Junior Workshop #8: Economic Development and International Institutions (Course number POL981-S08_F2018, Intructor: James Raymond Vreeland, Professor 2.0)


Junior Workshop #8:
Economic Development and International Institutions

(Course number POL981-S08_F2018)

Classroom location: Robertson 006
Class day & time: Thursday, 1:30pm-3:20pm

This web-syllabus is designed to be used throughout the semester. Below you will find links to the readings for workshop sessions. (Please see the Plenary Sessions syllabus for those readings.) Reading assignments for the workshop sessions have been linked to electronic versions available on the Internet. Students visiting this page for the first time should read through the entire syllabus.

Syllabus Menu
  • Course Description
  • Learning Goals
  • Grading
  • Workshop Requirements
  • Plenary requirements
  • Electronic resources useful for the course (including webpages for databases!)

  • Class 1 (Sep 13): Introduction – read student research abstracts
  • Class 2 (Sep 20): Plenary session – Introduction to Political Science and the Research Process
  • Class 3 (Sep 27): The Political Economy of Foreign Aid
  • Class 4 (Oct 4): Plenary session – Research Design, the Experimental Method, and Case Comparisons
  • Class 5 (Oct 11): Firestone Library Session with Jeremy Darrington. Meet at library! We’re meeting in Firestone B-6-F.
  • Class 6 (Oct 18): Plenary session – Collecting and Analyzing Qualitative Data
  • Class 7 (Oct 25): Democracy vs. Dictatorship in the Provision of Public Goods
  • Fall recess
  • Class 8 (Nov 8): Plenary session – Experiments and Surveys
  • Class 9 (Nov 15): The World Bank and Economic Transparency
  • Thanksgiving
  • Class 10 (Nov 29): Plenary session – Statistical Analysis
  • Class 11 (Dec 6): Research Presentations
  • Class 12 (Dec 13): Plenary session – Office hours to discuss questions on independent work
  • Winter recess

    Course Description:
    How can we promote economic development in poor countries? What role do international organizations play? What about the role of democratic government? These are some of the questions we will address in this research-oriented workshop.

    Students will be given exercises throughout the semester to develop their own research projects. Hopefully, the students will eventually publish their own original research on a question pertaining to international politics and economic development. The only prerequisite is a passion for learning – and an interest in numbers. The workshop has a heavy quantitative component as the research we address in the workshop employs quantitative data.

    Broadly speaking, the course will address the ways in which international and domestic political institutions impact the production, distribution, and consumption of scarce resources. Proposed research themes include transparency, foreign aid, international institutions, democratization, and human rights.

    Students will work on an original research project with the ultimate goal of publication. Students will have exercises to get them started down this road. We then will transition into presenting our research to the class, providing drafts to the class to study and comment on.

    Where you go with your project from there is up to you. Typically it takes me about two years to polish a draft of a paper suitable for submission to a journal. At that point, the paper faces tough (anonymous) reviewers who offer criticism and, ultimately, a judgment about whether to publish the research.

    No previous experience is expected of the students – the only prerequisite is a passion for learning. That said, the course has a quantitative component and all projects will involve quantitative data.

    Note that the readings for the course are special. They all result from research conducted by undergraduate students who took a course just like yours. You too can pursue publishable research in international political economy, and your path to this goal can begin in this class...

    Learning Goals:

    (1) How to manage data (using STATA)
    (2) How to write a do-file in STATA
    (3) How to write a clear, concise abstract
    (4) How to conduct quantitative research in political economy
    (5) How to write a research paper
    (6) How to prepare papers for conferences and journal submission
    (7) How to present research
    (8) How to share with and receive feedback from colleagues working on similar projects

    The grade for the Fall Junior Independent Work requirement is based on participation in plenary and small group components and a series of assignments, including the Research Prospectus, according to the following schema:

  • Completion of plenary assignments (30% - graded by plenary preceptor)
  • Workshop participation, including completion of preliminary assignments as determined and assigned by workshop instructor (30%)
  • Final Research Prospectus (40%)

    Workshop Requirements:

    This section has three parts: (1) Short writing assignments, (2) Class presentation, and (3) Long writing assignment.

    Note that the workshop grade will be determined by class participation & attendance – including your presentation and your attention to the presentations of others, the completion of short-writing assignments, and the long writing assignment.