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TTU / Political Science / POLS 2371 / What are the main branches of political science?

What are the main branches of political science?

What are the main branches of political science?


School: Texas Tech University
Department: Political Science
Course: Comparative Politics
Professor: Siva palani
Term: Spring 2017
Cost: 50
Name: Comparative Politcs
Description: Review answers from in lecture notes.
Uploaded: 02/21/2017
11 Pages 185 Views 4 Unlocks

Comparative Politics Review Exam #1

What are the main branches of political science?

Politics: Human behavior involving the use of power and influence,  accomplishing goals individuals can’t accomplish themselves

Politics Science: The study of politics in a scientific manner Main Branches of Political Science

-American Politics

-Public policy and administration

-Political Theory

-International Relations (IR)

-Comparative Politics (CP)

Comparative Politics: Examines political behavior and institutions within  countries worldwide  

-Politics vary tremendously between countries  

*Political behavior: voting in elections, positions on policies and leaders  *Political Institutions: Parliamentary vs presidential

1. Difference between comparative politics and international  relations

What are the different types of democratic measure?

Comparative Politics: Politics within countries

International Relations: Between nations

2. Five steps in the scientific process

-Ask a question  If you want to learn more check out What is the largest magazine by circulation?

-Generate a theory or model

-Derive hypothesis from theoryIf you want to learn more check out What is the fluid mosaic model?

-Test hypothesis with evidence

-Evaluate hypothesis and theory

3. Difference between theory and hypothesis

Hypothesis: Hypotheses are testable implications of theory. -Hypotheses and Falsifiability

-Connect theory to the real world

-Generates real world expectations, if theory is true

Theory: set of logically consistent statements that explain why things occur. -Theories should seek to establish causation

What is the modernization theory?

4. Identify variables in the empirical research design Dependent Variable

∗ The effect

∗ Response variable

∗ What you are interested in

Independent Variable(s)

∗ The cause(s)

∗ Explanatory variable (s)

Causal Mechanism

∗ The story

∗ Should be internally consistent

5. Construct validity

The extent to which the chosen operationalization corresponds to the  concept being measured

6. Falsifiability

Questions are potentially testable - there should be some imaginable  observation that could refute it

-Phenomenon not explained by current theory

-Often puzzling or counter-intuitive If you want to learn more check out What are the langerhan cells?
We also discuss several other topics like What is the cause of the variability?

7. Endogeneity

Can be explained as a change in preference due to new variables.

8. Common concepts in the different definitions of state Classical definitions

Max weber (1918/1958)

∗ “Is a human community that claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory”

Charles Tilly (1985)

∗ “relatively centralized, differentiated organizations, the officials of which, more or less, successfully claim control over the chief concentrated means of violence within a population inhabiting a large contiguous territory”

Douglass North (1981)

“Organization with a comparative advantage in violence, extending over a geographic area whose boundaries are determined by its power to tax constituents” If you want to learn more check out What is bubba psychology?

9. Two views of the state

Contractarian view (Hobbes) 

∗ Focuses on the conflict occurring between individuals and the state’s role  in

reducing the conflict

Predatory view (Tilly) 

∗ Talks about the conflict that can rise between individuals and the state

10. Difference between two views of the state

  Contractarian View: 

The State of Nature

∗ Meaning - There is NO state

∗ “War of every man against every man”

“Sovereign” (State) entity needed to control the war between individuals

  Predatory View: 

Potential Conflict between Individuals and the State

Under Social Contract, State takes care of Citizens We also discuss several other topics like What is plasma in the human body?

But, who takes care of the state?

State faces Security Dilemma - Internal & External Rivals

Need resources to tackle rivals

Exploit citizens for resources

State becomes the security threat

11. Social contract

∗ Agreement among individuals in the state of nature to create and  empower the state

∗ Under contract, individuals give up the natural rights in exchange for civil  rights that would be protected by the state (by force)

∗ Individuals give authority to the state in exchange of the protection 12. Predatory actions of the state

State Making - internal rivals

War Making - external rivals

Extraction - taxing citizens

Protection - protecting clients

These led to the world system we see today.

Things have changed over time…

13. Failed state

A state-like entity that cannot coerce or control the inhabitants of a given  territory (In lecture definition)

Ex: Somalia and its history throughout the years.  

14. Substantive vs. Procedural view on democracy

Substantive: Classifies political regimes based on the outcomes they produce For democracies, this usually means things like

-Personal Freedom

- Political Rights

-Limited Government

- Property Rights

Procedural View: Classifies political regimes based on institutions and  procedures

Also, argues that no normatively “good” or other outcomes necessary for to  name as democracy

-Ignores Outcomes

(Example - Dahl’s Concept of Democracy)

15. Two dimensions of Dahl’s democracy

1. Contestation

Def: The extent to which citizens are free to organize themselves to compete for their preferred policy outcomes. – How much freedom do they have?

2. Inclusion

Def: Captures who gets to participate in democratic process - Who is Free? Democracies (or polyarchies) have high contestation and inclusion

16. Different types of democratic measure

Three dominating measures in the field



-Freedom House

*Each measure produces ratings of each country for every year for at least  the past 40 years.

17. DD, Polity, Freedom house – type and what they measure PACL/DD:  

Minimalist or Procedural Approach

A dichotomous measure (Dictatorship or Democracy / 0 or 1) 4 Questions:

1. Elected Chief Executive (President, PM)?

2. Elected Legislature (Congress, Parliament)?

3. More than one party competing?

4. Alternation in power?

 if Yes to all - Democracy

 -if No to anyone - Dictatorship


Also, a Minimalist Measure

Continuous Scale - from -10 through +10

Based on Five Different Attributes or Dimensions

∗ Competitiveness of Executive Recruitment

∗ Constraints on Executive  

∗ Openness of Executive Recruitment

∗ Competitiveness of Participation  

∗ Regulation of Political Participation

 Scores on these five categories combined to create a final score 

Freedom house: 

Substantive Measure - Looks at Outcomes

Continuous 1 to 7 Scale

Scored based on two dimensions

-Political Rights

-Civil Rights

 Scores combined to a final score

18. Modernization & Survival theory  

 Modernization theory predicts that democracy is more likely to  emerge and survive as countries become wealthier and develop over  time.

Causal Story: Economic Transition → Political Transition

Development → Democracy

Development has implication for both emergence and survival

 What happens in economic development and political development  similar to what happened in Europe

-Agricultural to Industrial

-Rural to Urban

-Agricultural and Production to Services

-Authoritarianism to Democracy

  Survival theory: Democracy will be more likely to survive in wealthy  countries but wealth has nothing to do with democratic emergence  (Main Author - Adam Przeworski)

Emergence of democracy not more common in wealthy countries ∙ Regime transition process unknowable and not inherently democratic Wealthy democracies, on the other hand, are far more likely to survive

∙ Wealthy individuals and elites prefer democracy due to risk ∙ Poor country citizens and groups are more likely to take a chance on  autocracy

∙ This also explains observed pattern of wealthy democracies

19. Dependent vs. Independent states

Modernization for Dependent States: 

Incorporates predatory view of the state

-The predatory state wants and depends on taxes from individuals -Individuals/elites do not want to have their taxes taken from them at will

-Individuals have no protection from the state if their assets are specific or  they cannot move them (fixed assets)

-If individuals do have a credible way to conceal or move their assets, the  government must accept limits – democracy

Modernization for Independent States: 

Some states do not even depend on taxation but have other autonomous  means of funding. This has profound implications for democratization

-If they have a credible exit, individuals and elites exit, economy stagnates -If they have no exit, citizens stay and produce

-But the state never needs to compromise - it is not funded by its citizens -No limited government, perhaps rich depending on exit options

20. Fixed vs. Liquid Assets

Dependent - Fixed Asset - No credible threat to exit → Dictatorship Dependent - Liquid Asset - Credible threat to exit → Democracy Independent - No effect of credible threats

Elites - liquid assets - exit

Poor - Fixed assets or no assets - stay and produce

21. Connection between dependency, Assets and democracy -Dependence ↓ Prospects for democracy ↓  

-when aid reduces dependence, it inhibits democracy

-No/Less incentives for the states to make good economic performance -Evidence - Aid harms welfare of the citizens

-Prolong dictatorships through corruption and exploitation

22. Rentier state and resource curse

The Rentier State 

Definition: A rentier state is a state which drives all or most of its income  from the rent (sale) of natural resources to outside clients

The Resource Curse  

Definition: Refers to the paradox that countries with an abundance of natural resources tend to experience things like poor governance, low levels of  economic development, civil war and dictatorship.

23. Resource and dictatorships

-Fixed Assets - Less credible threats to Exit

-Revenue without taxation

-Low information environment

-Rewarding the military

24. Aid and Democracy

Foreign Aid makes states (dictatorships) Independent

We know that anything that reduces the dependence of state on its citizens  reduces the prospects for democracy

25. Inequality and democracy – causal mechanism

Basic prediction - In highly unequal societies, Rich people or economic elites  block attempts to democratization or conduct coups to reverse  democratization

Argument - Democracies in unequal societies create political cleavages  based on wealth and income

-Lead to economic redistribution from the rich to the poor

-Possibility that the poor to expropriate the rich through ballot box - -Costly to the rich

-Unequal societies never to become democracies

26. Land vs. Income inequality

Income Inequality → Large middle class → Liquid asset holders →

Have credible exit threats → No fear of redistribution to the poor →  democracy

Land Inequality → Land owners → Fixed asset holders → no credible exit  threats → fear of redistribution to the poor → Block democracy

(Ansell and Samuels 2010)

27. Civic culture

∙ A shared cluster of attitudes that encourages democracy Popular conceptions:

1. Almond and Verba

2. Inglehart

3. Putnam

28. Measuring civic culture

There are ways to measure civic preferences (but none are completely  accurate)

-We often measure attitudes and civic culture with another tool - Surveys

-Sample of individuals in different countries are asked questions about civic  culture

29. Social capital

Definition: a form of cultural and economic capital where social networks are  central, there is cooperation and trust. Markets produce goods and services  for a common good rather than for their own benefit.

30. Religions and democracy – causal story

Supports Democracy if: 

-Supports Individualism, Encouraging Literacy etc.


Does not support Democracy: 

-Has hierarchical, dictatorial structure

-Non-individualistic, communalism and consensus. Respect for authority.

-Political violence, no separation of religion and state, unequal treatment of  women

-Catholicism, Confucianism, Islam

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