Comparative politics focuses on comparisons within or between countries, regions, or systems. In this course, we will focus on the links between public opinion, democratic politics, elections and public policy. Surveys and public opinion polls are important sources of data, particularly for research on political behavior and preferences. This course will introduce students to advanced techniques in survey analysis and how analyses are used to test theories in comparative country-specific and cross-country research. This is an applied course and as such, students are expected to actively participate performing lab exercises on a weekly basis. The data and replications used in the course will emphasize key themes, debates and concepts in the literature contrasting insights from empirical work in developed democracies with the emerging literature in developing democracies with particular attention to Latin American democracies.
Students should have a background in statistical inference (for example, FLP 406, FLS 5028, or a similar course) and multivariate regression analysis (for example, FLP0468, FLS 6183, or a similar course). The course will assume students understand the basics of these subjects, as the readings and lab assignments will be based on replication of empirical exercises that assume students have sufficient background. The course requires advanced knowledge of either Stata or R. Course materials will provide sample code in Stata.
Humanitarian principles were instituted to ensure aid was used for life saving purposes, and not to support governments or a country's foreign policy goals. While there was always some blurring, the lines between humanitarian, development and security policy began to blur to a greater degree during the Balkan wars; after 9/11, the lines became ever more faint, creating significant debates about civilian-military relations. Post-Syria there are questions if there are even lines anymore. In this course, we will examine this evolution, where aid, both humanitarian and development, is used to a greater and greater degree in support of a country's security policy. We will examine how this has changed the nature of these programs, how it effects the ability of governments and INGOs to operate in these environments, and the moral and ethical dilemmas that arise.
This course introduces students to some of the major arguments, hypotheses and debates in the literature on African politics and development, and aims to help students develop the skills to become both more intelligent consumers and more effective producers of this literature. Intense discussions of an extensive set of readings are combined with a series of written assignments designed to help students develop research strategies to evaluate the hypotheses they encounter in (or are inspired by) the literature.
The topics covered include colonialism and its impact; the weakness of political institutions and the implications for policymaking; linkages between voters and politicians; the role of ethnicity and traditional institutions; and urbanization. Readings are a mix of classic articles and recent work that exemplifies the methodological and theoretical “cutting edge.”
The course is designed principally for UCLA Political Science PhD students who focus their research on Africa and/or other parts of the developing world. PhD and MA students from other social science departments are also welcome if space permits. A limited number of students from low- and middle-income countries with graduate training in political science, economics, or related field will be permitted to participate in the seminar via Remote Student Exchange.