» PPE Graduate Summer Program

 Given the growing concerns around COVID-19, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 PPE Summer Program. We will be accepting applications in 2021. Please check back. 



Application for the PPE Graduate Summer Program is currently closed. 

Applicants should be graduate students (MA or Ph.D) or incoming graduate students.


This weeklong summer seminar will combine the introduction of PPE methods with practical training and philosophical discussion. Topics include:

Rational Choice & Game Theory
Formal Political Theory: Spatial Theory & Coalitional Bargaining
Experimental Economic / Experimental Methods
Social Norms
Evolutionary Theory & Social Evolution
Agent-Based Modeling

Each morning, we will start with an hour on the methodology of model-based reasoning, tailored to the subject of the day. This session, led by the organizers, is meant to focus on both how to be a better consumer of models in the social sciences, and how to construct models with a clear interpretation in mind. 

There will be two main lectures a day, meant to provide a crash course in a particular set of methods. The aim is to get an overview of the methods that they can have a sense of what the main findings are, the basic domain of application of the method, and how to interpret the formalism.

Each day students will have a work period, in a small group setting, that gives them some hands-on practice using what they learned that day. Students will also be refining a PPE paper project with faculty mentors and peer discussants

On the last day of the workshop, students will offer short “pitches” of a paper project that they can carry out with the methods learned at the summer school.  Faculty will offer short works in progress talks to offer insight into how PPE projects are carried out.

We aim to keep the number of students relatively small (~25). This will make it easier for the lecturers and organizers to get to know each student and to address any specific questions they have along the way. One added benefit of this format is the substantial possibilities for networking among the participants. The overlapping interests they explore here and the friendships they form will likely lead to future research collaborations.

Students selected to attend will be provided with lodging (at Chapman University) and meals. Students only need to cover their own transportation to and from Chapman University. 

Jenna Bednar, Political Science, University of Michigan

Jean-Paul Carvalho, Economics, University of California, Irvine

Jerry Gaus, Philosophy, University of Arizona

Keith Hankins, Philosophy, Chapman University

Erik Kimbrough, Economics, Chapman University

Ryan Muldoon, Philosophy, University at Buffalo (co-organizer)

David Rojo-Arjona, Economics, Chapman University

Vernon Smith, Economics, Chapman University

John Thrasher, Philosophy, Chapman University (co-organizer)

David Wiens, Political Science, University of California, San Diego

Bart Wilson, Economics, Chapman University


For more details about this program, please contact Professor John Thrasher (thrasheriv@chapman.edu).