5 weeks (2-3 hours per week)





University of Hong Kong




Y.C. Richard Wong

Part One of a four-part course on the economic analysis of the state, law, and the economy and their interrelationships. Part one studies the contractual nature of the state, the logic of collective action, liberty and the theory of the democratic state.

本課程共有四部份,關於國家、法律和經濟的經濟分析及其相互的關係。 第一部份課程介紹國家的契約性質、集體行動的邏輯、自由,與及民主國家的理論。

Expected learning & outcomes

  • To understand how collective decisions are made with the use of economic concepts.
  • How the emergence of states in facilitating collective decisions have reduced incidences of violence and improved human welfare.
  • How economic concepts can be applied to tackle problems and conflicts, for example, through well-defined property rights, use of rule-based methods, voting rules, etc.
  • The application of the theory of social choice to illuminate the liberal and populist interpretation of voting and the relationship with theories of liberty and democracy.
  • Learn how actual politics can be viewed as the use of heresthetics or the art of manipulation to achieve political objectives.
  • 了解如何使用經濟概念作出集體決策。
  • 國家的出現如何促進集體決策、減少暴力事件並改善了人類福祉。
  • 如何應用經濟概念來解決問題和衝突,例如,通過明確的產權,使用基於規則的方法,投票規則等。
  • 應用社會選擇理論來闡明自由主義和民粹主義對投票的解釋以及與自由和民主理論的關係。
  • 了解如何將實際政治視為使用美學或操縱藝術來實現政治目標。

Skills you will learn

Analysis, Arts, Legal

About this course

Economic concepts often give a fresh and unobvious perspective when applied to the study of how the state, law, and the economy functions and are interrelated. This course teaches students essential economic concepts in an intuitive manner relevant to the study of political economy. Part One of the course is focused on developing the essential economic concepts. These are then applied to the study of the nature of the liberal democratic state and why it has to be a limited state in contrast to a populist democratic one.

Topics include the contractual nature of the state, public versus private goods, property rights and economic externalities, the logic of collective action, social choice theory, agenda control, the art of manipulation, and the compatibility of two ideas of liberty with the democratic state.

The use of interdisciplinary materials, empirical inference, game theoretic simulation, and cross-referencing with political philosophies and well-known historical cases, provide students an opportunity to connect different perspectives and deepen their understanding of the democratic state in a free society using economic concepts.

The economic concepts developed in Part One of the course will continue to be useful in the other three parts. Part Two covers the nature of the authoritarian state and party rule, rent seeking activity and its economic consequences, and interrelationships between democracy and economic growth. Part Three covers rule of law and their legal origins, consequences of legal origins for growth, law or state as determinants of economic growth, and transition from dictatorship to democracy and their permanence. Part Four is a study of nature of politics in pre-industrial states with examples drawn from China, Europe, the Islamic world, and India. We also discuss the relevance and limitations of the economic approach to the study of law and politics.

以經濟概念研究國家、法律和經濟作用,與及如何相互關聯時,往往產生一種新鮮但不明顯的觀點。 本課程以與政治經濟學研究相關的直觀方式教授學生基本經濟概念。 課程的第一部份著眼於發展基本經濟概念,然後將這些應用於研究自由民主國家的性質,以及為什麼它必須是一個有限的國家,而不是民粹主義的民主國家。



本課程第一部份所談及的經濟概念在其他三個部份亦會談及。 第二部份研究威權國家和政黨統治的性質,尋租活動及其經濟後果,以及民主與經濟增長之間的相互關係。 第三部份包括法治及其法律淵源,法律淵源對發展的影響,法律或國家作為經濟發展的決定因素,以及從獨裁到民主的過渡及其永久性。 第四部份是對成為工業國家以前的政治性質的研究,其中的例子來自中國,歐洲,伊斯蘭世界和印度。 我們還討論了從經濟學角度研究法律與政治的相關性和局限性。


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