In public discourse, politicians and decision-makers are often described as resourceful, opportunistic actors driven by selfish interests. Reality is considerably more nuanced and less Machiavellian. Politicians often lack resources to make informed decisions, suffer from cognitive biases, and rely on misperceptions and stereotypes that are ultimately reflected on policy. Political elites are also responsible for a great deal of unrecognized work that cannot be explained simply by the desire to be re-elected. This course introduces students to the study of political elites and decision-making in European countries, drawing from historical and contemporary research in political science, psychology, and sociology. The course will pool insights from scholarship on elite behaviour in subnational, national, and supranational governments. Throughout the term we will learn: What drives individuals to run for office? How do politicians learn about policies? How do politicians coordinate with each other and make decisions? How do psychological biases influence the behaviour of politicians, and how can these biases be overcome? How do representatives build their image of the electorate? How do parties constrain legislators? By focusing on political elites, the course will help students understand the underlying challenges of the policymaking process as well as the pitfalls of representative democracy in Europe. More importantly, it will provide tools for students to address these challenges.