Cours 2020-2021

Political economics : Explaining Public Policies [ECONM904]

  • 5 crédits
  • 30h
  • 2e quadrimestre
Langue d'enseignement: Anglais / English
Enseignant: Decerf Benoît

Acquis d'apprentissage

The main objective of the course is to introduce the students to the modern models of political economics (i.e., economic models of the formation of policies), both from theoretical and empirical standpoint.


The first part of the course covers theoretical models of policy formation in democratic societies and empirical tests of competing theories. The second part covers the applications of these models to explain existing variations in government size, lobbying motives, constitution designs, quality of politicians, etc.

Table des matières

We start with a general Introduction on collective choice rules (Arrow and Gibbard-Sattertwaite impossibility theorems and median voter theorem).

We then cover models of electoral competition under various alternative assumptions (opportunistic vs partisan politicians, general-interest vs special-interest policies, deterministic vs probabilistic voting, pre-election vs post-election politics)

We then investigate models of rent extraction and agency.

We cover some models about legislative bargaining and lobbying.

Finally, we study two papers on the quality of politicians and the optimal design of constitutions.

Description des exercices



Enseignement des sciences humaines

Méthodes d'enseignement

[Cours donné en anglais] The course consists of 13 lectures, which cover theoretical models, which are illustrated through empirical applications (students present in small groups research papers focused on empirical applications of these models). Students are invited to actively participate at the discussions of models and their applicability to real-life economic policy-making during the lectures.

Mode d'évaluation

The evaluation is "continuous": students receive part of their grade for their group assignment and the other part of their grade from a final closed-book exam.

Sources, références et supports éventuels

T. Persson and G. Tabellini, Political Economics: Explaining Economic Policy, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000. The list of empirical papers will be distributed during the 1st lecture.

Langue d'enseignement

Anglais / English

Lieu de l'activité


Faculté organisatrice

Faculté des sciences économiques, sociales et de gestion
Rue de Bruxelles, 61
5000 NAMUR


Etudes de 2ème cycle