The home page for Political Science 349 is http://goodliffe.byu.edu/349/. Check the home page often for announcements, corrections, instructions for assignments, syllabus, etc. You should also check your email regularly.
I will hold office hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays 3-4 p.m. I am also available at most other times if you make arrangements with me. I encourage you to come by to talk about assignments in the class, suggestions for improving the class, politics and current events, the perils of student life, or for any other reason. (Suggested topics: playing the organ, practicing yoga, student evaluations, Choose to Give program, BYU tuition.)
I expect that students will have a working knowledge of politics and basic political science, and know how to organize and write. This can easily be fulfilled by taking the department core courses (Political Science 110, 150, 170, 200; Economics 110).
This course is an introduction to game theory, concentrating on applications in politics. Game theory is the formal method of examining interdependent decisions. An interdependent decision is one where what you do will depend on what someone else does. For example, a politician running for office may consider how voters will react to an issue stance. The leader of a country may consider how other countries will react to an invasion of another country. A citizen may consider how a government will react if the citizen protests (peacefully or not).
Game theory provides tools for evaluating these situations. By the end of the course, you should be able to recognize strategic situations, and "solve" them. This will be useful for your studies in other classes and for interactions after you graduate.
As a result of its recent accreditation experience (and increasing emphasis from the Department of Education to measure educational outcomes, e.g. NCLB), each program at BYU has developed a set of expected student learning outcomes. These will help you understand the objectives of the curriculum in the program, including this class. To learn the expected student outcomes for the programs in this department go here.
The specific learning objectives that this course fulfills include:
With a small class size, we will run the course as a seminar. Students will have input into topics covered. Students will all have the opportunity/obligation to present their answers to various problems to the rest of class. You should read the material to be presented prior to the class. You should anticipate that I will call on you to contribute your opinion.
I actively encourage questions, interruptions, cries for help, protests of disbelief, etc. You will never be penalized for participating--even when this takes the form of vague complaints like, "I've got no clue why we are reading this stuff!" I urge--indeed, I expect--you to take advantage of the chance to talk with me during office hours.
A Chinese proverb (supposedly) says, "I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand." This philosophy drives the requirements of the class.
To understand game theory, you must use game theory. We will have weekly problem sets to practice using game theory.
All problem sets are due at the beginning of class on the day designated in the course schedule. If you cannot make it to class, please leave the problem set with the department secretaries (in the Political Science office--745 SWKT) before class begins. Alternatively, you may email me the problem set. I will not accept late problem sets. The primary reason for no late problem sets is so that we can discuss the problem set in class immediately after it is turned in. If you anticipate a problem with submitting an problem set when it is due, speak to me before the problem set is due so that we can try to work out an alternative arrangement.
On the days that problem sets are due, we will spend the first part of class going over the problem set. I will choose a student to go to the board and present their solution to a problem. To facilitate this, I suggest that you make a copy of your problem set before you turn it in. (This is a good habit for any class.)
You may work together on these problem sets (in groups of two or at most three), but you must write up your answers separately. I give much more detailed instructions on how to report your work together in the Academic Honesty section below. Generally, if you use other persons' work, or make changes to your own work without inquiring or understanding what you did incorrectly, then you are trying to get a grade using someone else's knowledge. Giving or receiving answers in this manner is not permitted in this course. If you do not learn how to analyze or solve problems on your own, you will have difficulty on the exams.
Problem sets will be due on Tuesdays. The problem sets will be posted on the web, through the link above. I strongly suggest that you start working early on the problem sets.
There will be one midterm exam taken in class during the term that covers about 7 weeks' material, and a final examination that will be comprehensive. The final exam will be administered on Thursday, December 16 in our classroom from 2:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. (as noted on the final exam schedule). Do not ask to take the final examination early. It is against university policy to give final examinations outside of the scheduled time. You should not make any plans that interfere with the final exam schedule. Please do not ask for exceptions. I am not authorized to grant them.
You may use calculators (but not other electronic devices) for the exams. You may not use notes (yours or others'), texts, or other students' exams. The exams will consist of questions similar to those of the problem sets.
The final exams may be picked up in the Political Science office (745 SWKT) after they are graded. All exams will be discarded at the end of the Winter 2011 term.
The course is graded on a modified curve, using principles that will be explained in the course.
I include the following information from the BYU 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog which guides how I grade and determine workload:
Students who succeed in this course have the following characteristics. They
From the Academic Honesty section of the BYU Honor Code: "The first injunction of the BYU Honor Code is the call to `be honest.' Students come to the university not only to improve their minds, gain knowledge, and develop skills that will assist them in their life's work, but also to build character. `President David O. McKay taught that character is the highest aim of education' (The Aims of a BYU Education, p. 6). It is the purpose of the BYU Academic Honesty Policy to assist in fulfilling that aim."
"BYU students should seek to be totally honest in their dealings with others. They should complete their own work and be evaluated based upon that work. They should avoid academic dishonesty and misconduct in all its forms, including but not limited to plagiarism, fabrication or falsification, cheating, and other academic misconduct" (cite). Read the full version here (parts attached to the original paper syllabus).
A colleague (Mitch Sanders, former professor at Notre Dame) has already explicated these issues specifically for political science. Please read here (also attached to the original paper syllabus).
If you write a paper for another course (past or present) that uses the same topic as a paper for this course, you need to approve it with me first, and then you must turn in to me a copy of the paper from your other course.
In this class, you need to acknowledge the contributions of others toward your assignments. I have taken the following guidelines from MIT's Unified Engineering class. I have changed and added various words where appropriate:
"The fundamental principle of academic integrity is that you must fairly represent the source of the intellectual content of the work you submit for credit. In the context of [PlSc 349], this means that if you consult other sources (such as fellow students, faculty, literature) in the process of completing homework, you must acknowledge the sources in any way that reflects true ownership of the ideas and methods you used."
"Discussion among students to understand the homework problems or to prepare for [exams] is encouraged."
"COLLABORATION ON HOMEWORK IS ALLOWED UNLESS OTHERWISE DIRECTED AS LONG AS ALL REFERENCES (BOTH LITERATURE AND PEOPLE) USED ARE NAMED CLEARLY AT THE END OF THE ASSIGNMENT. Word-by-word copies of someone else's solution or parts of a solution handed in for credit will be considered cheating unless there is a reference to the source for any part of the work which was copied verbatim. FAILURE TO CITE OTHER STUDENT'S CONTRIBUTION TO YOUR HOMEWORK SOLUTION WILL BE CONSIDERED CHEATING."
"Study groups are considered an educationally beneficial activity. However, at the end of each problem on which you collaborated with other students you must cite the students and the interaction. The purpose of this is to acknowledge their contribution to your work. Some examples follow:
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination against any participant in an educational program or activity that receives federal funds. The act is intended to eliminate sex discrimination in education. Title IX covers discrimination in programs, admissions, activities, and student-to-student sexual harassment. BYU’s policy against sexual harassment extends not only to employees of the university but to students as well. If you encounter unlawful sexual harassment or gender based discrimination, please talk to your professor; contact the Equal Employment Opportunities Office at 422-5895 or 367-5689 (24-hours); or contact the Honor Code Office at 422-2847.
Brigham Young University is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. If you have any disability which may impair your ability to complete this course successfully, please contact the University Accessibility Center (422-2767). Reasonable academic accommodations are reviewed for all students who have qualified documented disabilities. Services are coordinated with the student and instructor by the UAC office. If you need assistance or if you feel you have been unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of disability, you may seek resolution through established grievance policy and procedures. You should contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Office at 422-5895, D-282 ASB.
All readings should be read before class for full understanding of the subject material. We will cover about one chapter per week of Dixit and Skeath .
The texts for the course are:
(You can also obtain this book new or used through an on-line bookstore. The following link searches out the price for the Dixit, Skeath, and Reiley book at several bookstores simultaneously: BooksPrice.com. Be careful to purchase the third edition. The second edition of the book will not work well for the course, as it was extensively revised.)
Note: C=Camerer; D=Dixit, Skeath, and Reiley
|August 31||D:1-2||Problem Set 0|
|7||D:3||Problem Set 1|
|14||D:4||Problem Set 2|
|21||C:5||Problem Set 3|
|28||D:7||Problem Set 4|
|October 5||C:3||Problem Set 5|
|12||Review||Problem Set 6|
|26||D:11||Problem Set 7|
|November 2||D:12||Problem Set 8|
|9||D:13||Problem Set 9|
|16||D:9||Problem Set 10|
|23||No class--Friday Instruction|
|30||D:14||Problem Set 11|
|7||D:17||Problem Set 12|
|10||Exam Preparation Day|
I often use video clips from popular culture (television programs, movies) to illustrate and emphasize the readings. In this class, I especially use clips from movies. If you consider this to be inappropriate, then do not take this class.
I consulted numerous game theory syllabi in designing this course. Particularly helpful were syllabi by Randy Calvert, Vincent Crawford, Eric Dickson, James Fowler, and Kristin Kanthak.
Political Science 349 home page
Jay Goodliffe's home page
This page is http://goodliffe.byu.edu/349/syllabus.htm