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Course Site for Political Science 627 -- Spring 2020

Class Website for Comparative Political Economy


Professor Florian M. Hollenbach

Email:; Web:

Office: 332 LASB; Phone: 979-845-5021

Office Hours: By appointment via:


Thursday, 8:30 am - 11:20 am

Class Location: ALLN 2064


The syllabus may be changed through out the semester. The most updated version will be on my website at and will reflect any schedule changes. I will share additional material on the course Google Team Drive.

All assignments are to be submitted electronically via email to


The goal of this course is to cover fundamental concepts in Comparative Political Economy CPE) and provide an overview of the literature in the field. We will cover a wide range of topics and research approaches, often focusing on the interaction between politics and markets. Throughout the semester we will cover both developed and less developed countries. While there are no prerequisites to this course, students will encounter and will have to learn fundamental concepts in economics and other related fields.


We will be reading both articles and book chapters throughout the semester. Readings under the header Additional Readings are not required, but suggestions for those interested in the particular topic (see exception for in-class Presentations and Discussion Papers). This is a PhD student level seminar; as such I expect all students to come to class prepared, having read all required material prior to sending discussion questions on Wednesday mornings. I also expect you to complete relevant assignments on time.

Some of the weeks have substantial amounts of readings that may take significant time to get through. Make sure you start early enough. Additionally, some of the methodological work will be difficult. It is okay if you do not fully understand everything before coming to class, that is what our class meetings are for. Nevertheless, read carefully and at least try to understand each article/chapter. You should be able to discuss all of the required readings in class.

If you have not done so, I would advise you to develop a consistent system of reading and taking notes. We will discuss some approaches to reading early in the semester.

Since we will read large parts of them, you should acquire the following books:

Required Books:

When reading you should think about questions such as:

  1. Question/Framing: What is the question the authors are trying to answer in this work? Is this work important?

  2. Theory: Is there an original contribution in the theoretical part of the work? Is the theoretical argument coherent? Are the mechanisms elaborated sufficiently? Are the assumptions plausible? Do the hypotheses follow logically from the theoretical argument? Are there theoretical implications that the authors missed?

  3. Research Design: What is the unit of analysis? What is the research design? Does the research design allow the authors to test the specified hypotheses? Does it allow them to answer the question posed in their work? Are there important issues the authors missed? How could the research design be improved? Does the research design allow for causal identification? If not, why not? Is the description of the research design sufficient?

  4. Data: Are variables adequately measured and do they correspond to the concepts of interest? Could we improve the authors’ measures? Are other (better) data available to investigate these questions? Is the description of the data sufficient to replicate the authors’ results?

  5. Findings: Are the results correctly interpreted? Are the findings substantively important? How do the results correspond to the theory? Are there other potential explanations that are not ruled out by the research design? Are the authors interpreting the results causally? If so, is that justified?

  6. Writing: Which sections of the paper are well/poorly written? Why? Are there parts that are particularly exciting/convincing? If so, for what reason? Does the introduction make you want to continue reading the work? What do you think about the overall structure of the work? Pay particular attention to the abstract and introduction.


At the end of the semester, after completing this course, students are expected to:


The class will meet once a week from 8:30 am to 11:20 am on Thursday. In most weeks, class will be a mixture of lecture, exercise, and class discussion. In general, however, I expect the majority of class to be discussion based.


Your grade will be based on the following:

  1. Participation (10%) – weekly grade average (10%) – (previously 15%)
  2. Weekly Discussion Points (2% per week starting 01/23 - 24% )
  3. In-Class Presentation (10%)
  4. Discussion Paper (15%) – (previously 12.5%)
  5. Final Paper Draft (4%) – (previously 7.5%)
  6. Discussion of Paper Draft (7%) – (previously 7%)
  7. Final Paper (30%) – (previously 25%)

Recall that your Discussion Paper may serve as a starting point for the literature setup in your final paper. The final paper is due at 11:59 pm on May 3rd, 2020. Your papers will be graded on originality, creativity, contribution to the literature, adequacy of the research design, empirical execution, and writing.

Grading Scale

The grading scale (in %) used in this class for all written assignments, and the overall class grade will be the following:

According to TAMU rules, I can not provide grades or updates on your grades via email. You are welcome to ask about your overall performance or specific grades at any point in the semester.


All written assignments will be graded based on both content and quality of writing. You can find helpful links on how to write well here: You may want to consult some of the books that are listed there. Writing is one of the most fundamental skills for academics. All of us struggle and it requires a lot of practice. Do not hesitate to ask for help. If you are having trouble, please come see me or visit the University Writing Center (see below).


The University Writing Center (UWC), located in 1.214 Sterling C. Evans Library and 205 Business Library & Collaboration Commons, offers one-on-one consultations to writers. To find out more about UWC services or to schedule an appointment, call 458-1455, visit the web page at, or stop by in person. This is a really great resource and I encourage you to take advantage of it.



All students should follow the highest standards of academic integrity. Cheating or plagiarism will not be tolerated in any way. If you are unsure what entails plagiarism, come talk to me. For more info, see: & Any cases of cheating or plagiarism will be submitted to the academic honor council.


I expect you to attend class unless circumstances prohibit you from doing so. If you are sick, it is best to stay home. If you must miss class, please let me know in advance. Even if you are missing class, you are still responsible to do the readings and submit discussion questions and assignments. If there are special circumstances that prevent you from coming to class, please come talk to me early on.

Everyone needs to participate in class discussion. Participation is a large part of your grade and important. Quality of participation is more important than quantity, however. You have to provide evidence to substantiate your points, uninformed opinions are not helpful to the discussion. Your participation grade is based on the quality of your class participation. Please be respectful to your fellow class mates, do not interrupt them, and wait until called upon.

I encourage you not to use a laptop in class. Laptops have been shown to be a distraction not only to the students using them but also fellow class mates. A recent study has found that not having laptops in class can have a similar effect as hiring a SAT tutor. If you think you have good reasons for why you need to use a computer, however, you may do so.

In addition, please make sure your cell phones are on silent mode and refrain from using them during class time.


Except in the case of observance of a religious holiday, to be excused, the student must notify his or her instructor in writing (acknowledged e-mail message is acceptable) prior to the date of absence. In cases where advance notification is not feasible (e.g. accident or emergency) the student must provide notification by the end of the second working day after the absence. This notification should include an explanation of why the notice could not be sent prior to the class. Accommodations sought for absences due to the observance of a religious holiday can be sought either prior or after the absence, but not later than two working days after the absence. Legitimate circumstances include religious holidays, illness, serious family emergencies and participation in group activities sponsored by the University, etc. See for additional information.

All assignments are due on their due date at the specified time (or end of business, i.e., 5 pm, if unspecified). Unexcused late work will be penalized by a 7.5 percentage point deduction for each 24hrs your work is late (see exception for Discussion Poiunts). For example, if you hand in the assignment on the same day it is due, but after the specified time, your maximum score will be 92.5%. If you hand in your assignment more than 24hrs late, e.g., 5:00 pm the next day, your maximum score will be 85%, after 48hrs it would be 77.5%, and so on. Late work will be excused only in the case of university-excused absences. Only under special circumstances will I make exceptions to these rules.


Students that want to appeal a grade received on an exam or assignment must submit a regrading request in written form (e.g., email). This request has to be turned in within five working days after the graded exams or assignments are returned to the class. The written statement must explain exactly why the student believes the current grade is incorrect. I will then regrade the entire assignment extra carefully. NOTE, as a consequence your grade may go up or down.


The best place to ask questions is in the classroom. If your question is not related to class material or relevant to other students, we can discuss it after class. You can generally expect me to reply to emails within 24 hours during the work week.

I encourage all of you to visit my office hours to discuss any difficulties with the readings, class, or your assignments/research.


All discussions will remain confidential. Texas A&M University is committed to providing equitable access to learning opportunities for all students. If you experience barriers to your education due to a disability or think you may have a disability, please contact Disability Resources in the Student Services Building or at (979) 845-1637 or visit . Disabilities may include, but are not limited, to attentional, learning, mental health, sensory, physical, or chronic health conditions. All students are encouraged to discuss their disability related needs with Disability Resources and their instructors as soon as possible.

Title IX and Statement on Limits to Confidentiality

Texas A&M University and the College of Liberal Arts are committed to fostering a learning environment that is safe and productive for all. University policies and federal and state laws provide guidance for achieving such an environment. Although class materials are generally considered confidential pursuant to student record policies and laws, University employees – including instructors – cannot maintain confidentiality when it conflicts with their responsibility to report certain issues that jeopardize the health and safety of our community. As the instructor, I must report (per Texas A&M System Regulation 08.01.01) the following information to other University offices if you share it with me, even if you do not want the disclosed information to be shared: Allegations of sexual assault, sexual discrimination, or sexual harassment when they involve TAMU students, faculty, or staff, or third parties visiting campus. These reports may trigger contact from a campus official who will want to talk with you about the incident that you have shared. In many cases, it will be your decision whether or not you wish to speak with that individual. If you would like to talk about these events in a more confidential setting, you are encouraged to make an appointment with the Student Counseling Service Students and faculty can report non-emergency behavior that causes them to be concerned at


The Department of Political Science supports the Texas A&M University commitment to diversity, and welcomes individuals from any racial, ethnic, religious, age, gender, sexual orientation, class, disability, and nationality. (See In the spirit of this vital commitment, in this course each voice in the classroom has something of value to contribute to all discussions. Everyone is expected to respect the different experiences, beliefs and values expressed by fellow students and the instructor, and will engage in reasoned discussion that refrains from derogatory comments about other people, cultures, groups, or viewpoints.

Changes to Syllabus

I reserve the right to update/modify/clarify the syllabus with advance notification.

The most recent version of the syllabus will always be available on my website at:

Class Schedule

Week 1 (01/16): Introduction to Comparative Political Economy

Introduction Political Economy


Week 2 (01/23): PE of Economic Development, Institutions, & Growth Models

Presentation: Max Allamong


Supplementary Readings:

Week 3 (01/30): Origins of the State (in Europe):

Presentation: Niels Appeldorn


Supplementary Readings:

Week 4 (02/06): Regime Change

Presentation: Jonghoon Lee


Supplementary Readings:

Week 5 (02/13): Political Economy of Autocracies

Presentation: Mingsi Song & Lauren Bondarenko


Supplementary Readings:

Week 6 (02/20): Bureaucracies, Bureaucratic Capture, Corruption:

Presentation: Christy Phillips


Supplementary Readings:

Week 7 (02/27): Micro-Preferences & Preference Formation:

Presentation: Yeon Soo Park & Ali Kagalwala


Supplementary Readings:

Week 8 (03/05): Macro-Preferences & Preference Aggregation: Constitutions, Electoral Systems, & Elections:

Presentation: Keigo Tanabe


Supplementary Readings:


(03/12) No Class; SPRING BREAK

Week 9 (03/26): Macro-Preferences & Preference Aggregation: Political Parties & Legislative Organization AND ALSO Retrospective & Economic Voting :

Presentations: Andrea Junqueira & Thiago Moreira & James Dongjin Kim


Supplementary Readings:

Week 11 (04/02): Taxation:

Presentation: Joo Won Yi


Supplementary Readings:

Week 12 (04/09): Monetary Policy & Finance:

Presentation: Brenna Armstrong


Supplementary Readings:

Week 13 (04/16): Welfare State & Distributional Politics

Presentation: Jongwoo Jeong


Supplementary Readings:

Week 14 (04/24): Final Paper Discussions

Week 15 (05/03 at 11:59 PM) Final Paper Due