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POLECON 230: Strategy Beyond Markets

Politicians, regulators, and voters place limits on - and present opportunities for - nearly every business. Firms like Uber, Airbnb, and Google do not only remain cognizant of existing laws, they also look for opportunities to change the law in ways that help their business. In this class, we will learn how businesses can influence political decision-making and develop frameworks for political strategy. We will examine firms' interactions with competitive firms, market incumbents, customers, and institutions, including interest groups, legislatures, regulatory agencies, courts, international organizations, and the public. Case studies include intellectual property, health care reform, carried interest in private equity, ride-sharing, and peer-to-peer lending. Students will complete the course with a better appreciation of how politics works, of the opportunities and perils associated with alternative political goals, and of tactics likely to achieve those goals. Special emphasis is given to beyond market strategy for start-ups and how to integrate market and beyond-market strategies.
Units: 2 | Grading: GSB Letter Graded

POLECON 349: The Business World: Moral and Spiritual Inquiry through Literature

This course uses novels and plays as a basis for examining the moral and spiritual aspects of business leadership and of the environment in which business is done. On the one hand literature is used as the basis for examining the character of business people, while on the other hand literature provides illumination of the cultural contexts of values and beliefs within which commercial activities take place in a global economy. The course is organized around the interplay of religious traditions and national identities. Classes are taught in a Socratic, discussion-based style, creating as much of a seminar atmosphere as possible. A two-text method is used, encouraging students to examine their own personal stories with as much care as the stories presented in the literature. This course will be graded on the basis of class participation, weekly reflection papers (1 page), and a final paper. There will be no exam.
Units: 3 | Grading: GSB Letter Graded

POLECON 660: Behavioral Political Economy

Most of modern political economy is based on theories of completely rational agents. This has been an enormously fruitful modeling strategy. (Ironically, the approach is sensible partly because researchers are themselves boundedly rational.) There are, however, well-known empirical problems with this strategy. In particular, all humans are cognitively constrained: to take two important examples, our conscious attention is sharply limited and our memories are quite fallible.nnMany of our mental properties are examined in behavioral economics. The approach in that field tends to be piecemeal, somewhat notoriously so in the heuristics-and-biases tradition pioneered by Kahneman and Tversky. (Not surprisingly, the list of cognitive biases is now quite long.) This course takes a different approach. In addition to empirical regularities discovered by psychologists, anthropologists, neuroscientists, and other scholars who study how humans think and feel, it exploits theoretical resources offered by the modern cognitive sciences: in particular, dual process theories of mind, developed by cognitive psychologists, and computational theories of mind, developed by a heterogeneous set of cognitive scientists. These two theoretical approaches will provide frameworks that will help us make sense of empirical regularities discovered experimentally and in the field. Instead of being a disorganized list of departures from classical theories of utility and choice, they are an alternative way to think about human problem solving and decision making.n nIn additional to this foundational work, we will also study how our mental processes affect political behavior. A variety of contexts will be examined, including elections, government officials trying to solve complex policy problems, and the evolution of political norms. (For this last topic evolutionary game theory might make an appearance.) Since many of the relevant readings are based on stochastic models, we may use one session as a tutorial on constructing and interrogating stochastic models. A key objective will be to learn how to build formal PE models that are consistent with the cognitive science formulations described above.
Units: 1 | Grading: GSB Student Option LTR/PF

POLECON 682: Workshop on Institutional Theories and Empirical Tests in Political Economy

This course critically surveys empirical applications of formal models of collective-choice institutions. It is explicitly grounded in philosophy of science (e.g., Popperian positivism and Kuhn's notions of paradigms and normal science). Initial sessions address the meanings and roles of the concept of institutions in social-science research. Historically important works of political science and/or economics are then considered within a framework called Components of Institutional Analysis (or CIA), which provides a fully general way of evaluating research that is jointly empirical and formal theoretical. The course concludes with contemporary instances of such bridge-building. The over-arching objectives are to elevate the explicitness and salience of desirable properties of research and to illustrate the inescapable tradeoffs among the stipulated criteria.n nAlthough this is a core course in the GSB Political Economy PhD curriculum, its substantive foci may differ across years depending on the instructor. For Professor Krehbiel¿s sessions, the emphasis is on legislative behavior, organization, and lawmaking, and on inter-institutional strategic interaction (e,g, between executive, legislative, and judicial branches in various combinations).n nStudents should have taken POLECON 680. POLECON 682 is also listed as POLISCI 351C.
Units: 3 | Grading: GSB Letter Graded

POLECON 691: PhD Directed Reading (ACCT 691, FINANCE 691, GSBGEN 691, HRMGT 691, MGTECON 691, MKTG 691, OB 691, OIT 691, STRAMGT 691)

This course is offered for students requiring specialized training in an area not covered by existing courses. To register, a student must obtain permission from the faculty member who is willing to supervise the reading.
Units: 1-15 | Repeatable for credit | Grading: GSB Pass/Fail

POLECON 692: PhD Dissertation Research (ACCT 692, FINANCE 692, GSBGEN 692, HRMGT 692, MGTECON 692, MKTG 692, OB 692, OIT 692, STRAMGT 692)

This course is elected as soon as a student is ready to begin research for the dissertation, usually shortly after admission to candidacy. To register, a student must obtain permission from the faculty member who is willing to supervise the research.
Units: 1-15 | Repeatable for credit | Grading: GSB Pass/Fail

POLECON 698: Doctoral Practicum in Teaching

Doctoral Practicum in Teaching
Units: 1 | Repeatable for credit | Grading: GSB Letter Graded

POLECON 802: TGR Dissertation (ACCT 802, FINANCE 802, GSBGEN 802, HRMGT 802, MGTECON 802, MKTG 802, OB 802, OIT 802, STRAMGT 802)

Units: 0 | Repeatable for credit | Grading: GSB Pass/Fail
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