Comparative politics

Ects : 3
Volume horaire : 21
Coefficient : 3
Compétence à acquérir :
Why can’t Italy be more like Sweden? What fuels populism in Western democracies, such as the U.S., UK, and France? What are the main features of democracies and autocracies and what are the prerequisites of transition to democracy? What policies can promote development and post-conflict reconstruction? Why do the same policies work in some countries and fail in the others?
The aim of this course is to provide you with the tools to address these questions in a systematic and a coherent way. The course will help you gain a better understanding of political actors, institutions, and the contexts in which they operate, the consequences of their actions and the instruments we can use to make sense of political outcomes and dynamics.
In the age of globalization, cross-national insights into politics are invaluable for a wide range of potential careers, whether working for international agencies, multilateral organizations, non-profit NGOs, international corporations, or national governments.
Mode de contrôle des connaissances :
Consulting report
- the goal is to acquire the skills of applied research, policy analysis, and writing.

Description du contenu de l'enseignement :
Session I.

What is Comparative Politics? Theory and method

- Is a science of comparative politics possible?
- What are the main criteria recommended in selecting cases and why?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of the ‘most similar’ and the ‘most different’ research designs?

Session II.

States and regimes

- Is nationalism eroding due to globalization – or strengthening? Do nations create states – or vice versa?
- Is there a universal meaning to the concept of democracy or are understandings relativistic?
- What are the pros and cons of dichotomous or continuous regime classifications?

Session III.


- Is there a single best set of democratic institutions?
- What are the key contrasts between ‘consensus’ or ‘majoritarian’ democracies; compare and contrast two developing countries exemplifying each type.
- Do we know enough about the impact of political institutions to engage in successful ‘constitutional engineering’? Compare the outcome of constitutional peace settlements in two societies to consider these issues.

Session IV.


- Is mass support for democracy eroding?
- Does social trust matter for democratic governance? Explain why and why not.
- What measures of citizen engagement are available in social surveys and what aspects of contemporary activism are lacking?

Session V.

Policies and policy-making

- How far can and do countries learn about public policy options from each other?
- Do democracies outperform autocracies in terms of social equality, human development, and the delivery of welfare services?

Session VI.

Transition and change


Bibliographie, lectures recommandées
Daniele Caramani. Ed. 2017.
Comparative Politics
4th edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lijphart, Arend. 2012.
Patterns of Democracy. 2nd ed. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Olson, Mancur. “Dictatorship, Democracy and Development.”
APSR (1993)
American Political Science Review, 87:3 (Sep., 1993) 567-576.
Collier, David. ‘The Comparative Method’ In Ada Finifter. Ed. 1993.
Political Science: The State of the Discipline II.
MacIntyre, Alasdair. “Is a science of comparative politics possible?”
Against the Self-Images of the Age: Essays on Ideology and Philosophy (New York: Schocken Books, 1971), pp. 260-279.

Enseignant responsable :