Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science Studies 2001

The Impact of Formal and Informal Political Institutions and Globalization on Policy Performance in OECD Countries

Main discipline: Political science
Lecturer: Dr. Markus M.L. Crepaz,
University of Georgia, Athens, USA
Dates: 30. July - 3. August 2001

Course description
The purpose of this course is to examine the impact of informal political institutions (corporatist arrangements) and formal institutions (constitutional elements of institutions such as the electoral system, the nature of executive/legislative relations, federalism, bicameralism, etc) on policy outcomes such as macro-economic performance, strikes, income inequality, welfare effort, etc. In addition, the effects of "globalization" on these very same policy outcomes will be studied in conjunction with institutional features mentioned before.

The theoretical approach employed in this study program will be "neo-institutionalism" on the one hand, but there will also be strong emphasis on the concept of "globalization" which might be described as a "structural" approach. Both of these approaches to comparative politics currently enjoy tremendous popularity; still, we will also study other dynamics, such as the "politics does matter hypothesis", i.e. the degree to which partisan coloration affects crucial outcomes such as the ones mentioned above.

Course outline

Monday: A basic outline of the origins of corporatism and the effect of external forces on the formation of domestic political institutions.

Lecture 1: This section will provide a brief history of corporatism.

Lecture 2: The external determinants of domestic political institutions.

Tuesday: Electoral engineering - constitutional choices for new democracies.

Lecture 3: Constitutional choices.

Lecture 4: A critique of electoral engineering.

Wednesday: The institutional determinants of political outcomes.

Lecture 5: The configuration of political institutions and their effects.

Lecture 6: Institutions as "veto points": enabling and inhibiting institutions.

Thursday: Globalization - what is it, how new is it, and how much is there of it?

Lecture 7: Towards neo-liberal convergence?

Lecture 8: A critique of the globalization thesis.

Friday: The policy consequences of globalization and the variation in domestic political institutions.

Lecture 9: Globalization and its effects on policy outcomes.

Lecture 10: Corporatism and Democracy: an uneasy balance.

The lecturer
Dr. Markus M.L. Crepaz is an Austrian national, and he began his graduate studies of political science at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD); after studying political science for four years at the University of Salzburg, in Austria. He recieved his Ph.D. UCSD in 1992. For two years, he was a visiting assistant professor at the University of Miami, Florida, and since 1993 he has been a faculty member at The University of Georgia. His research focus is comparative politics, particularly comparative political economy and institutions, West European Politics, research methods, and social theory.

My teaching of comparative politics includes the comparative politics of advanced industrial democracies, introduction to comparative politics and political development, advanced comparative methods, research design, and "constitutional engineering". Among his recent publications are Democracy and Institutions - The Life Work of Arend Lijphart. University of Michigan Press. (in press), edited with Koelble, T., & Wilsford, D., and "Inclusion vs. Exclusion: Political Institutions and the Welfare State" in Comparative Politics (1998).