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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Fall 2004

GOV 370L • Politics and the Economy - W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
37480 TTh
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
BUR 228

Course Description

Contains a substantial writing component and fulfills part of the basic education requirement in writing. Course number may be repeated for credit when topics vary.

This course examines the relationships between economics and politics. Political processes define the rules and boundaries of economic relationships. The impact politics has on economic life forces organized groups to engage in political actions that attempt to influence the political process for their economic advantage. There are some patterns that hold for all societies, democratic or not, economically developed or not, but the variation across societies is large. The course will focus primarily on the relationship between politics and market behavior in democracies. I will discuss topics from several theoretical and practical areas of modern Political Economy, such as: social choice, electoral competition, interest group politics, and the theory of economic regulation. You are not required to formally weave any of these topics for your paper, but class discussion should help you with your project. The required term project will be on an economic interest group OR a governmental regulatory agency of your own choosing. The subjects and ideas that I cover in class are important for your understanding of politics and economics but do not have any direct relevance to your term project. You will be expected to take part in the required class discussion as is outlined in the grading section.

Grading Policy

Each student will be required to write a paper which presents a short case study of the way at least one economic or social organized interest group participates in politics at the national , state, or local levels. You can write about any economic interest group or government regulatory agency in today's politics or in the past. It is also acceptable to write about an economic interest group or regulatory agency of a foreign country. All papers must be typed. The number of pages written must total at least SIXTEEN typed, double-spaced pages. The paper must be developed in three phases called by the College "writing activities". This first phase is a description of the economic interest group or regulatory agency that you are going to write about PLUS a proposal outlining how your will research your project. The proposed research plan must indicate how you will obtain the information you need. You should focus on only ONE of the goals that the organization has. I will read and comment on the papers. They will be ready for you to pick up by the following Monday. We then will discuss each project in class after I return the first phase draft to you with written comments. In class, I will make suggestions and comments based on my knowledge and experience. If you have to make a major revision of the draft then that will be considered as a separate writing activity. The first page should be a title page with the name of your paper, your name, your e-mail address, and the paper's date. The papers should be handed to the Government Department's receptionist on the fifth floor of Burdine Hall. PHASE TWO is a first draft of your paper. I will write comments on the paper and return it to you no later than October 14th. In this draft, you do not have to describe the political opposition to your economic interest group or regulatory agency. We will then discuss the drafts in class so that all students can share knowledge about political interest groups. I will read each paper, make comments on the margin and on the title page, and give your a midterm grade. Each student will be required to make a fifteen minute ORAL PRESENTATION of the student's paper after I return the drafts to the students. I will lead a class discussion of the presentation. My oral comments and response of other students will help the revision of the paper to satisfy Phase 3. The oral presentation must be accompanied by some slides or handouts created by the students from the research used to write the paper. A good oral presentation should be accompanied by well chosen exhibits such as charts, graphs, tables, and pictures that support the arguements made in the presentation. Almost all of my students use websites for whatever exhibits they use in their papers. Many of these websites are biased. A successful oral presentation should include exhibits that appear to be unbiased. Thus, I want each one of the students to go to the library and obtain at least one exhibit from the Financial Times or the Wall Street Journal that pertain to your topic. These two financial newspapers are the best sources of financial and economics news in the English language. Both are not free on the Web so that each student will have to go to the library and search back issues for stories or data that you can use as exhibits unless you happen to have an account with FT or the WSJ. PHASE THREE is a revision of the paper plus a discussion of 1) the most important interest group that is opposed to your economic interest group if you write about an interest group or 2) a discussion of one major political activity of one of the industries that is regulated by the agency that you study if that is your choice. The revision must reflect a serious attempt to deal with all critiques that I write on your drafts.

Weights to Determine Your Final Grade" Phase One 10% Phase Two 35% Oral Presentation 15% Phase Three 35%


Required Book: M. J. Hinich & M. Munger, Analytical Politics (Cambridge University Press) Reccommended Reference: Lowery & Brasher, Organized Interests & American Government (McGraw-Hill)


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