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

Scott Moser

Assistant Professor Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University

Scott Moser

Contact

Biography

My research interests are diverse.  In brief, my main research thrust may be described as ''applied social choice'' (less generally, one could say my main research work is in the areas of legislative institutions and voting theory).  Methodologically, this involves formal analytic methods such as game theory and social choice theory, as well as computational models (specifically agent-based models).  Substantively, I am interested in the origins and consequences of legislative rules and procedures, in particular their self-organized and endogenous nature.

 

Interests

Comparative Legislative Institutions; Social Choice Theory; Institutional Choice; Statistical Inference and Machine Learning

GOV 342N • Public Choice

39165 • Spring 2014
Meets MWF 200pm-300pm MEZ B0.306
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Prerequisites

Some exposure to mathematical reasoning will be helpful. While there are

no formal requirements, student should be comfortable with analytical

reasoning (logic,

basic mathematics, etc.). No sophisticated mathematics will be

involved, but logical,

rigorous thinking will be required.

 

Course Description

This course is about how groups make choices. From friends deciding

on a place for lunch to cities deciding on tax schemes, the essence of

public choice involves groups of individuals selecting a common (ie

collective) alternative (be it restaurant, movie, budget or policy).

At its heart, questions of public choice are central to issues of

governance. This course introduces students to the fundamentals of

collective choice: ``` How are/ should collective decisions be made?’’

``What does it mean for a group to decide `democratically?’’’ ``Does

voting lead to `good’ outcomes?’’

At a broad level, the goal of the course is for students to understand

the possibilities and limitations of voting (and of Democracy more

generally). Along the way, it is important that students learn some

ideas and constructs of contemporary social science that are relevant

to the study of government and politics. More specifically, a

significant part of the course will focus on voting theory – different

ways groups may vote on options. Both the variety of different voting

systems and their strengths and shortcomings will be examined.

 

 

Grading Policy

Students mastery of the material will be assessed via  home works,

participation,  in-class examinations and a final exam. Final marks

will make use of the "plus/minus" grading scheme.

 

Texts

Analyzing Politics (second edition) by Kenneth Shepsle published by W. W. Norton

& Company (2010)

 

Populism Against Liberalism by William Riker published by Waveland Pr Inc

 

Selected sections of Electoral Systems: a Comparative Introduction by

David Farrell

published by Palgrave Macmillan (2001)

 

Additional materials, lecture notes, and articles will be posted on Blackboard

GOV 350K • Statistical Anly In Polit Sci

39190 • Spring 2014
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm CLA 0.104
show description

Prerequisites

none

 

Course Description

This course introduces basic concepts and methods of statistical

inference, with a strong focus on political science. This course lays

the groundwork for answering \What can we learn about political

systems and political processes from the world?

The objective of this course is to help students acquire the literacy

for understanding social science research based on quantitative data

and reasoning, as well as to prepare interested students for more

advanced methods courses. By the end of the course I hope students

will (1) be good consumers of data (whether data comes from

newspapers, journal articles, debates or the popular press) and (2) be

prepared for more advanced training, should they so desire.

 

Grading Policy

Students mastery of the material will be assessed via  home works, lab

assignments,  in-class examinations and a final exam. Final marks will

make use of the "plus/minus" grading scheme.

 

Texts

The Fundamentals of Political Science Research by Paul Kellstedt and

Guy Whitten Cambridge

University Press (ISBN:9780521697880)

 

A Stata Companion to Political Analysis [required] by Philip H Pollock

III, CQ Press College (ISBN-10: 1608716716) Note: This is a workbook.

Check carefully any second-hand copy for all pages.

 

Statistics Without Tears [optional, but recommended] by Derek Rowtree.

Penguin (ISBN-10: 0140136320)

 

Flag: Quantitative reasoning.

GOV 342N • Public Choice

39185 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm PAR 1
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Prerequisites

Some exposure to mathematical reasoning will be helpful, at the level of an introductory microeconomics course.  While there are no formal requirements, student should be comfortable with analytical reasoning (logic, basic mathematics, etc.). No sophisticated mathematics will be involved, but logical, rigorous thinking will be necessary.  

Course Description

This course focuses on the role that political institutions play in political outcomes. Topics include: public goods and externalities, formation and behavior of groups, elementary game theory, operation of collective choice mechanisms via electoral systems (voting such as majority rule, plurality, quota systems, etc.) and principal agent problems. The topics covered illustrate that “the rules of the game” – the political institutions used – influence critically group outcomes and policies.The essence of public choice involves groups of individuals selecting a common (ie collective) alternative (be it restaurant, movie, budget or policy). Hence, this course introduces students to the fundamentals of collective choice: ``` How are/ should group decisions be made?’’ ``What does it mean for a group to decide `democratically?’’’ ``Does voting lead to `good’ outcomes?’’Grading Policy

Usual plus/minus grading based on home works, exams, participation and final.

 

Texts

Analyzing Politics (second edition) by Kenneth Shepsle published by W. W. Norton& Company (2010)Selected chapters of Rational Choice by Andrew Hindmoor. Palgrage Macmillain (2006) Selected sections of Electoral Systems: a Comparative Introduction by David Farrellpublished by Palgrave Macmillan (2001)

GOV 342N • Public Choice

38845 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm WAG 214
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See syllabus

GOV 385R • Formal Political Analysis II

38940 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm BAT 1.104
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Prerequisites

A familiarity with non-cooperative game theory including utility theory and Nash eq.  Students should have taken GOV 385N Intro To Formal Pol Analysis or equivalent.

 

Course Description

Formal theory has a lot to offer scholars of the social sciences: from students of electoral processes, to party behavior, to comparative constitutional design, formal analytical methods can help identify and explore both causes and effects of oft studied social phenomena (thought this sentiment is admittedly biased).  Further, game-theoretic language and approaches have recently entered each of the disciplines sub-fields, to differing degrees, and it behooves many modern social scientists to be versed in such methods.

GOV 385R will provide methodological exposure and training to a variety of topics, including signaling, repeated games (with an emphasis on Markov Perfect equilibrium), evolutionary approaches to game theory, mechanism design, and some basic social choice, if there is time. A central goal of the course will be to integrate applications (both in the literature and potential) of the methods covered, and as such will depend somewhat on the interests of those enrolled.

 

Grading Policy  

Grades will be based on participation, problem sets, exams and a term paper (roughly in equal proportion).

 

Text

Political Game Theory: An Introduction by Nolan McCarty and Adam Meirowitz (PUP) 

GOV 391J • Statistical Anly In Pol Sci I

38980 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm BAT 5.102
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Prerequisites

None

 

Course Description

This is the first course in the graduate sequence in  quantitative empirical analysis in the Government department.

 

Grading Policy 

Grades will be based on problem sets and examinations.

 

Texts

Statistical Methods for the Social Sciences by Agresti and Finlay

Selected readings from other sources. 

GOV F350K • Statistical Anly In Polit Sci

85305 • Summer 2012
Meets MTWTHF 1000am-1130am PHR 2.114
show description

Prerequisites

None

 

Course Description

This course introduces basic concepts and methods of statistical inference, with a strong focus on political science. This course lays the groundwork for answering ``What can we learn about political systems and political processes from the world?''   The main activities of the class include lectures, readings and problem sets (which will include use of statistical software such as STATA). The objective of this course is to help students acquire the literacy for understanding social science research based on quantitative data and reasoning, as well as to prepare interested students for more advanced methods courses.

 

Grading Policy

Students' mastery of the material will be assessed via four (4) homeworks, three (3) lab assignments,  two (2) in-class examinations and a final exam.  Final marks will make use of the ``plus minus'' grading scheme and will be calculated as:  Final exam = 33%; midterm exams = 27%; problem sets = 25%, lab assignments = 15%.

 

Texts

Pollock, Philip H. III. The Essentials of Political Analysis. CQ Press College, ISBN-10: 1608716864

GOV 342N • Public Choice

38720 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 930am-1100am JES A216A
show description

see syllabus

GOV 385R • Formal Political Analysis II

38937 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm BAT 1.104
show description

description coming soon

GOV 342N • Public Choice

38547 • Fall 2010
Meets MWF 200pm-300pm GAR 0.132
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Description:

This course introduces students to the field of formal theory in
political science.  Formal theory builds largely on economic methods.  Methods such as rational choice theory, spatial theory (spatial representations
of political situations), game theory (the theory of interdependent
choice) and  social choice (how collective decisions are/ should be
made)– have influenced the study of political systems significantly.
This course introduces students to the methods and approaches of
studying political phenomena using ``formal’’ (ie rigorous, analytical
--mostly mathematical) methods.

Grading:

20% Homeworks + Quizzes;   25% Midterm Exam; 30%  Final Exam;  25%  Term Paper

Textbooks:

Analyzing Politics: Rationality, Behavior, and Institutions by Kenneth A. Shepsle and Mark S. Bonchek

A Political Theory Primer by Peter Ordeshook




GOV 350K • Statistical Anly In Polit Sci

38548 • Fall 2010
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm GAR 0.128
show description

Description:

This course introduces basic concepts and methods of statististical
inference, with a strong focus on political science . This course lays
the groundwork for answering ``What can we learn about political
systems and political processes from the world?’’

The objective of this course is to help students acquire the literacy
for understanding social science research  based on the scientific
approach, as well as to prepare interested students for more advanced
methods courses.

Topics include inference from quantitative data, measurement,
descriptive statistics, probability and probability distributions,
sampling, sampling distributions,  point estimation, confidence
intervals, hypothesis testing, correlation, and simple regression.
The course will be lecture-based and will be augmented by hands-on
practicals using datasets such as (for example) Gallup Survey, General
Social Survey, and/or National Election Study in homework assignments.
 You are also  encouraged to develop and work on your own research
problems.

Grading Policy:

Midterm exams (two): 50% Final: 30%  homeworks: 20%


Textbooks:

Statistics Without Tears by Derek Rowntree

Statistics for the Social Sciences by R. Mark Sirkin




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