Carnegie Mellon University

Decision Processes in American Political Institutions

Course Number: 84-104

This is an interdisciplinary introduction to the study of politics and government in the United States. It familiarizes the student with the basic structures and processes of American government, but moves beyond the purely descriptive into the realm of the analytical. The main theoretical tools are spatial models of political decision-making, and models of collective action problems. The position taken in this course is that understanding American philosophical ideas about authority, power, and freedom is as central to demystifying the U.S. form of democracy as is understanding how decision-making institutions function. Thus, on one side, this course looks at how American political thought is infused into political institutions and society. On the other side, it investigates institutional arrangements using rationalistic theories. In addition, scientific writings at the intersection of psychology and economics are used to probe the possibility of gaining explanatory leverage on U.S. politics from the perspective of behavioral decision-making theories.

Academic Year: 2023-2024
Semester(s): Fall
Required/Elective: Required
Units: 9
Location(s): Pittsburgh

Fall 2023
Tuesday and Thursday
3:30-4:50 PM

Required course for the following CMIST degrees:
BS International Relations and Political Science
Additional Major in International Relations and Political Science
BS Economics and Politics
Additional Major in Economics and Politics
Minor in International Relations and Political Science
Minor in Politics and Public Policy (one of three options)

Elective course for the following CMIST degrees:
Minor in Military Strategy and International Relations