Majors

At Duke Kunshan University, each major consists of an interdisciplinary set of courses that integrate different forms of knowledge and a distinct set of disciplinary courses that provide expertise in specific areas.

Institutions and Governance/Economics
The Institutions and Governance/Economics major allows students to study the formal and informal rules that societies use to govern themselves at the local, national, and global levels. Students will be exposed to the deep political science, economic, sociological, historical and anthropological explorations of institutional designs in a variety of constructs, such as governments, interest groups and social movements, media, and religion, among others.

Required Courses

Divisional Foundation Courses
Interdisciplinary Courses
Disciplinary Courses

Recommended Electives for the Major

Courses listed below are recommended electives for the major. Students can also select other courses in different divisions as electives.

Career Path

This major will prepare students for a variety of jobs requiring expertise in public administration, international development, political risk analysis, multinational investment and work in the non-profit sector at both the domestic and international levels. Graduates may also pursue further studies in economics, management, public policy, politics and other areas.

Foundational Questions in Social Science

People everywhere ponder and debate fundamental questions: What does it mean to be human? How is society to be ordered? What is a moral life? Our ancestors asked such questions as well: it is likely that those questions lie at the origins of humanity itself. They also provide the foundations for much of the most important research in the social sciences today. This course examines the ways in which social scientists from a diversity of disciplines approach these fundamental questions. Study material for the course will include foundational texts from across the social sciences, as well as cutting-edge research from the present day. This course will not attempt to answer these vast questions, or provide neat solutions for students: rather, we want to excite students about the social sciences and whet their appetites for further study.

Mathematical Foundations 1

The fundamental concepts and tools of calculus, probability, and linear algebra are essential to modern sciences, from the theories of physics and chemistry that have long been tightly coupled to mathematical ideas, to the collection and analysis of data on complex biological systems. Given the emerging technologies for collecting and sharing large data sets, some familiarity with computational and statistical methods is now also essential for modeling biological and physical systems and interpreting experimental results. MF1 is an introduction to differential and integral calculus that focuses on the concepts necessary for understanding the meaning of differential equations and their solutions. It includes an introduction to a software package for numerical solution of ordinary differential equations.

Introduction to Applied Statistical Methods

This course will introduce students to common statistics used in social science research articles and the media with the goal of making them informed and critical consumers of research results reported by various sources. Students will gain understanding of the conceptual basis and purpose of different statistics, as well as the formulas for deriving them. The relationship of statistical analysis to other components of the research process will be explicated. The course will be taught using team-based learning with an emphasis on the application of new concepts, knowledge, and skills in the classroom. Application activities will include interpreting statistics presented in tables and graphics in research articles and the media, critiquing conclusions drawn from statistics, and using statistical software, such as SPSS or Stata, to conduct statistical tests and generate tables and graphics.

Conceptions of Democracy and Meritocracy

What are the best arguments for and against government elected by the people? What are the best arguments for and against government that is led by the most able and virtuous? Are these two conceptions compatible? What are the strengths and liabilities of each conception? Can a viable government have both democratic and meritocratic elements, and if so, what might be the best combination? How is merit to be assessed in picking the most able and virtuous leaders? To what extent can or should voters in a democracy vote for the most able and virtuous? Readings from philosophy, political theory, history, and sociology will address these questions. Potential application of these theories to the United States and to China, among other countries, will be discussed.

Political Economy of Institutions

Without paying attention to institutions, one cannot understand why some societies are wealthy and others poor; why some are innovative and others un-creative; or why some are politically stable and others in perpetual turmoil. As such, this course should be of direct interest to students of economic development, economic history, social inequality, and democratization, among other fields of social inquiry. The first half of the course delineates the subject and covers the social mechanisms that govern institutional transformations. Attention is paid to the pace of institutional transformations, latent change, social inertia, political revolutions, and links among beliefs and behaviors. The second half focuses on the social functions of institutions. Again, the emphasis is on pertinent analytical methodologies. The functions studied include: the control of free riding, credible commitment, redistribution, the provision of collective goods, coordination, protection of expectations, generation of common knowledge, governance, rent seeking, and the reduction of transaction costs.

Policy Making Processes

(Co-Listed with Political Science Specialization): This course is designed to teach students how to “read” a country’s political and economic system. The course will examine how the evolution of different institutional frameworks influences the way in which political choices are made. In particular, the course will focus on the institutional design choices available to constitution writers: 1) presidential and parliamentary executives; 2) legislatures and their task structures (debate, oversight, law preparation, budgeting); 3) electoral laws and political parties; 4) veto-institutions, such as judicial oversight, federal delegation of authority to political subsidiaries; and 5) consequences of institutional choice: economic performance and political regime support.

Global Governance

This course provides an overview of the evolving architecture, processes and variable outcomes of global governance. Governance, at whatever level of social organization it occurs, refers to the systems of authoritative rules, norms, institutions, and practices by means of which any collectivity, from the local to the global, manages its common affairs. Global governance is generally defined as an instance of governance in the absence of government. There is no government at the global level: the UN General Assembly is not a global parliament, and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is not the president of the world. But there is governance, of variable effectiveness. The course is divided into four sections. The first briefly introduces the subject. The second examines the core elements in the traditional architecture of global governance—its institutional and legal foundation. The third surveys emerging trends in that architecture. The fourth (and longest) section explores the key policy processes performed by/in/through global governance, addressing how and why they differ across different issue areas.

Modern Chinese Politics

In this course we will examine contemporary Chinese politics, covering regime institutions and processes, policies and their effects, and the dynamics of political development. We will begin with a brief overview of Chinese political history since the founding of the People’s Republic, then discuss the reform era beginning in 1978. We will address the role of the Chinese Communist party and central government, as well as the role of subnational government. We will examine state-society relations and political participation and protest as well as economic and social policy. We will briefly cover China’s international political and economic relations before concluding with a discussion of the policy challenges China faces in the future.

Senior Seminar: Advanced Topics

Economics Principles

A survey of basic tools in economics. Examination of how commodity demand is determined, what affects supply of the commodity, how price is determined, when optimal market allocation of resources and failure occur, and basic topics concerning the aggregate economy. Students will apply these principles to contemporary social science issues.

Intermediate Microeconomics I

Introduction of the concepts of preferences and technologies. Intermediate development of the theory of demand, supply and competitive equilibrium from individual preferences and technologies. Income and substitution effects, uncompensated demand and marginal willingness to pay. Conditions under which competitive markets result in efficient outcomes. Conditions under which government policy has the potential to increase efficiency. Tension between economic efficiency and different notions of equity.

Intermediate Microeconomics II

Calculus-based generalization of the theory of demand and supply developed in Intermediate Microeconomics II. Individual behavior in environments of risk and uncertainty. Introduction to game theory and strategic interaction. Adverse selection, moral hazard, non-competitive market structures, externalities, public goods.

Introduction to Econometrics

Introduction to the theory and practice of econometrics. Estimation, hypothesis testing and model evaluation in the linear regression model. Observational and experimental methods to identify causal effects including instrumental variable and panel data methods. Lectures are supplemented by labs that use STATA.

Intermediate Macroeconomics

Intermediate level treatment of macroeconomic models, fiscal and monetary policy, inflation, unemployment, economic growth.

Health Economics

Economic aspects of the production, distribution, and organization of health care services, such as measuring output, structure of markets, demand for services, pricing of services, cost of care, financing, mechanisms, and their impact on the relevant markets.

Environmental Economics & Policy

The role of the environment in the theory and practice of economics. Topics include ways in which markets fail to efficiently allocate resources in the presence of pollution, along with the array of policies regulators used to correct those failures; the empirical techniques used by economists to put values on environmental commodities; and an examination of questions related to everyday environmental issues, particularly those confronting the developing world.

Competitive Strategy & IO

Foundations of the field of industrial organization, including the theory of the firm, models of competition, market structure, pricing and dynamic models. Emphasis on theory with support from specific industries, including telecommunications, retail and airlines.

History of Monetary & International Crises

Course examines monetary/financial crises plaguing the world since the 16th century. Analyzes origin, unfolding, and impact of crises, debates generated by them, and formulation/implementation of policy measures. Attention is paid to international implications/connections on European/Asian money supply, banking/credit systems; reaction to South Sea Bubble and John Law Credit Systems in numerous European nations; experiments with paper money in America; rise/demise of gold standard in 19th/20th century; currency and exchange rate problems of last three decades. Case studies will be selected and assigned according to participants’ interests.

Economic History and Modernization of the Islamic Middle East

Economic development of the Middle East from the rise of Islam to the present. Transformation of the region from an economically advanced area into part of the underdeveloped world. Role of religion in economic successes and failures. Obstacles to development today. Topics: Islamic economic institutions, economic roles of Islamic law, innovation and change, political economy of modernization, interactions with other regions, economic consequences of Islamism.

Health Economics

Economic aspects of the production, distribution, and organization of health care services, such as measuring output, structure of markets, demand for services, pricing of services, cost of care, financing, mechanisms, and their impact on the relevant markets.

Prerequisite(s): ECON 202

Environmental Economics & Policy

The role of the environment in the theory and practice of economics. Topics include ways in which markets fail to efficiently allocate resources in the presence of pollution, along with the array of policies regulators used to correct those failures; the empirical techniques used by economists to put values on environmental commodities; and an examination of questions related to everyday environmental issues, particularly those confronting China, and the developing world.

Prerequisite(s): ECON 201

Environmental Justice: The Economics of Race, Place and Pollution

Minorities and low-income households bear a disproportionate burden from environmental pollution. The inequality may happen in many countries, cultures and contexts. This course examines ways in which environmental injustices in the USA, China and in the world may arise out of discriminatory behavior and/or market forces founded on individual, firm, and government incentives. The course also analyses policies that are aimed at providing fair treatment and equal protection from pollution regardless of race, color, or income. The course first sets the theoretical framework used to document and explain disproportionate exposures. Based on this foundation, students then review existing empirical evidence through case studies and evaluate competing explanations of sources of injustice. The objective of this course is to enable students to examine environmental justice issues using an economics framework, which provides a different perspective for evaluating policies to address environmental inequities observed in today’s world.

Prerequisite(s): ECON 101 Economics Principles, or consent of the instructor.