Models & Politics

Formal models are used in political science as abstract representations of political institutions and choices in order to focus attention on key logics and causal mechanisms in a political process. Good modeling requires fluency in technical fields such as game theory and social choice theory, as well as the substantive knowledge to craft an appropriate and insightful model for a specific application.

The Models & Politics subfield, instituted by the faculty in 2007, connects advanced training in formal modeling techniques (also commonly referred to as formal theory, positive political theory, or political economy) with innovative substantive research in political science. It is designed for students who plan to make significant use of formal modeling in their own research in American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, or Political Theory. This subfield is appropriate for students who wish to use formal models to structure and inform their empirical research, as well as those who wish to become “pure” modelers.

Models & Politics Directory

Name Research Interests Contact
Joel Middleton
Thad Dunning Political economy, ethnic politics, and comparative clientelism in developing countries; research design, causal inference, statistical methods, multi-method research
Ernesto Dal Bo Political Influence, Corruption, Social Conflict, Coercion, Morality
510 643-1606
Henry Brady Electoral Politics & Political Participation, Management Information Systems, Program Evaluation, Social Welfare Policy
510 642-5116
Rui De Figueiredo Institutional Analysis/Formal Theory, Game Theory, Mathematical Modeling, American Bureaucratic Structure and Performance
510 642-6452
Sean Gailmard Game theory & formal political theory, Principal-agent theory, Governance of New World empires, Bureaucratic politics & executive branch structure
510 642-4677
Robert Powell Mathematical Modeling, Rational Choice Theory, Game Theory, War, International Conflict, Weakly Institutionalized States, Deterrence
510 642-4635
Gerard Roland Comparative Economics, Economic Liberalization, Legislatures, Electoral Rules
510 642-4321