This course offers an introduction to political institutions. Students will learn about central political institutions across different political systems, the normative and policy-related implications of institutional choices and the factors that shape these choices. The course starts with an introduction into the scientific method and empirical research, which provide the basis for better understanding and critical reading of scientific literature. Over the course of the semester, we will focus on democratic and non-democratic regimes and study domestic political institutions, actors, processes, and outcomes. We will study electoral systems, parties, legislatures, governments, courts, veto players, and their interplay, whereby we will learn how different institutions constrain and incentivize political actors and influence states’ capacity for representation, mitigation of social conflict and policy-making.