The online version of the Caltech Catalog is provided as a convenience; however, the printed version is the only authoritative source of information about course offerings, option requirements, graduation requirements, and other important topics.
PS 12. Introduction to Political Science. 9 units (3-0-6); first, third terms. Introduction to the tools and concepts of analytical political science. Subject matter is primarily American political processes and institutions. Topics: spatial models of voting, redistributive voting, games, presidential campaign strategy, Congress, congressional-bureaucratic relations, and coverage of political issues by the mass media. Instructors: Ordeshook, Kiewiet.
PS 99 ab. Political Science Research Seminar. 9 units (3-0-6). Prerequisites: political science major; completion of a required PS course for major. Development and presentation of a major research paper on a topic of interest in political science or political economy. The project will be one that the student has initiated in a political science course he or she has already taken from the PS courses required for the PS option, numbered above 101. This course will be devoted to understanding research in political science, and basic political science methodology. Students will be exposed to current research journals, work to understand a research literature of interest, and work to formulate a research project. Fulfills the Institute scientific writing requirement.
PS 101. Selected Topics in Political Science. Units to be determined by arrangement with the instructor; offered by announcement. Instructor: Staff.
PS 120. American Electoral Behavior and Party Strategy. 9 units (3-0-6); third term. A consideration of existing literature on the voting behavior of the citizen, and an examination of theoretical and empirical views of the strategies followed by the parties. Two substantial papers are expected of students. Instructor: Alvarez.
PS 121. Congressional Policy Formation and Legislative Process. 9 units (3-0-6). Decision making in legislative bodies, with emphasis on the United States Congress. An investigation into the impact of congressional structure and practices on the policies adopted by the federal government. Not offered 2012–13.
PS 122. Political Representation. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. Prerequisite: PS 12. Theory, practice, and consequence of political representation in the electoral context. Topics include the concept of representation; how the degree of representation of various groups and interests (such as ethnic and racial) is affected by different electoral rules; and the impact of representation of minorities on public policies. The primary focus is on the empirical literature pertaining to the United States, but examples from other countries are also examined for comparative purposes. Not offered 2012–13.
PS 123. Regulation and Politics. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. Prerequisite: PS 12. This course will examine the historical origins of several regulatory agencies and trace their development over the past century or so. It will also investigate a number of current issues in regulatory politics, including the great discrepancies that exist in the cost- effectiveness of different regulations, and the advent of more market-based approaches to regulations instead of traditional “command- and-control.” Not offered on a pass/fail basis. Instructor: Kiewiet.
PS 124. Political Economy. 9 units (3-0-6); third term. The aim of this course is to introduce students to theoretical and applied research in political economy. The focus will be on formal analysis of the strategic interaction between rational individuals, political institutions, and economic outcomes. Some of the questions will be: Why do people vote? What are the incentives of elected politicians, and what is the effect of these incentives on the policies they will implement? To what extent do differences in political institutions account for differences in redistributive policies? Topics may include the theory of voting, models of direct democracy, models of electoral competition, the political economy of redistribution, and comparative political institutions. Not offered 2012–13.
BEM/PS 126. Business and Public Policy. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see Business Economics and Management.
An/PS 127. Corruption. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see Anthropology.
PS 130. Introduction to Social Science Surveys: Methods and Practice. 9 units (3-0-6); third term. In this course, students will learn the basic methodologies behind social science survey analysis: self-completion and interview-assisted surveying, sampling theory, questionnaire design, theories of survey response, and the basic analysis and presentation of survey results will be covered, as well as contemporary research in survey methodology and public opinion analysis. Students will be involved in the active collection and analysis of survey data and the presentation of survey results; students will be required to complete an independent project involving some aspect of survey methodology. Not offered 2012–13.
PS 132. Formal Theories in Political Science. 9 units (3-0-6); first term. Prerequisite: PS 12 or equivalent. Axiomatic structure and behavioral interpretations of game theoretic and social choice models and models of political processes based on them. Instructor: Agranov.
PS 135. Analyzing Legislative Elections. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. The purpose of this course is to understand legislative elections. The course will study, for example, what role money plays in elections and why incumbents do better at the polls. It will also examine how electoral rules impact the behavior both of candidates and voters, and will explore some of the consequences of legislative elections, such as divided government. Not offered 2012–13.
PS/SS 139. Comparative Politics. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. Prerequisite: PS 12 or SS 13. The politics of non-American political systems with an emphasis on their electoral systems and methodologies for assessing their compliance with democratic standards. Students will be expected to develop data sets appropriate to analyzing elections in individual countries and offering an assessment of the pervasiveness of fraud in those elections. The student’s grade will be determined by a final written report reporting the methodology and results of their analysis. Instructor: Ordeshook.
PS 141. A History of Budgetary Politics in the United States. 9 units (3-0-6); third term. This class will examine budgetary conflict at key junctures in U.S. history. Topics include the struggle to establish a viable fiscal system in the early days of the Republic, the ante bellum tariff, the “pension politics” of the post–Civil War era, the growth of the American welfare state, and the battle over tax and entitlement reform in the 1980s and 1990s. Not offered 2012–2013.
Law/PS/H 148 ab. The Supreme Court in U.S. History. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see Law.
Ec/PS 160 abc. Laboratory Experiments in the Social Sciences. 9 units (3-3-3). For course description, see Economics.
PS/Ec 172. Game Theory. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. Prerequisites: Ec 11 or PS 12 This course is an introduction to non-cooperative game theory, with applications to political science and economics. It covers the theories of normal-form games and extensive-form games, and introduces solutions concepts that are relevant for situations of complete and incomplete information. The basic theory of repeated games is introduced. Applications are to auction theory and asymmetric information in trading models, cheap talk and voting rules in congress, among many others. Instructor: Ortoleva.
PS/Ec 173. Cooperation and Social Behavior. 9 units (3-0-6). Prerequisite: PS/Ec 172 or instructor’s permission. Game theoretic and evolutionary approaches to modeling various types of cooperative, altruistic, and social behavior. Emphasis on economic and political applications. Not offered 2012–13.