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210048 LK BAK7: LK Comparative Politics (2018S)


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 served).


max. 50 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Friday 09.03. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 32 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 9
Friday 16.03. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 32 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 9
Friday 23.03. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 32 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 9
Friday 13.04. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 32 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 9
Friday 20.04. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 32 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 9
Friday 27.04. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 32 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 9
Friday 04.05. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 32 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 9
Friday 11.05. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 32 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 9
Friday 18.05. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 32 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 9
Friday 25.05. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 32 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 9
Friday 01.06. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 32 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 9
Friday 08.06. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 32 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 9
Friday 15.06. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 32 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 9
Friday 22.06. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 32 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 9
Friday 29.06. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 32 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 9


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
- Constitutions & Constitutional Courts
- Supranational Institutions

Assessment and permitted materials

Requirements and Grading:
Students are required to attend all meetings. It is allowed to miss up to maximum 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 1) weekly submission of questions for class discussion, 2) annotation of the required readings on Perusall (for more info see below) . Weekly questions: every week students are expected to generate at least one question suitable for class discussion. The question should be based on their reading of the scientific articles and all required chapters from Powner (2015) and is due every Friday by 11:00 o’clock on Moodle. Text annotation 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 3 questions and comment at least 3 questions/comments posted by their peers or the instructor.
- 2) 30 % - 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 final test and submit the term paper on the set deadlines. This means that students can NOT master the first two components (class participation and final test, which make up 55 % of the final grade and decide not 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: 13.04
Research question deadline: 04.05.2018
Literature search assignment: 25.05.2018
Final test (open book): 22.06.2018
Draft paper deadline: 06.07.2018 via Moodle
Peer feedback on 2 draft papers: 13.07.2018 via Moodle
Term paper deadline: 30.07.2018 via Moodle

Reading list

The assigned readings present an introduction to the session topic. There are 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.

Week 1: 09.03 - Introduction & Plan
No readings

Week 2: 16.03 - Empirical Research I: Research Questions and Hypotheses
- Powner (2015) Ch 1 & 2

Week 3: 23.03 - Empirical Research II: Literature Review & Research Design
- Powner (2015) Chapter 3 & 4

30.04.-06.04.2018 - Spring Holidays

Week 4 - 13.04: Comparative Politics Overview (+ research topic deadline)
- 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 5 - 20.04: 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 6 - 27.04: 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 7: 04.05 - Voting Behavior (+ research question deadline)
- Kedar, O. (2005) When Moderate Voters Prefer Extreme Parties: Policy Balancing in Parliamentary Elections, American Political Science Review, 99(2): 185-200.

Week 8: 11.05 - Research Question Discussion I

Week 9: 18.05 - Research Question Discusssion II

Week 10: 25.05 Legislatures (+ literature search assignment)
- 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 11: 01.06 - Government Types
- 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.

Week 12: 08.06 - Legislative Politics in Parliamentary Systems
-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 13: 15.06 - Supranational Institutions
- 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 14: 22.06 – Final test (open book)

Week 15: 29.06 – 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): 435-452.


Association in the course directory

Last modified: Mo 07.09.2020 15:38