Students visiting this page for the first time should read through the entire syllabus: the course description, the course requirements, and the course outline. Beyond this initial reading, this web-based syllabus is designed to be used throughout the semester. Below you will find links to the assignments for each class session. Where possible, reading assignments have been linked to electronic versions available on the Internet. Other readings can be found under the "Materials" section of the Yale "classes" server. You will also find many other useful items on the Yale classes server, such as class notes and data. If you have any questions or comments about the web page or the course, please contact me.
[ Course description ] [ Requirements ] [ Course Outline ] [ Contact Instructor ]
Friday, April 27: Electronic copies of senior essays are due to email@example.com.
This year long senior seminar is the capstone of the International Studies Major. Students are expected to apply the skills and substantive knowledge they have acquired from the required courses of the major to do research on a question pertaining to international studies. The skills include the ability to do research in foreign languages, formal analytical tools from micro and macroeconomics, and statistical analysis.
This is a research-oriented seminar. It assumes that you have background and interest in a topic in international studies. The purpose of this course is to teach you how to conduct research in your area of interest. Thus, you should come to this class with a research question. This course provides the opportunity of in depth research on your question – with the assistance of your colleagues in the class.
The substantive topic for this senior seminar is international cooperation. This course addresses why governments enter into international arrangements and with what effects. We will study the effects of these arrangements on measures of material well-being such as economic growth and the environment. We will also look at the effect of international arrangements on measures of stability such as regime transition.
How does one assess the effectiveness of international arrangements? The answer eludes straightforward observation. What one observes in the world are not random experiments. Governments enter into international agreements under certain conditions. Outcomes are the result of both the effects of international arrangements and of these conditions. One must be able to identify what part of the outcome should be attributed to selection and what part to performance.
Hence, before answering questions about the effects of international agreements, we must first address the question of why governments enter into these agreements in the first place.
While the questions of selection and performance are interconnected and we will address both in this course, students may prefer to focus on a selection question (why governments enter into international arrangements) or focus on a performance question (what are the effects of international arrangements) for their research project. Projects may be broadly theoretical, or narrowly descriptive (or anything in between). Substantively, students may choose to focus on any number of different international arrangements (e.g., IMF or World Bank arrangements, alliances or treaties, or trade agreements such as the WTO). With permission, students may also pursue a research topic outside of the area of international arrangements, provided it fits within the broader framework of international studies.
We will approach research questions from 3 methodological perspectives:
(1) formal theory (2) large-n empirical work (3) case study empirical work.
• Students who have taken some game theory or formal modeling are encouraged to try their hand at formal approaches to research questions. (Recall what you learned in Econ 115 & 116.)
• Students who have statistical training are encouraged to do large-n empirical work. Data will be made available to the class. (Recall what you learned in Stat 102.)
• Students who prefer case study work should choose their cases analytically by considering different “types” of cases that a question identifies. Once the “type” of case is identified, the student can refer to data to learn which country exemplifies the type the student wishes to explore. (Here your linguistic skills can be used. Group courses also may be helpful.)
• Students interested in a particular country or region must also reference the larger database to gain an understanding of where their particular case lies in the broader distribution of cases. Such students should use the data set to identify other cases similar to the one that interests them, as well as counterfactual cases. (Language skills and Group courses.)
Week 1 (1/16/07): Feedback
Week 2 (1/23/07): Diamond, Jared. 1999. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Week 3 (1/30/07) Beaty, Andrew. What factors motivate countries to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty?
Week 4 (2/6/07): Dremov, Ivan. Economic reasons for IMF Program Participation in the 1990s.
Week 5 (2/13/07): Boutelle, Betsey. What do the results of the 2006 election in Mexico tell us about Mexican perceptions of NAFTA and free trade?
Week 6 (2/20/07): Marez, Monique. Political Corruption and Foreign Direct Investment.
Week 7 (2/27/07): Natasha Rampa. Female Genital Mutilation: How Legislation and Policies Affect the Eradication Process.
Week 8 (3/6/07):Debevoise, Elizabeth. The Effect of Debt Relief on Growth.
Week 9 (3/27/07): Seshan, Nikhil. Diversity, Religiosity and Inter-Religious Violence.
Week 10 (4/3/07): Roundtable on research progress. Discussion: What is an explanation?
Week 11 (4/10/07): Stephanie Speirs. International Criminal Courts.
Week 12 (4/17/07): Caroline Savello. The Effect of IMF Lending on the Poorest Countries.
Week 13 (4/24/07): Review
Professor Vreeland's Contact Information:
James Raymond Vreeland
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science
Office location: 124 Prospect Street (Brewster Hall) - Room 305. For directions, use this link.
Office hours: Tuesdays 2pm-4pm.