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GOVT 2305 Week 2 Notes

by: Haylee Noonan

GOVT 2305 Week 2 Notes GOVT 2305

Haylee Noonan
GPA 3.87

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About this Document

Notes taken from week 2 of GOVT 2305 Logic of American Politics
American National Government
Iliyan Iliev
Class Notes
GOVT, GOVT 2305, American National Government, logic of politics, Choices, constitution
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This 1 page Class Notes was uploaded by Haylee Noonan on Saturday February 20, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to GOVT 2305 at University of Texas at Dallas taught by Iliyan Iliev in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 37 views. For similar materials see American National Government in Political Science at University of Texas at Dallas.


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Date Created: 02/20/16
Logic of American Politics Why do we need government? • If not for government there would be these options: ○ Anarchy ○ Kings and Queens ○ Emperors • Formal rules often mean internal peace and better economies Factions: • Different groups with different preferences ○ Cross-cutting: heterogeneous ○ Reinforcing: homogeneous America's current preferences: • Mostly reinforcing • Political polarization results between Democrats and Republicans ○ Political polarization is currently increasing each year Politics: • How people manage political polarization • The process through which individuals reach an agreement on collective action--even if they still disagree on the goals of the action ○ Successful politics requires bargaining and compromise ○ The more people involved in the process and the more complex the issue, the negotiation generally fails. Constitution and Governments: • Constitution:creates governing institutions and rules for the political process. • Offices: positions that confer on their occupants' authority and responsibilities. • Government: consists of the institutions created by the constitution, must also: ○ Combine and rank preferences ○ Agree on a course of action ○ Implement and enforce collective choice • Prisoner's Dilemma: ○ When individuals look out for themselves, the outcome isn't generally the best for everyone. ○ Example of 2 players given the choice to squeal or keep quiet:  Actual outcome: both squeal and go to jail for 3 years  Best outcome: both keep quiet, go to jail for 2 years • Agenda setting: ○ The government has the responsibility to order preferences, as well as ordering the votes/pairing of alternatives ○ Solution:  Create institutions with rules and norms that everyone follows  People need to know and consent to rules Levels of Choices and Policies • Constitutional Choice: ○ Sets the rules of the game, creates institutions that make other choices ○ Ex: The US Constitution • Collective Choice: ○ Makes operational choices that implement basic governance that is consistent with the constitution ○ Ex: Congress, bureaucracy, states • Individual Choice: ○ Choices made by the individual citizens, constrained by the other levels of choices ○ Ex: paying taxes, voting, buying a house


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