3 August 2012
Elections and Democracy
This course is an exploration of theoretical, empirical and some normative issues related to elections as a macro-phenomenon. In spite of considerable disagreement among scholars regarding what democracy is, everyone agrees that elections are necessary for it to exist. At the same time, elections are a central part in the vast majority of arguments about democracy – whether they are arguments about its causes or about its consequences. It is the fact of an election that will, under certain conditions, set in motion a process that may ultimately threaten the existence of a democratic regime. It is the competition implied in elections, on the other hand, that generates incentives for actors to behave in specific ways and produce outcomes that are of great importance to society. The goal of this course, therefore, is to bring together different theories that place the holding of elections (and not necessarily competitive ones only), at their very center. Each lecture will focus on a different angle of elections (why they happen, how they happen and some of the consequences they may have), covering large and varied literatures that do not necessarily go together.rnrnWe will start with an examination of the relationship between elections and democracy (can democracy in any way be defined by elections? Why do dictatorships hold elections?). We will then proceed to examine a series of topics in which elections figure as the main causal mechanism in the generation of an outcome of interest. These include the very process of democratization, the emergence and consolidation of political parties, resource allocation across groups of voters and/or geographic units, citizen control of the government, and so on. The overall goal of the examination of this varied set of topics is to allow students to assess the nature and quality of answers to some specific questions pertaining to elections and, in the process, to generate interesting and viable research topics.
Professor José Antonio Cheibub
PhD students, postgraduate students
To provide PhD research training at the highest level.
NOK 3200: The tuition fee cover parts of the reading material, lunch every course day, as well as some social arrangements.