Universität Wien FIND

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210047 LK BAK7: Comparative Political Analysis (2018W)


6.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 21 - Politikwissenschaft
Continuous assessment of course work

A registration via u:space during the registration phase is required. Late registrations are NOT possible.
Students who miss the first lesson without prior notification will lose their seat in the course.

Follow the principles of good scientific practice.

The course instructor may invite students to an oral exam about the student’s written contributions in the course. Plagiarized contributions have the consequence that the course won’t be graded (instead the course will be marked with an ‘X’ in the transcript of records).


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first serve).


max. 50 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Friday 12.10. 16:45 - 18:15 Hörsaal 1 (H1), NIG 2.Stock
Friday 19.10. 16:45 - 18:15 Hörsaal 1 (H1), NIG 2.Stock
Friday 09.11. 16:45 - 18:15 Hörsaal 1 (H1), NIG 2.Stock
Friday 16.11. 16:45 - 18:15 Hörsaal 1 (H1), NIG 2.Stock
Friday 23.11. 16:45 - 18:15 Hörsaal 1 (H1), NIG 2.Stock
Friday 30.11. 16:45 - 18:15 Hörsaal 1 (H1), NIG 2.Stock
Friday 07.12. 16:45 - 18:15 Hörsaal 1 (H1), NIG 2.Stock
Friday 14.12. 16:45 - 18:15 Hörsaal 1 (H1), NIG 2.Stock
Friday 11.01. 16:45 - 18:15 Hörsaal 1 (H1), NIG 2.Stock
Friday 18.01. 16:45 - 18:15 Hörsaal 1 (H1), NIG 2.Stock
Friday 18.01. 18:30 - 20:00 Seminarraum 1 (S1), NIG 2. Stock
Friday 25.01. 16:45 - 18:15 Hörsaal 1 (H1), NIG 2.Stock
Friday 25.01. 18:30 - 20:00 Seminarraum 1 (S1), NIG 2. Stock


Aims, contents and method of the course

The course language is English! This means that class discussions, weekly assignments, written tests and the term paper must be completed in English.

Goals: This course provides an introduction into comparative politics. A central goal is to introduce students to basic theoretical and empirical concepts of comparative politics, as well as to tackle concrete research examples from top scientific articles. Students are expected to learn how to read efficiently scientific literature, practice the usage of central concepts and arguments in discussions and exercise scientific writing.

Method: A central aspect of this course is a thorough reading of the selected literature, its discussion in class and scientific writing.

Contents: The course deals with various selected topics from comparative politics including:

- Empirical Research
- Elections & Electoral Systems
- Parties & Party Systems
- Voting Behavior
- Parliaments & Legislation
- Governments & Policy-Making
- Legislative Politics in Parliamentary Systems
- Supranational Institutions
- Constitutions & Constitutional Courts

Evaluations from previous Bak 7 classes can be found here: https://staatswissenschaft.univie.ac.at/team/wissenschaftliches-personal/mariyana-angelova/

Assessment and permitted materials

Requirements and Grading:
Students are required to attend all meetings. It is allowed to miss up to 2 classes, whereby students need to attend the first session. Students are expected to complete the assigned readings (1 scientific article and 1 chapter from Caramani (2017)) each week and be ready for class discussions. This means that class participants should be prepared to summarize and discuss any required reading when called upon.

Grading of the course will be based on the following three components:
- 1) 30% - Class attendance, participation in class discussions and weekly home assignments. Home assignments include annotation of the required readings on Perusall. Every week students are expected to discuss the required scientific article in groups using the interactive online tool Perusall (https://app.perusall.com, for more information about Perusall, watch some YouTube videos (e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhTonln1T6A) and check the “live demo” (https://app.perusall.com/demo) ). In particular, for every scientific article and the assigned readings from Powner (2015) students are required to write at least 4 questions/comments. For every chapter from Caramani (2017) students are required to post at least 2 questions/comments.
- 2) 15 % - Mid-term test (open book)
- 3) 15 % - Final test (open book)
- 3) 40 % - Timely submission of a term paper (min. 3000, max. 4000 words). The term paper should pose a research question embedded in the scientific literature, develop theoretical expectations (testable hypotheses) and propose a research design to test the theoretical expectations. Class participants are NOT required to gather data and analyze it. In essence, the term paper should include a title page, an abstract, an introduction, literature review, theory, a research design, conclusions and references and is practically a half of a standard scientific article. Students are expected to work on the term paper throughout the whole semester and deliver their written progress in three stages ( 1. research topic, 2. research question + literature search, 3. draft paper) on the set deadlines. In addition, students are expected to write a review with constructive feedback on 2 draft peer papers following the guidelines provided by the instructor. The exact deadlines for the working progress, peer feedback and the final deadline for the term paper will be communicated in the first class session.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

The minimum requirement is the completion of each of the three class components (see above) – not necessarily successfully. In order to be graded, students can miss up to 2 classes, have to write the mid-term and final tests and submit the term paper on the set deadlines. This means that students can NOT master the first three components (class participation, mid-term and final test), which make up 55 % of the final grade and decide not to​ write the term paper or vice versa. Plagiarism and Ghostwriting are strictly forbidden. To make sure that these rules are not violated in some occasions students will be required to provide an oral discussion of their written work.

Examination topics

Required Literature

Important deadlines:
Research topic deadline: due week 3 (Friday 09.11, 15h00)
Mid-term test (open book): during class in week 7, Friday 7.12.2018

Research question deadline: due week 9 (Monday 07.01.2019 21h00, on Moodle)
Literature search assignment: due week 9 (Thursday 10.01.2019 21h00 on Moodle)
Final test (open book): during class in week 11, Friday 25.01.2019
Draft Paper – due Friday 08.02.2019 21h00
Peer Review on 2 draft papers (Feedback on your draft papers) – due Friday 15.02.2019 21h00
Final Paper - due Friday 01.03.2019 21h00
If you wish to get your grades before 01 March 2019, submit your term paper at the latest by 20.02.2018 21h00

Reading list

The assigned readings present an introduction to the session topic. There are usually two texts per session. Two sessions will cover chapters from the Powner (2015) book on empirical research and writing. The remaining class sessions will cover one text that gives an overview of the main concepts and one scientific article. For the overview text, we will mostly use chapters from the Caramani (2017) lecture book. The second text will be an article from a top political science journal (e.g. American Journal of Political Science) with an interesting research question, research design, and findings. The purpose of the second text is to give a concrete example from scientific research and deepen the general understanding of the topic. All scientific articles are accessible online via the university library. For copyright reasons, there is no Reader for this course.

Caramani, D. (2017) Comparative Politics, 4th Edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Powner, L. (2015) Empirical Research and Writing. A Political Science Student’s Practical Guide, Los Angeles: CQ Press.
Highly recommended for your studies in general is the following book how to lean efficiently:
Oakley, B. (2014) A mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even if You Flunked Algebra), New York: Penguin.

Week 1: 12.10 - Introduction & Plan
No readings

Week 2: 19.10 - Empirical Research I (Research Questions and Hypotheses)
- Powner (2015) Ch 1 & 2 , 4 (p. 81-95)

Week 3: 09.11 - Empirical Research II & Comparative Politics: Overview (+ research topic deadline)
- Powner (2015) Chapter 3 & 4 (p. 95-108)
- Ch. 1 from Caramani (2017)
- Tsebelis, T. (1999) Veto Players and Law Production in Parliamentary Democracies: An Empirical Analysis, The American Political Science Review, 93(3): 591-608.

Week 4 - 16.11: Electoral Systems
- Ch.10 from Caramani (2017)
- Chang, E., and M. Golden (2007) Electoral systems, district magnitude, and corruption, British Journal of Political Science, 37(01): 115-137.

Week 5 - 23.11: Parties and Party Systems
- Ch. 12 & 13 from Caramani (2017)
- Tavits, M. (2008) Party systems in the making: The emergence and success of new parties in new democracies, British Journal of Political Science, 38(01): 113-133.

Week 6: 30.11 - Voting Behavior
- Kedar, O. (2005) When Moderate Voters Prefer Extreme Parties: Policy Balancing in Parliamentary Elections, American Political Science Review, 99(2): 185-200.

Week 7: 07.12 Legislatures (+ Mid-Term Test)
- Ch. 7 from Caramani (2017)
- McCubbins, M. and T. Schwartz (1984) Congressional Oversight Overlooked: Police Patrols versus Fire Alarms, American Journal of Political Science, 28(1): 165-179.

Week 8: 14.12 - Government Types and Legislative Politics
- Ch. 8 from Caramani (2017)
- Thies, M. (2001) Keeping Tabs on Partners: The Logic of Delegation in Coalition Governments, American Journal of Political Science, 45(3): 580-598.
- OR Martin, L. W., and G. Vanberg (2014). Parties and policymaking in multiparty governments: The legislative median, ministerial autonomy, and the coalition compromise, American Journal of Political Science, 58(4): 979-996.

Week 9: 11.01.2019 - Supranational Institutions (+ research question and theory deadline)
- Ch. 23 from Caramani (2017)
- Hix, S. (2002) Parliamentary behavior with two principals: Preferences, parties, and voting in the European Parliament, American Journal of Political Science, 46(3): 688-698.

Week 10: 18.01 – Courts & General Discussion (Evaluations, Term Papers)
- Ch. 9 from Caramani (2017)
- Carrubba, C., M. Gabel, and C. Hankla (2008) Judicial behavior under political constraints: Evidence from the European Court of Justice, American Political Science Review, 102(04)

Week 11: 25.01 – Final test (open book) and Discussion


Association in the course directory

Last modified: Mo 07.09.2020 15:38