Leanne C. Powner

Curriculum Vita

Publications, Papers, and Research

Teaching and Course Materials
General and Writing
Intro to Comparative Politics
Intro to World Politics
Political Economy of Developed Democracies

Summer Academic Working Group

External Links


Introduction to World Politics

This page contains many, though not all, of the extensive set of documents and handouts that I've developed for my students in PS 160 Introduction to World Politics (usually TA'ing for Jim Morrow). Some of these activities were published in Powner and Bennett, Applying the Strategic Perspective (3rd edition), or appear on the Principles of International Politics student website. Many of the worksheets are suitable for an introductory modeling class, or any class which aims to expose students to the basic ideas of formal modeling. Some documents are listed here but not yet available in PDF format; they are either under development or I've just been too lazy or busy (you pick) to get them converted and uploaded.

You are welcome to use any of these documents in your own teaching provided that you agree to the terms of use below. These documents represent an enormous investment of time on my part, and the terms of use simply ask you to respect that. Other resources of interest may be on the General/Writing page.

Duplication of these documents is permitted for classroom use provided that the copyright notice, if present, remains intact, and the documents are not altered in any way other than to correct obvious typographical errors ("angels" rather than "angles") and/or to replace the course title on the document with your own. Duplication for classroom use includes permission to post the documents in electronic form to protected course management sites (such as CTools, WebCT, or Blackboard); for non-protected sites, please simply link students to the original document postings on this site.


Quick Links:
Basic Modeling Concepts in World Politics: handouts and assignments
History Comes Alive
International Political Economy
Teaching Tools and Lesson Plans


Basic Modeling Concepts in World Politics: Student Homework Assignments and Handouts

Make Your Own Extensive Form Games - framework for students to create four simple (two-actor, three-node) extensive form games.

Median Voter Theorem - The US, Canada, and Mexico negotiate the NAFTA agreement. Two-page assignment featuring two sets of issue negotiations and power-weighted voting; paired issues with the same actors facilitate conversion into a spatial model as a class activity or teaching tool.

Solving Strategic Form Games - Handout reviewing how to solve a strategic-form game. Prisoner's Dilemma used as an example. (NB: not an assignment, just a handout) See also the animated powerpoint Walk-Through on the PiP website.

Spatial Models

With Circular Indifference Curves

German Reunification and the Fate of Berlin - Following the text's end of the Cold War theme, this page asks students to create a simple spatial model representing interaction between Kohl and Gorbachev over the security of Berlin and policy towards East German refugees. Allows a good introduction of issues of types and uncertainty as a preview of the next text chapter.

Domestic Turmoil and East Asian Security - Advanced spatial modeling concepts applied to interaction between Taiwan and Mainland China over integration and regional security. Integrates ideas of war as a breakdown in bargaining, domestic politics, uncertainty/types, faces of power, and suggests some links between security and IPE in the context of leader security. Students need a solid understanding of indifference curves to complete this assignment; advanced students are invited to convert this scenario into an extensive form game with uncertainty.

With Non-Circular Indifference Curves

US Assistance in the Nicaraguan Civil War - In development. Please email if interested in beta version.

Games with Uncertainty - Contains three separate sets of two-actor extensive form games with one information set: enough games to allow your students to practice and master this skill. Set I includes 'The Jerry Springer Game,' in which Pat and Chris confront allegations of infidelity without ever using a single gender-specific pronoun. Set II includes Bush and Hussein, the Japan-EU trade relationship, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Double-Zero Option, a three-type game used as a challenge for students. Set III includes Kohl, Gorbachev, and Berlin (reprised from the spatial model worksheet, providing an opportunity to discuss how the choice of modeling framework affects the kind of conclusions we can draw), the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court, EU-WTO negotiations on agriculture protection, the Yom Kippur War, and a challenge game of the appeasement at Munich, where a prior move by Hitler causes pooling of types at the point of Chamberlain's decision. The set also includes an incomplete game composing both Bush-Hussein matches above, where both players face uncertainty. **Please note that pages in the middle of the document are out of order.

Make Your Own Strategic Form Game - "Preferences, Choices, and Common Games" takes students through the steps of creating and solving a strategic form game, then comparing those payoffs to the logic of other simple, common games.* References a document currently unavailable electronically, which contains tables from the old BdM workbook with payoff structures from common games (prisoner's dilemma, stag hunt, chicken, battle of the sexes, deadlock, etc.).

Battle of the Sexes and First Mover Advantage - Students create preference orderings and extensive-form games for Franco-British interaction over which Chunnel lanes would travel in each direction. The extensive-form games then collapse into a Battle-of-the-Sexes strategic form game which emphasizes the importance of the first mover advantage. (NB: The term "battle of the sexes" does not appear.)


History Comes Alive

Backgrounder handout on the Cold War - Most of our current freshmen were born as the Cold War was ending. This gives them a quick and dirty, two-page timeline of key events and personalities.  MS Word (*.doc) format.

Negotiating at Munich - two-day in-class simulation. Four teams (Czechoslovakia, Germany, UK, and US/USSR) receive private information from contemporary diplomatic documents about what their side knew and believed during the crisis. All teams receive public information/common knowledge from contemporary news accounts. Several rounds of negotiation between Germany and the Czechoslovaks reveal rapidly that given what each side believes about the cost of war, the value of the outcome, and the chance of winning, no negotiated outcome appears feasible (even though analysts with full information can see otherwise). The intervention of the UK and US (albeit indirectly - this team can be dropped if necessary) introduces a revaluation and also a changed probability, so that a zone of agreement is clear to the parties. This simulation is not fully written up. If you are truly interested in adopting it, please email me with a couple weeks' notice and I'll be happy to get it put together for you.


International Political Economy

Comparative Advantage worksheet - appropriate for homework or in-class partner activity. The logic of comparative advantage, as revealed when a disaster in Ann Arbor destroys all commercial sources of beer and pizza so that two frats must produce their own.  

Hegemonic Stability Theory and Game Theory

General Logic (trade theory) - Prussia, France, and the UK, 1860s. In development. Please email if interested in beta version.

Relative and Absolute Gains - three-player PD. In development. Please email if interested in beta version.


Teaching Modeling Results: Instructor Plans and Student Handouts

Powner and Croco (2005) contains lesson plans and student handouts for the following topics:
Prisoner's Dilemma and the Problems of Cooperation (Morrow 1994)
Median Voter Theorem (Black)
Bureaucratic Politics and Crisis Decision-Making (Allison 1969) 
Power, Motivation, and Uncertainty in War Outcomes
War as Bargaining (Fearon 1995)
Alliance Reliability and War Diffusion (with extensions to Balance of Power and Power Transition Theory)

For Fearon (1995), see also "Negotiating at Munich," above.

Allendoerfer, Jo, and Powner (2007) contains a detailed lesson plan and all necessary supporting materials for interactive teaching of mixed strategies. The lesson plan contains adaptations for both exposure-oriented and mastery-oriented versions, along with student handouts, assessment ideas, and adaptations for advanced learners.



5700 Haven Hall  -  505 South State Street  -  Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1045
Site designed and maintained by Leanne Powner,
LPowner@umich.edu. Last updated 16 August 2007.