DPI-415: Comparative Politics and Policy

Semester: Fall

Credit: 4.0

Syllabus: Click here for syllabus

Faculty: Pippa Norris


Day Time Location
Term Start Date 8/31
Meet Day M/W 1:15 PM - 2:30 PM Littauer Bldg 332 (HKS)


This course provides the analytical knowledge and practical skills to understand comparative politics and policy worldwide.  It addresses a range of foundational topics:  (i) Concepts, theories, evidence, and methods in comparative politics; (ii) Classifying varieties of democratic and autocratic regimes, and processes of regime transition and consolidation; (iii) Institutional designs, including electoral systems, party systems, types of executives, and federalism; (iv) Channels of mass mobilization including through voting, protest activism, civil society organizations, media, civil disobedience, terrorism, and revolutionary upheavals; and (v) The performance of governance and public policies.  The course covers these issues by utilizing the methods and techniques of comparative politics.  You will learn about polities worldwide – as well as thereby enriching and deepening your understanding of your own nation. The orientation is problem and reform focused. Evaluation involves one workgroup class project as well as two individual papers.  An understanding of comparative politics is invaluable for a wide range of potential careers, whether working for international agencies, multilateral organizations, non-profit NGOs, international corporations, national governments, or NGOs.

John F. Kennedy School of Government 79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
617-495-1100 Get Directions Visit Contact Page