The political science option provides students with training in the substance and methods of modern political science, including the analysis of representative democracy, electoral institutions, the allocation of public goods, and regulatory behavior. The option emphasizes formal tools like game theory, social choice theory, and formal political theory along with quantitative methodologies to test those theories. In addition, the option encourages original research.
Students who complete the political science option can expect the following learning outcomes: an understanding of and ability to use the theoretical tools of social choice and game theory as applied to politics;an understanding and knowledge of how to apply quantitative methods to study politics; the ability to present complex theoretical and quantitative material in research reports and presentations; the skills necessary to pursue graduate education and careers in law, government, politics, or public policy.
Political Science Coursework at a Glance
An/PS 127. Corruption.Corruption taxes economies and individuals in both the developing and the developed world. We will examine what corruption means in different places and contexts, from grand financial scandals to misappropriation of all manner of public resources. How do we measure corruption? What are its costs and social consequences? What have culture and psychology got to do with it? How much do governance and a free press matter? What are the potential solutions? Students will work closely with the professor to develop an independent and original research project of their choice.
Caltech pioneered the use of formal mathematical models to explain political behavior, including models of voting and bargaining. Later, when experimental economics (the use of experiments to test theories in economics) was developed here as a field, it began providing important insights into political science. The research I do would not be possible without these early contributions, so it is a privilege having been invited to collaborate at Caltech.