Positive Political Economics

Subject ECON90037 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Lectures and tutorials totalling 3 hours per week
Total Time Commitment: Not available

One of the following 2 subjects:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1

Plus one of the following 2 subjects:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1


Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability


Dr Eik Leong Swee


Email: eswee@unimelb.edu.au

Subject Overview:

This subject provides an overview of the field of political economics. Political economics extends the scope of standard economic analysis by assuming that individuals follow their own agenda and maximize their own utility not only in the economic, but also in the political sphere. The following broad areas will be covered: Determinants of institutional quality and its effect on economic performance; models of political competition and (re-)elections; various (so-called) political and institutional failures, including corruption and rent seeking, and delays in welfare-increasing reforms.

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • Reflect on determinants and effects of institutional quality;
  • Explain different models of political competition;
  • Understand when re-elections can discipline an incumbent government and when they can lead to inefficient policies;
  • Apply models of political competition to understand observed policies;
  • Discuss the main causes and effects of corruption;
  • Apply lobbying and rent seeking models to understand observed policies;
  • Understand why welfare-increasing reforms are often delayed; and
  • Critically evaluate real-world policies from a political economics perspective.
  • A 2-hour examination. End of semester (60%);
  • One individual assignment of 3000 words, due week 6 (40%).
Prescribed Texts:

You will be advised of prescribed texts by your lecturer.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On successful completion of this subject, students should have improved the following generic skills:

  • Written communication
  • Problem solving
  • Interpretation and analysis
  • Critical thinking
  • Receptiveness to alternative ideas
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Master of Economics electives

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