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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Anthony J Gill
POL S 544
Seattle Campus

Problems in Comparative Government

Selected problems in the comparative analysis of political institutions, organizations, and systems.

Class description

Pol S 544 "Readings in Comparative Political Economy" with Anthony Gill (Fall 2013) will be an action-packed adventure in studying the basic questions of political economy from some unconventional perspectives. We focus on several central issues that occupy the minds of all social scientists to one degree or another: How do we allocate social surplus (i.e., "stuff and junk") across the society? How are the foundational rules that govern large populations determined and who gets to make those rules? Why do some societies prosper at a faster rate than others? Students from all disciplines, not just political science, are invited to join in this fun-filled seminar.

We dip into writings from anthropologists, economists, sociologists, political scientists, and the occasional independent scholars as we take these questions back to the dawn of polities several thousand years ago to examine whether there are continuities or changes throughout history. Readings include: Earle, How Chiefs Come to Power; Bernstein, Masters of the Word; Allen, The Institutional Revolution; McCloskey, The Bourgeois Virtues; Brauer & van Tuyll, Castles, Battles, and Bombs; Kuran, The Long Divergence; Barzel, Economic Analysis of Property Rights; and several more!

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Seminar discussion led by students.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Two take-home "comprhensive exam simulations" and class participation.

Grades: 2 Exams 60 % Class participation 40 % Total: 100 %


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Anthony J Gill
Date: 09/18/2013