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The Democratic Economy - PEP00001H

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  • Department: Philosophy, Politics and Economics
  • Module co-ordinator: Mr. John Bone
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23
    • See module specification for other years: 2021-22

Module summary

There is a substantial economics component to this module, and we therefore recommend that students on the BA Philosophy & Politics programme talk to the module tutors before selecting this module.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Autumn Term 2022-23

Module aims

To provide a genuinely interdisciplinary course of study, by exploring areas of mutual concern to economists and political scientists and by using in parallel the analytical methods of these two disciplines.

Module learning outcomes

The general learning outcomes can be summarised as:

• familiarity with public choice theory as an approach to analysing political institutions

• some understanding of the significance of political structures for economic outcomes

An underlying concern is to examine ways in which each discipline can bring insight to the study of social phenomena usually thought to be within the sphere of the other. For example, political, especially electoral, behaviour is increasingly being analysed in terms of 'rationality' and 'equilibrium' - concepts associated with the methodology of economics. Conversely, the process of national economic policy-making may be better understood in political terms, as much as economic.


Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
The Democratic Economy
4 hours 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information


Seminar attendance is compulsory. There is a good reason for this. The nature of the coursework and, in particular, the examination in this module make it especially important for students to prepare for, participate in, and learn from the seminars. Specifically, the first part of each seminar meeting is designed to help students develop an understanding of how to produce good short answers in the exam. The second (main) part of each seminar meeting is designed to guide seminar discussion, on specific questions and issues arising from the key references, that students will be expected to reflect and draw on in the exam.

Past experience suggests a strong positive correlation between (i) seminar attendance, preparation and participation and (ii) achievement in the exam.


In advance of each seminar students are expected to:

  • attend the lecture for that topic
  • read the key references for that topic
  • prepare answers to the seminar questions for that topic

The seminar questions for each topic will be posted on the topic page.

At the seminar, the questions will provide the framework for seminar discussion, in which everyone will be expected to participate. So students should bring along their prepared answers in whatever form enables them to participate effectively. The answers themselves are not for submission. Open discussion can continue after the seminar meeting, on the discussion board of this site.

For formative self-assessment purposes, and also for future reference in preparing essays and/or short answers, students are recommended to take notes during seminar discussion.


Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
The Democratic Economy
4 hours 100

Module feedback

In Demecon, this formative assessment is provided primarily by:

  • seminar discussion, with tutors and student colleagues, based on students' reading of the key references, and on students' answers to the corresponding seminar questions (details below)
  • continuation of that discussion, beyond the seminar meeting itself and possibly right up to the exam, on the discussion board of this vle site
  • the feedback, from student colleagues as well as from the tutors, on each student's team's short answer (details below)
  • written comments on students' conventional essays (details below)

In addition, students will receive detailed feedback on the exam, including comments on each of the six answers they write, which could have formative value for students in subsequent assessments in other modules.

Indicative reading

P Dunleavy, Democracy, Bureaucracy and Public Choice, Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1991.

Reading list

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.