Professor Brams's Teaching

G53.2105: Formal Modeling in Political Science (graduate).  Applications of game theory—and an alternative strategic theory called "theory of moves"—as well as social-choice theory to a wide variety of strategic situations, principally but not exclusively in politics, will be examined.  Uses of strategy in voting in committees and elections, in political campaigns, in the defense and deterrence policies of nations, and in bargaining and coalition-building situations will be among the topics discussed.  Secrecy and deception as political strategies will also be analyzed.Although the applications of strategic thinking will be mainly to American and international politics, strategy in everything from the Bible to sports and business today will be studied, too.  Social-choice topics that will be analyzed include the manipulability of different voting systems, problems of achieving proportional representation in parliamentary democracies, and conflicts among different apportionment methods.  Fair-division procedures for resolving disputes will also be analyzed. 

V53.0844: Games, Strategy, and Politics (undergraduate).  Applications of game theory—and an alternative strategic theory scalled "theory of moves"—as well as social-choice theory to a wide variety of strategic situations, principally but not exclusively in politics, will be examined.  Uses of strategy in voting in committees and elections, in political campaigns, in the defense and deterrence policies of nations, and in bargaining and coalition-building situations will be among the topics discussed.  Secrecy and deception as political strategies will also be analyzed.

V53.0810: Political Engineering: The Design of Institutions (Undergraduate) Institutions are the rules by which societies govern themselves. In this course, the tools of economic theory, game theory, and social-choice theory will be applied to the rational-choice analysis of political institutions, whose consequences for society will be derived from assumptions about what individuals seek to maximize.

G53.2170: Mathematics and Democracy: Designing Better Voting and Fair-Division Procedures (graduate). This course focuses on the procedures, or rules of play, that produce outcomes in a democracy.  By making precise properties that one wishes a voting or fair-division procedure to satisfy and by clarifying relationships among these properties, mathematical analysis can strengthen the intellectual foundations on which democratic institutions are based, including trade-offs that might have to be made if several desirable properties cannot be satisfied simultaneously.  Practical problems of implementation, and experience with procedures that have been tried out, will also be discussed.