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ES50120: Economics of politics

[Page last updated: 15 October 2020]

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2020/1
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Economics
Further information on credits Credits: 6      [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Further information on notional study hours Notional Study Hours: 120
Further information on unit levels Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Further information on teaching periods Period:
Semester 2
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: CW 100%
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • Coursework 1 (CW 50%)
  • Coursework 2 (CW 50%)
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites:
Description: Aims:
The aim of the course unit is to provide students with the ability to apply microeconomic theory to analyse political behaviour.

Learning Outcomes:
By the end of the unit students will be expected to:
a) understand the way that rational choice models can be applied to explain and to predict the behaviour of politicians, bureaucrats, voters and interest groups;
b) understand the integrative link that has emerged between economic theory and political science;
c) assess the relevance of rational choice theories in the light of insights from behavioural economics;
d) assess the likelihood that democratic processes may be more inefficient than market processes.

An enhanced understanding of economic analysis.
Abstraction and analytic skills.
Investigative skills.
Time management and planning.
Presentation skills.


* An introduction to welfare economics.
* An analysis of why citizens vote, and of the implications of relying on different voting rules.
* The economics of collective action and an assessment of the impact of lobbying.
* The motivation to participate in political revolution.
* The economics of terrorism.
* The economics of bureaucracy.
* Rent seeking and regulation.
* Rent seeking and trade policy.
* An analysis of the efficiency of international alliances.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

ES50120 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Economics


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2020/21 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2021/22 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2020/21.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
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