This is a course on the history and politics of nuclear crises and nuclear proliferation. Why were nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? What is the effect of nuclear weapons on interstate crises? Why do states acquire nuclear weapons? Students will gain a better understanding of the role of nuclear weapons in international relations, the history of the Cold War, and new challenges in nuclear politics. Some of the references use game theory or statistics, but no prior knowledge of such methodologies is required.
This course provides an introduction to game theory and its applications to international relations. Game theory is a set of mathematical tools used to understand strategic decision-making, where one person’s best course of action depends on the behavior of others. The course provides an introduction to the “science” and the “art” of game theory, discussing how to solve games and how to create them to represent strategic situations and shed new light on political events. Applications are taken from international relations, with a review of the First World War, the Second World War, and the Nuclear Age. The mathematical content can be challenging. We recommend students to have taken introductory microeconomics prior to taking this course.
This course provides an introduction to noncooperative game theory for graduate students in political science. Game theory is a set of mathematical tools used to understand strategic interactions, where one person’s best course of action depends on the behavior of others. The course provides an introduction to the “science” and the “art” of game theory, discussing how to solve games and how to create them to represent strategic situations and shed new light on political events. Applications are taken from international relations, with a review of the First World War, the Second World War, and tensions in the nuclear age (nuclear crises and nuclear proliferation, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq). Students are assumed to have mathematical knowledge at the level of the Political Science Math Camp.
This course offers a survey of game-theoretic models of international relations for advanced graduate students. Students will learn how to evaluate and present existing models, and how to develop their own research projects. Topics covered include nuclear deterrence theory, war duration, the democratic peace, militarization and war, mediation, and mutual optimism. A pre-requisite for the course is PLSC 518. Introduction to Game Theory or the equivalent.
International Relations II is an introduction to advanced topics international relations, especially international security, with an eclectic array of methodological approaches, such as formal modeling, statistical methods, and historical case studies. The course reviews seminal work on the causes of war, including topics such as trade and war and the democratic peace, and recent work on the causes of nuclear proliferation.
How do political institutions affect economic outcomes? How do economic conditions determine political institutions? This course reviews recent advances in the emerging field of the political economy of institutions and development, with a focus on formal modeling and quantitative studies. We start with an introduction to the importance of institutions in affecting economic performance. Second, we review some basic models of democratic politics, focusing on the impact of economic conditions (such as inequality) on political outcomes. Third, we cover economic theories of democratization, for example studying the effect of income and inequality on institutional change. Fourth, we study basic models of dictatorships, looking at the effect of non-democratic institutions on growth and international conflict. Finally, we take a critical look at the role of institutions and consider the possibility of policy persistence despite institutional change.
What is the proper role of the government in the economy? What are the optimal policies to reduce economic fluctuations and to ensure long-term economic development? We review great theories on the fundamental causes of recessions and growth, learning about the life and times of their authors and drawing lessons for current-day policy-making. We read social scientists such as Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and John Maynard Keynes. We consider historical cases such as Western industrialization, the Great Depression, the Asian miracle of the post-War period, and the current Great Recession.
We study the relationship between domestic political institutions and war-proneness, looking at the question of the democratic peace, diversionary use of force, etc. Basic knowledge of game theory is required. Each lecture is centered around a couple of research articles or books/book chapters. With this course, students should become acquainted with the core theories and sets of facts on the relationship between domestic politics and international conflict. They will develop their skill in analyzing pieces of research in international relations, especially in a game-theoretic framework.