211 Silsby Hall
Hanover, New Hampshire 03755
Tel: (603) 646-2544
Fax: (603) 646-2152
Someone once said, There is a place for the market, and the market must be kept in its place. In this course, we explore the policy debates in the U.S. over the proper role of government in promoting market efficiency and protecting citizens from the adverse consequences of market competition. We begin with an effort to define the scope of the private and public sectors. We then consider an array of policy instruments to correct market failures and redistribute income. Finally, we examine the use of market-oriented approaches to policy problems, such as cost-benefit analysis, vouchers, and pollution rights. Dist: SOC; WCult: NA / W.
Participants in this seminar will critically examine the particular pathologies of environmental politics in the United States, focusing especially on the perceived trade-off between environmental and economic well-being. We will explore how economic activities structure policy and how policy in turn shapes incentives within economic markets. We will analyze a number of environmental conflicts and evaluate the role of various social and institutional actors in bringing about policy change. Students will be responsible for a substantial research paper on an aspect of environmental policy-making. GOVT 30, Law and Politics of the Environment, or a background knowledge of environmental policy is recommended, but not required. Dist: SOC; WCult: W.
This seminar explores the relationships between campaign advertising, the mass media, and political deliberation. We will examine the advertising strategies politicians use to win campaigns, the strategies they use to keep their seats of power once in office, how these efforts are evaluated by the media, and how the entire communication process affects the role of the public in democracy. A course-length political advertising and media simulation in which students will work to successfully communicate campaign messages serves to provide students with a hands-on learning opportunity and a unique culminating experience. Note that there are no prerequisites for this course. Dist: SOC; WCult: W.
This course will evaluate the nature of political communication in the American political process. We will examine the relationships between evolving communication technology, political advertising, campaign finance, the mass media, public opinion, and public deliberation. We will pay particular attention to the methods by which politicians attempt to communicate with the public in order to win campaigns, the communication strategies they use to keep their positions once in office, the role of both traditional and new media, and how the current practice of political communication affects the role of the public in American democracy. Dist: SOC, WCult: NA and W
This course examines the role that public policies around consumer debt and bankruptcy play in shaping the financial lives of Americans. While the accumulation of personal debt is often attributed to an individual’s own decisions, various policies and regulations influence the amount and character of the debt citizens accrue. In the course, we examine some of these policies and the constellation of political interests around them, with particular attention to the vast federal bankruptcy administration. Dist: SOC: WCult: W
How distinct are law and policy? How do they overlap? We will contemplate these questions by investigating affirmative action in higher education and K-12 school funding. We will first broadly consider the nature of rights and the links between legal changes and policy outcomes? Then, we will study the legal questions and empirical realities for each issue. For example, our analysis of affirmative action will include everything from Supreme Court cases to economics journal articles. Dist: SOC: WCult: W
In this course we will seek to understand Congress from an empirical perspective. Rather than simply explain how Congress does (and doesn't) work, we will examine the particular constraints that make the legislative process so difficult in the United States. We will examine other democracies such as Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France as sources of comparison and study the growing literature that tests theories of legislative behavior. We will make use of the immense amount of Congressional data available seeking appropriate explanations of our own to compare with our readings. Government 10 strongly recommended. Dist: SOC; WCult: NA.
Right up there with the economy, the health system tops the American political agenda. The U.S. spends more money on health than any other country, with significantly lower access to health care, higher costs and lower quality. The Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA, also called "Obamacare") was arguably the most contentious and most important domestic policy initiative since and the Civil Rights Act (1964) andMedicare and Medicaid (1965) In this seminar, we will examine four broad questions. First, what are the major problems with the access, cost and quality in the health care system? Second, why is health reform so hard to achieve and how did the ACA come about? Third, what does or will the ACA do when fully implemented? And fourth, what are the perennial reform ideas about improving access, cost and quality hat shaped the ACA and will shape its implementation? Throughout the course, we will focus on the role of ideas and institutions in shaping politics.
This political research seminar will provide students with an introduction to the study of voting irregularities like uncounted votes, recounts, and voting technology problems. These sets of issues, among many others, are prominent in ongoing academic and policy debates on electoral reform. Readings in the seminar will focus on the history of American voting, historical election disputes, the 2000 presidential election, the 2004 presidential election, and the 2004 Washington gubernatorial election. Beyond its readings the seminar will require all students to write a research paper on an ostensibly problematic aspect of voting that affects American elections. Prerequisite: Government 10. Dist: SOC, WCult: NA / W
The American Voter Through Time will investigate the characteristic American voter beginning when public opinion data were collected (the middle of the 20th century) to today. Such data were made available because the behavioral revolution in the social sciences encouraged the quantitative measurement of public opinion. This movement provided academic researchers a wealth of data with which to study the American voter. The earliest scholars analyzed these data and found evidence of an American public largely devoid of sophisticated political thinking. From this groundbreaking study, other scholars argued that the unsophisticated electorate of the 1950's gave way to a more sophisticated audience in more politically charged times (1990s and 1970s). Another group of scholars took issue with the early thesis of unsophisticated voters on methodological grounds. They argued that the data were not properly analyzed. Using more advanced technology, scholars continued to try to understand the American electorate. Today, most arguments focus on the degree to which the American public has polarized along political and ideological lines. This course will survey all this research. It will investigate both the substantive and methodological arguments that have been debated as scholars seek to understand the attitudes and behaviors of the characteristic American voter as well as how it has changed over time. Students who have a deep interest in history will be encouraged to research the characteristics of the American voter before data were available using historical records for their class project.
Students in the seminar will use materials drawn from the State Politics and Policy Quarterly (SPPQ) to intensively study American state politics and policy. Further we will examine newly-submitted manuscripts. We will alternate class sessions between (1) the study of published articles in SPPQ and the literature that the article is embedded in, and (2) sessions devoted to newly submitted manuscripts by examining why the author chose to study this topic (the intellectual "origin" of an argument); why the American states provided a significant advantage in this study (study of the states as comparative advantage); the methodological choices of the author; and, in the end, what have we learned from the manuscript about politics and policy in the states.It will be a two-term seminar (meeting in both winter and spring terms). It will meet once a week throughout both terms, but earns one course credit. Dist: SOC; WCult: NA and W.
Do most Americans have real opinions on political issues, or are their opinions transient and heavily influenced by the media and political elites? What are Americans' opinions on important issues? Do the media determine the issues people care about, or does public concern about an issue drive media coverage? How can we measure people's attitudes, preferences, and opinions? How and why are Democrats, Republicans, and Independents different? Why do some people vote while others do not? Do people in "red states" and "blue states" differ in their political attitudes? If so, why? We will explore these questions and others from a social science perspective. We will read answers to these questions from journalists, political practitioners, and academic researchers, formulate our own hypotheses, and test these hypotheses using data that are available or that we will uncover. Completion of Government 10 or its equivalent is highly recommended before taking this course. Dist: SOC; WCult: NA and W.
This seminar explores the creation, evolution, and enforcement of laws and political institutions. We will begin by defining laws and institutions and exploring their general role in shaping and constraining human behavior. We will then turn to specific political institutions, such as political parties, elections, legislatures, the presidency, the courts, juries, and bureaucracies. Among the questions we will answer: Why and how do institutions emerge? What is legislative intent, and how can we uncover it? What rules of interpretation do judges use when deciding cases? Are juries capable of making good decisions? How has lawmaking in the US Congress changed over time? Does the president make rather than enforce laws? Does the bureaucracy faithfully implement policy? Completion of Gov 10 or its equivalent is required for this course. Completion of a course in game theory is recommended. Dist: SOC; WCult: W.
This class is a lab-style seminar in which we will design, field, and analyze an experimental study of political information processing or opinion formation. Our goal is to publish a scholarly article about our findings in a peer-reviewed journal of political science-an ambitious project that will require a substantial commitment from each student. Flexibility will also be essential since the course will evolve during the semester based on the needs of the project. Dist: QDS.
This course will investigate major areas of public policy including health care, energy, banking, social security and education. Through readings and lively discussion, students will grow in their understanding of these deeply important issues. The aim of the course will be to dispel public policy myths that benefit candidates or their parties in the political arena but do not have the capacity to solve real world problems. We will approach public policy as academics rather than political practitioners. While we will move from issue to issue quickly, students will have the opportunity to focus on one issue for in-depth study in a final paper.
This course will study the history and causes of governmental growth with a strong focus on the U.S. government. We will first study the major theories of governmental growth. We will then investigate the major agencies of the federal government in great depth including their history, what they do today, how they do it, what resources they employ and how these resources have changed over time, whether they provide a useful function and how the agency might be improved. We will be particularly interested in considering ways to achieve budget savings in a tough fiscal climate. Upon completion of this course, students should have a very intimate knowledge of the federal government.
Last Updated: 11/6/12