Government 320: Public Opinion and Public Choice

Spring 2007
Tuesday, Thursday 2:55-4:10 (MG 165)
Professor: Walter R. Mebane, Jr.
Office: 217 White Hall (255-3868); email
Office hours: Monday 2-4 or other times by appointment.
Course web page:

Assignment Due Dates
due date description weight
March 8 midterm exam 25%
April 19 final paper proposal 5%
May 11 final paper 35%
May 15 (9-11:30am) final exam 35%

Reading Availability

The following books have been ordered through the campus store. Almost all the books are to be read in their entirety, or otherwise heavily used, so you probably want to buy them if you can. But the books should also (soon) be on reserve at Uris library.

Aldrich, John H. 1995. Why Parties? Chicago.

Cox, Gary. 1996. Making Votes Count: Strategic Coordination in the World's Electoral System. Cambridge UP.

Cox, Gary, and Mathew McCubbins. 200?. Setting the Agenda: Responsible Party Government in the U.S. House of Representatives. Cambridge UP.

Craven, John. 1992. Social Choice: A Framework for Collective Decisions and Individual Judgements. Cambridge UP.

Gumbel, Andrew. 2005. Steal This Vote. Nation Books.

Mackie, Gerry. 2003. Democracy Defended. Cambridge UP.

Monmonier, Mark. 2001. Bushmanders and Bullwinkles. Chicago.

Riker, William H. 1986. The Art of Political Manipulation. Yale UP.

Class schedule

Items with a bullet ($\bullet$) are required. Others are recommended.

  1. Political Manipulation (Jan 23-Feb 15)

    Saari, Donald G. 2001. Chaotic Election! A Mathematician Looks at Voting. American Mathematical Society.

    Bianco, William T., Ivan Jeliazkov and Itai Sened. 2004. ``The Uncovered Set and the Limits of Legislative Action,'' Political Analysis 12: 256-278.

    Ordeshook, Peter C., and Thomas Schwartz. 1987. ``Agendas and the Control of Political Outcomes.'' American Political Science Review 81: 179-199.

    Riker, William H. 1982. Liberalism Against Populism: A Confrontation Between the Theory of Democracy and the Theory of Social Choice. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland.

    Shepsle, Kenneth A., and Barry Weingast. 1984. ``Uncovered Sets and Sophisticated Voting Outcomes with Implications for Agenda Institutions,'' American Journal of Political Science 28: 49-74.

  2. Parties, Strategic Voting and Party Systems (Feb 20-Mar 6)

    Snyder, James M., Jr., and Michael M. Ting. 2002. ``An Informational Rationale for Political Parties,'' American Journal of Political Science 46 (Jan.): 90-110.

  3. Midterm Exam (Mar 8)

  4. Agenda-setting in the U.S. House (Mar 13-Mar 29)

    Romer, Thomas, and Howard Rosenthal. 1979. ``Bureaucrats Versus Voters: On the Political Economy of Resource Allocation by Direct Democracy,'' Quarterly Journal of Economics 93 (Nov.): 563-587.

    Rosenthal, Howard. 1990. ``The Setter model.'' In James M. Enelow and Melvon J. Hinich, eds., Advances in the Spatial Theory of Voting. Cambridge UP, pp. 199-234.

    Cameron, Charles M. 2000. Veto Bargaining: Presidents and the Politics of Negative Power. Cambridge UP.

    Schickler, Eric. 2001. Disjointed Pluralism: Institutional Innovation and the Development of the U.S. Congress. Princeton UP.

  5. Gerrymanders (Apr 3-17)

    Balinski, Michel L., and H. Peyton Young. 2001. Fair Representation: Meeting the Ideal of One Man, One Vote, 2d ed. Brookings.

    Butler, David, and Bruce Cain. 1992. Congressional Redistricting: Comparative and Theoretical Perspectives. Macmillan.

    Cox, Gary W., and Jonathan N. Katz. 2002. Elbridge Gerry's Salamander: The Electoral consequences of the Reapportionment Revolution. Cambridge.

    Davidson, Chandler, and Bernard Grofman, eds. 1994. Quiet Revolution in the South: The Impact of the Voting Rights Act, 1965-1990. Princeton.

    Keyssar, Alexander. 2000. The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States. Basic Books.

    Rehfeld, Andrew. 2005. The Concept of Constituency: Political Representation, Democratic Legitimacy, and Institutional Design. Cambridge.

  6. Election Frauds (Apr 19-May 3)

    House Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff. 2005. Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio.

    Democratic National Committee. 2005. Democracy At Risk: The 2004 Election in Ohio. Section II. or

Walter Mebane 2007-04-17