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EC228: Collective Decisions

  • Kirill Pogorelskiy

    Module Leader
15 CATS - Department of Economics
Autumn Module

Principal Aims

This module develops mathematical models to study collective decision making and analyse the rational behaviour of voters, politicians, and government officials from the perspective of economic theory. Students are introduced to the theory of social choice, studying various ways of aggregating individual preferences into a coherent collective decision, and the fundamental trade-offs any democratic voting mechanism faces. Next, students study game-theoretic models of political competition in elections. The module moves on to look at how a group can aggregate information better (or worse) than each of its members and the problems of coordination and free-riding in competing groups of political agents. Overall, this module provides the formal basis for positive and normative analysis of many democratic institutions.

Principal Learning Outcomes

Cognitive skills: Demonstrate capacity of: Analytical thinking, reasoning and application. Applying critical analysis to the topics of the module, formulating concepts and hypotheses, and showing how they are tested in relevant literature. The teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, seminars and background reading. The summative assessment methods that measure the achievement of this learning outcome are: Final Examination.

Subject Knowledge and Understanding : Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of: (iii) Public choice: the decision-making behaviour of voters, politicians and government officials from the perspective of economic theory. The teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, seminars and background reading. The summative assessment methods that measure the achievement of this learning outcome are: Final Examination.

Cognitive skills: Demonstrate capacity of: Abstraction and Problem solving. Applying critical analysis to the topics of the module, formulating concepts and hypotheses, and showing how they are tested in relevant literature The teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, seminars and background reading The summative assessment methods that measure the achievement of this learning outcome are: Final Examination.

Cognitive skills: Demonstrate capacity of: Critical, creative and strategic thinking. Applying critical analysis to the topics of the module, formulating concepts and hypotheses, and showing how they are tested in relevant literature. The teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, seminars and background reading . The summative assessment methods that measure the achievement of this learning outcome are: Final Examination.

Key Skills: Demonstrate proficiency in study and research skills such as: (iii) reviewing the relevant literature and evidence. The teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, seminars and background reading. The summative assessment methods that measure the achievement of this learning outcome are: Final Examination.

Key Skills: Demonstrate proficiency in study and research skills such as: communicating their knowledge and understanding to others, verbally and in writing The teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, seminars and background reading. The summative assessment methods that measure the achievement of this learning outcome are: Final Examination.

Key Skills: Demonstrate proficiency in study and research skills such as: data skills: Use of library and internet as information sources. Knowledge of how to locate relevant data, extract appropriate data, analysis and present material. The teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, seminars and background reading . The summative assessment methods that measure the achievement of this learning outcome are: Final Examination.

Key Skills: Demonstrate proficiency in study and research skills such as: mathematical/statistical skills: use/application of mathematics and diagrams in economic analysis; understanding of statistical analysis of data. Use of spreadsheet and statistics packages such as STATA and SPSS. The teaching and learning methods that enable students to achieve this learning outcome are: Lectures, seminars and background reading. The summative assessment methods that measure the achievement of this learning outcome are: Final Examination.

Syllabus

The module will typically cover some of the following topics: Voting as preference aggregation; the social choice approach. Voting rules: unanimity, simple majority. Problems of majority voting: cycling, Arrow’s impossibility theorem. Restrictions on preference profiles. The single crossing property. Gibbard-Satterthwaite Theorem, strategy-proofness. Voting with more than two alternatives: majoritarian methods, Condorcet extensions, and positional methods. The spatial model of elections. Majority rule core, global cycling, McKelvey’s chaos theorem. Game theoretic approaches; two party competition, median voter theorem. Agenda manipulation. Public choice in a representative democracy; voting over redistribution. Bargaining in legislatures. Public goods and collective action; paradox of voting. Voting with incomplete information; Condorcet Jury theorem.

Context

Optional Module
GL11 - Year 3, GL12 - Year 4, L100 - Year 2, L1P5 - Year 1, L1PA - Year 1, LM1D (LLD2) - Year 2, V7ML - Year 2, V7ML - Year 3, V7MP - Year 2, V7MP - Year 3, V7MR - Year 2, V7MR - Year 3, V7MM - Year 4, LA99 - Year 2, LA99 - Year 3, R9L1 - Year 4, R3L4 - Year 4, R4L1 - Year 4, R2L4 - Year 4, R1L4 - Year 4
Pre or Co-requisites
Any of: EC106-24 Introduction to Economics OR EC107-30 Economics 1 OR EC109-30 Microeconomics 1 OR EC131-15 Economics for Business OR EC121-12 Mathematical Techniques A OR EC123-12 Mathematical Techniques B
Part-year Availability for Visiting Students
Available in the Autumn term (1 x test – 12 CATS)

Assessment

Assessment Method
2 hour examination (Summer) (100%)
Coursework Details
2 hour examination (Summer) (100%)
Exam Timing
Summer

Exam Rubric

Time Allowed: 2 Hours

Read all instructions carefully- and read through the entire paper at least once before you start entering your answers.

There are TWO Sections in this paper. Answer ONE question in Section A (40 marks) and ONE question in Section B (60 marks).

Approved pocket calculators are allowed.

You should not submit answers to more than the required number of questions. If you do, we will mark the questions in the order that they appear, up to the required number of questions in each section.

Previous exam papers can be found in the University’s past papers archive. Please note that previous exam papers may not have operated under the same exam rubric or assessment weightings as those for the current academic year. The content of past papers may also be different.

Reading Lists