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Comparative Institutions & Public Policy - POL00077M

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  • Department: Politics
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Sarah Shair-Rosenfield
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

The aim of this module is to enable students to develop an advanced understanding of central questions in the comparative analysis of political institutions around the world. Students will examine most important institutional configurations across political systems, namely electoral rules, party systems, parliamentary vs. presidential government, models of public administration, federal institutions and models of welfare provision. As students engage with the operation and function of key political institutions, they will also be introduced to some of the most interesting questions and current debates within comparative politics. These include the analysis of the consequences of institutional configurations for government performance and political stability, the definition of democratic vs. authoritarian systems and the challenges for democratic governance under regional integration. To do so, it will develop comparisons across a broad range of countries that will include long-established western democracies as well as newer democracies.

Module learning outcomes

Subject content:

  • Understand key institutional differences between political systems
  • Analyse the implications of different institutional configurations for democratic governance and political stability
  • Identify most important differences and similarities between models of welfare provision
  • Understand key issues in the debate on democracy as well as on its challenges under globalisation

Academic and graduate skills:

  • Communication skills - present clear and cogent arguments in both written and oral forms
  • Interpersonal skills - through team exercises and case studies
  • Research skills - especially using primary sources from international organizations and governments databases, as well as secondary sources.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay (4000 words)
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Essay (4000 words)
N/A 100

Module feedback

Ongoing oral feedback through seminars and feedback and guidance hours. Written feedback within five weeks of submission.

Indicative reading

Gandhi, J. and R. Ruiz-Rufino (eds.) (2015) Handbook of Comparative Political Institutions. Routlegde.

Gallagher, M., Laver, M., & Mair, P. (2011). Representative government in modern Europe. McGraw-Hill.

Boix, C., & Stokes, S. C. (Eds.). (2007). The Oxford handbook of comparative politics. Oxford Handbooks Online.

Esping-Andersen, G. (2013). The three worlds of welfare capitalism. John Wiley & Sons.

Rodrik, D. (2011). The globalization paradox: democracy and the future of the world economy. New York.

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.