefit from it without diminishing other's enjoyment. Non-excludable — once it has been created, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to prevent access to the good.

14 Transaction Costs There are costs associated with any activity. In economics and related disciplines (i.e. political science), a transaction cost is a cost incurred in making an economic exchange. Consider buying a banana from a store--to purchase the banana, your costs will be not only the price of the banana itself, but also: the energy and effort it requires to find out which of the various banana products you prefer, where to get them and at what price, the cost of traveling from your house to the store and back, the time waiting in line, and the effort of the paying itself; the costs above and beyond the cost of the banana are the transaction costs.

15 Conformity Costs Conformity Costs are specific to collective action problems. These costs occur when the collective decision differs from that of an individuals ideal preference. When this happens, that individual has incurred a conformity cost. Consider a decision of 4 friends who are going out to dinner. Mark, Mary, Frank, and Janie are going out. Mark & Mary most prefers to go to pizza, where as the other two want to go to Chinese. If Mark & Mary agree to go to Chinese, they have suffered conformity costs: they will not get to eat their most preferred food at the restaurant that has been chosen.

16 Costs & Collective Action These concepts are essential to understanding collective action decision making in politics. It is important to consider transaction costs when considering the ‘rationality’ of individual decisions about politics (i.e. voting) It is important to consider upon whom conformity costs are placed when a collective decision is made (i.e. where to place a highway) And the provision of public goods is one of the primary functions of governments and other forms of institutions.

17 Game Theory Game theory is a branch of applied mathematics that studies strategic situations where players choose different actions in an attempt to maximize their returns. A game consists of a set of players, a set of moves (or strategies) available to those players, and a specification of payoffs for each combination of strategies. Game theory is particularly useful in assessing and understanding collective action problems.

18 A Coordination Problem Battle of the Sexes Imagine a couple, Kelly and Chris. Kelly would most of all like to go to the football game. Chris would like to go to the opera. Both would prefer to go to the same place rather than different ones. If they cannot communicate where should they go?

19 Battle of the Sexes The game has two Nash Equilibrium A Nash Equilibrium is an optimal collective strategy where no player has anything to gain by unilaterally changing only his or her own strategy Communication is Key OperaFootball Opera 1 2,1 2 0,0 Football 3 -1,-1 4 1,2 Kelly Chris

20 Lessons of the Coordination Problem When individuals are separated, even when they share similar preferences, they have difficulty coming to a common solution. This problem multiples as the number of individuals involved is taken past 2 and onto communities and societies and where communication between parties is difficult or implausible. Institutions provide a solution to this collective action problem by serving as a central agent.

21 Non-Cooperative Problems The Prisoner’s Dilemma Two suspects, A and B, are arrested by the police. The police have insufficient evidence for a conviction, and having separated both prisoners, visit each of them and offer the same deal: if one testifies for the prosecution (turns Queen's Evidence) against the other and the other remains silent, the silent accomplice receives the full 10- year sentence and the betrayer goes free. If both stay silent, the police can only give both prisoners 1 year for a minor charge. If both betray each other, they receive a 5-year sentence each. Each prisoner must make a choice - to betray the other, or to remain silent. Each player tries to maximize her advantage without regard for the other player’s payoffs

22 Prisoner’s Dilemma Is there a Nash Equilibrium? What if they could talk to one another before the interrogation. Would that make a difference? Don’t Rat Rat 1 -1, ,0 Rat 3 0, ,-5 Prisoner A Prisoner B

23 Prisoner’s Dilemma Let's assume the protagonist prisoner is working out his best move. If his partner stays quiet, his best move is to betray as he then walks free instead of receiving the minor sentence. If his partner betrays, his best move is still to betray, as by doing it he receives a relatively lesser sentence than staying silent. At the same time, the other prisoner thinking would also have arrived at the same conclusion and would therefore also betray. The Nash Equilibrium is not “praeto-optimal.” PD games are useful in understanding conflict in politics where the parties do not trust one another.

24 The Free-Rider Problem Free riders are actors who consume more than their fair share of a resource, or shoulder less than a fair share of the costs of its production. Olson pointed to the free rider problem as a significant factor in the difficulty of large group membership. The ‘tragedy of the commons’ is a phrase used to refer to a class of phenomena that involve a conflict for resources between individual interests and the common good and a classic example of the free-rider problem.

25 Tragedy of the Commons The parable demonstrates how unrestricted access to a resource such as a pasture ultimately dooms the resource because of over-exploitation. This occurs because the benefits of exploitation accrue to individuals, while the costs of exploitation are distributed between all those exploiting the resource. The herders are assumed to wish to maximise their yield, and so will increase their herd size whenever possible. The utility of each additional animal has both a positive and negative component: Positive : the herder receives all of the proceeds from each additional animal Negative : the pasture is slightly degraded by each additional animal

26 Tragedy of the Commons Crucially, the division of these components is unequal: the individual herder gains all of the advantage, but the disadvantage is shared between all herders using the pasture. Consequently, for an individual herder weighing up these utilities, the rational course of action is to add an extra animal. And another, and another. overgrazing and degradation of the pasture is its long-term fate. Government can step in to solve PD and TotC problems by mediating between non-trustful parties and setting limits on grazing rights. Thus tragedies that are inevitable outside of an authoritative actor can be avoided.


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