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The QoG course

 

SK2212, The Quality of Government in Comparative Perspective, 15 Higher education credits

Corruption and its related problems are now seen as having devastating effects not only on economic growth, but also on the viability of democratic processes, the legitimacy of public policies in areas such as social insurance, employment and education and, not least, the overall social fabric of society. In this course, you will study the importance of the quality of government (QoG) institutions for economic and democratic development as well as social and environmental sustainability. We will critically evaluate questions such as how QoG might be defined; the importance of QoG for democracy, economic growth, the rule of law, social capital, inequality, social policies and citizens individual well-being; and, whether the concept of QoG is universally applicable or limited to the Western liberal democracies. For those who aspire to win the Nobel Prize, answer this: what does it take for countries to change from low to high quality political institutions?

This course is a semi-elective in-depth course.

Intended learning outcomes

At the end of the course the students are expected to be able to:

• compare and critically assess advanced theoretical and empirical frameworks, as well as their methodological implications, of the impact of government institutions on economic and social development in different types of countries
• explain the advantage of different approaches to how economic policies are formulated in the political process and their impact on development
• show in-depth knowledge about and categorize the differences in quality of government problems in developed, transition and developing countries
• understand and be able to critically evaluate the outcomes of institutional reforms, especially foreign-aid supported reforms of domestic institutions in developing countries
• systematize and integrate different theories about social capital, democracy and quality of government and their impact on the complex of problems related to QoG such as social conflicts, corruption and rent-seeking
• independently plan an original minor research project about some central aspects of QoG problem and effectively communicate this plan to different groups.

Course content

This course takes on the darker side of society by exploring problems of the quality of governance and corruption in a global comparative perspective. The background is a recent convergence among many economists and political scientists about the importance of the quality of government institutions (QoG) for economic and democratic development as well as social and environmental sustainability. Trustworthy, reliable, impartial, uncorrupted and (reasonably) competent government institutions seem the most important asset for countries, regions and local governments. This has been a dramatic intellectual turn in the social science since less than a decade ago, the “general wisdom” was that corruption and related problems (patronage, clientilism, cronyism) had many positive effects (“greasing the wheels”). New theories and better data have turned this argument around. Corruption and its related problems are now seen as having devastating effects not only on economic growth, but also on the viability of democratic processes, the legitimacy of public policies in areas such as social insurance, employment and education and, not least, the overall social fabric of society. Quality of government problems are not only related to developing countries but exist also in the advanced industrialized welfare states were trust in government institutions and the sustainability of many social insurance and welfare programs have been questioned.

Central issues that will be addressed in the course are: How can QoG be defined and measured? Is QoG a concept that is strictly related to the political philosophy of western liberal democracies, or can it be applied on a global and universal level? Why is the variation between countries in QoG so great? What is the difference in QoG problems in developing countries compared to transition countries and to the advanced industrialized welfare states? How is QoG related to democracy, economic growth, the rule of law, social capital, inequality, social policies and citizens’ individual well-being? Lastly, for those who aspire to win the Nobel prize: What does it take for countries to change from low to high quality political institutions?

 

Contact Information

Dr. Marina Nistotskaya

Course coordinator, marina.nistotskaya@gu.se

Phone:
+46 (0) 31 786 66 91

For registered students

Students who are registered on the course can find detailed information including a schedule and a complete reading list by logging on to the University of Gothenburg's LMS (Learning Management System) - GUL.

Page Manager: Alice Johansson|Last update: 10/18/2017
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