POL S 474 A: Government and the Economy

Meeting Time: 
TTh 10:30am - 12:20pm
* *
Caitlin Ainsley

Syllabus Description:

This course explores the politics of economic policy. The making and implementation of economic policy is fundamentally political. Elected leaders and bureaucrats who create and enforce laws face political constraints and incentives that guide their decisions. An optimal, perfectly designed policy to regulate some economic interaction that would either never pass or is impossible to enforce is not optimal. In practice, it fails to solve any problems. To have productive conversations and debates about the economy and economic policy which guides it, we must understand and take into consideration the role of political institutions and the constraints imposed by the political process underlying economic policy.

In this course, we will focus on several areas of the economy and how governments take actions to regulate economic behavior. Specifically, we will discuss the creation and regulation of currency, the evolution of central banking, management of foreign exchange, and the regulation of trade, labor, and other economic activities.  Students will develop an understanding of the political incentives which underlie policymaking processes and use this background to critically assess contemporary issues related to economic decision-making. For example, what are the implications for the rise of digital currencies and the efficacy of centralized currency management? How have efforts to regulate gig labor and short-term rentals affected the share economy? What are the consequences of automation for productivity and economic growth?



Catalog Description: 
Interaction between politics and the economy. Impact of policy makers on economic performance. Models of partisan and political business cycles. Concepts of economic voting. Marxist theories of modern capitalist economics.
Department Requirements: 
American Politics Field
Political Economy Option
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Last updated: 
January 4, 2021 - 9:06pm