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Formal Political Theory I

Harvard University, 2017 - 2018

Game theory is widely used in political science to analyze strategic interactions in different settings. Each subfield - to a varying degree - has seen game-theoretic concepts enter its vocabulary, and students entering the profession need to grasp the potential and limits of game theory. This course is the first in a two-course sequence in game theory. Students will learn the basic concepts of game-theoretic modeling and how to solve most types of games used in applied work in political science or related disciplines. The main aim is to prepare students to be good “consumers” of game-theoretic work in the substantive areas they work on, with the secondary goal of preparing them to think about writing their own models. In particular, students will leave the course with a working knowledge of games of complete information, to the point where they can write down a (simple) model, solve it, and state some of the model’s empirical implications. Students will also have an introductory knowledge of games of incomplete information.

Empirical Research Methods

Bocconi University, 2014 - 2015

The course will introduce students to the main tools used for data analysis and applied empirical research, focusing in particular on the estimation of causal relationships. The methods covered will allow students to address questions that are relevant from a social, economic, and political perspective: Which are the economic returns of one additional year of schooling? Do longer prison sentences deter crimes? Do better paid politicians perform better? Does health insurance make people healthier? What’s the economic impact of immigration flows? These are just examples of the type of questions that will motivate the use of empirical methods. At the end of the course, students should be able to go through the multiple stages of empirical research: searching for interesting questions, devising an appropriate research design, collecting the data, and implementing the analysis. Throughout the course, the craft of empirical design will be discussed both during class lectures and during computer lab sessions, where sample datasets will be analyzed with the use of the statistical software Stata.

Political Economics

Bocconi University, 2014 - 2015

How do politics and institutions affect the economy? The course is designed to provide students with an introduction to contemporary political economics. The aim is to understand the main features of contemporary democracies, to explain how economic policies are determined, and to analyze how these policies may differ according to the underlying political institutions. The course analyzes how political and electoral incentives may influence economic policies, and focuses on how these differences in economic policies may arise from political institutions, such as electoral rules and regime types. A particular emphasis is devoted to the selection of politicians.

Econometrics II

Bocconi University, 2014 - 2015

The course will cover the following topics:
1. The Quest for Causality in Econometrics
2. Can We Trust the CIA (Conditional Independence Assumption)?
3. Hidden‐Bias Sensitivity Analysis
4. Instrumental Variables: LATE vs. Structural Interpretations
5. Experimental and Quasi‐Experimental Designs for Causal Inference

Reading Group Empirical Political Economics

Bocconi University, 2013 - 2014

The aim of the reading group (RG) is to explore some specific topics in empirical economics, with a particular references to recent contributions in the fields of political economics and development economics. The recent "credibility revolution" in empirical economics and the associated quest for the identification of causal effects (see Angrist and Pischke, 2010) has favored a shift from cross‐country to within‐country studies also in political economics and development economics. As a result, the gain in internal validity has come at the price of reducing external validity. The RG will review some of the main contributions and discuss the following questions. How consistent between each other are the findings accruing from different institutional environments and (often local) identification strategies? What insights from the theoretical literature have been unveiled so far? How credible are the identifying assumptions used by different approaches?

Topics in Political Economy

Università della Svizzera Italiana, 2011 - 2012

The goal of the course is to discuss current topics in political economics, both from a theoretical and from an empirical perspective. This means to study the formation of economic policy from a positive, rather than a normative, point of view. Thus, we will address questions such as: What are the political and institutional determinants of fiscal and economic policy in modern democracies? Which features of political institutions are more likely to foster economic development? Why are seemingly inefficient public policies preserved over time, and what can be done to overcome opposition to reform? Is the quality of politicians relevant for economic outcomes, and - if yes - how can we improve political selection? What institutional, monetary and social factors influence the behavior of elected officials? How do voters respond to information provided by the media and by political candidates? We will also discuss issues related to the role of institutions and culture in affecting policy making.

European Human Resources

Bocconi University, 2008 - 2009

This course aims at providing the basic analytical tools needed to understand the role of different institutions in shaping the labor market. We will study both the goals and effects of different labor market institutions such as the regulation of permanent and temporary employ- ment, the minimum wage, or welfare benefits. A particular emphasis will be devoted to the political economy approach: in other words, the analysis will focus on the winners and losers of different institutions and reforms, in order to understand their political support and feasibility. The theoretical discussion will be complemented by the institutional and statistical analysis of the European and U.S. labor markets.

Current Political Phenomena

Università Bocconi, 2018 - 2019

The course aims at discussing current political phenomena in a workshop setting. Students are divided in groups and encouraged to critically present the assigned materials after a general lecture from the instructor.

The course deals with current political phenomena from an interdisciplinary perspective, with a blend of theoretical and empirical discussion. The covered topics include:

- Political polarization in the US
- The economic and cultural determinants of populist movements
- The "trust" crisis of the European Union
- Political selection in representative democracies
- Going negative in political campaigns