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GWU / Political Science / PSC 1001 / Comparative politics is the study of what?

Comparative politics is the study of what?

Comparative politics is the study of what?


School: George Washington University
Department: Political Science
Course: Introduction to Comparative Politics
Term: Fall 2018
Tags: Comparative Politics, political science, and Politics
Cost: 50
Description: These notes cover our next exam.
Uploaded: 10/16/2018
10 Pages 79 Views 9 Unlocks

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Comparative politics is the study of what?

∙ Comparative politics: study and comparison of domestic politics across  countries

o Specific and general knowledge

o Comparisons across countries

o Difficulty of predictions

∙ Comparative method:  

o Random sample

o Control/treatment groups

o Everything else constant

o Isolate causal factors

o Find limits

o Findings= correlation 

 *correlation does NOT mean causation

o Advantages: Don't forget about the age old question of Hellenism refers to what?

 More than 1 case

 Helps us understand WHY and HOW

o Limits:  

 World isn’t random sample

What are the contents of modernization theory?

 Small number of cases= can’t control for all differences

 Reverse causality

 Complex causality

 Fake relationship

o Causation: 

 High correlation

 Logical relationships

 Additional evidence

∙ Modernization Theory:  

o Capitalist democracies

o Value change

o Society becomes capitalist democracy

o Legacies

 Relationship between politics and economy change

 Explain regimes


o State: organization that maintains monopoly of force over given territory o Set of polit. Instits. That carry out policy= enduring

What is sovereignty?

o Sovereign

o Sovereignty: ability of state to carry out action or policies w/in territory o Public consent

o Social contract

o Regime: type of polit. System  If you want to learn more check out What is the meaning of anthropology?

o Institutionalized, but can be easily changed

o Either democratic or authoritarian

o Often embodied in constitution

o Government: leadership or elite in charge of running state. Not enduring  o State-building Don't forget about the age old question of What is the matrix organizations?

o Modern state emerged in W. Europe b/c of  

 Anarchy

 High pop. Density

 Valuable land

 Constant warfare

o Neo-patrimonialism (kleptocracy): rule by theft We also discuss several other topics like What is the difference between an hmo and ppo?

o Not autonomous

o Personalistic

o Weak b/c lack legitimacy

o Prey on society and econ.

o Conflict  

o Bureaucratic-rational state:  

o Rule based

o People in bureaucracy based on merit

o Autonomous

o Readings:

o FUKUYAMA: state scope vs. strength (what state does vs. its  effectiveness)  

o HERBST: War= increase in state scope and strength. War= state building Don't forget about the age old question of What are the basic probability rules?

 Centralization

 Capacity increases We also discuss several other topics like What is the arithmetic expression?

o BYMAN AND KING: Phantom States  

 Caused by legacies of colonization

 Weak state

 Heterogeneity

 Civil wars

 Foreign aid= reliance on external resources and revenue   Less interstate war= less nationalism, limited tax capacity,  neopatrimonialism  


o Self-determination: community’s right to choose its own destiny  o Nation: group that desires self-gov’t through independent state o Nationalism: pride in one’s people and belief that they have unique polit.  Destiny  

o Positive Force:

 Generate nation-states

 Self-determination

 Effective states b/c legitimacy

o Negative force:

 Challenge states

 Conflict

 Ignored by scholars b/c nationalism seen as neg. force  

o Ethnic nationalism: ethnic identity not everyone can be a member o Civic nationalism: based on polit. Principles anyone can be a member

o Secessionism: attempt by minority to exercise self-determination o Irredentism: territ. Claims made by state or national group to lands that lie  w/in another state

o Federalism 

o Readings:

o McGarry and O’Leary: Political Regulation of National and Ethnic  Conflict

 Elimination:

∙ Genocide

∙ Forced mass pop. Transfers

∙ Partition and/or secession

∙ Integration and/or assimilation

 Management:

∙ Hegemonic control

∙ Arbitration

∙ Cantonisation/federalism

∙ Consociationalism

o Nationalism still exists (Brexit, Trump, Le Pen, etc.)  

Social Forces and Collective Action

o Collective action 

o Social movement: organized, sustained action

o Spontaneous

o Consequence of civil society

o political

o Collective claims

o Challenge status quo

o Informal, loose boundaries

o Costs can be high

o Civil society: collectively organized groups that operate independently of  state to achieve goal

o civil society I: a-political, voluntary association  

o civil society II: society outside of state

 can strengthen or weaken state/regime  

o Social capital: networks, norms, and social trust that facilitate coordination  and cooperation for mutual benefit

o Consequences of Collective Action= democracy and states work better, econ  advantages  

o Readings:

o PUTNAM: views society as a-political and subversive, tool to strengthen democracy Tocqueville

  devalues polit. associations, social movements, nonprofits


 Civil Society I= emphasis on associative life help gov’t  


 Civil Society II= action independent of state and can resist  

tyranny oppose gov’t  

∙ Gramscian view of civil society= form of resistance

o Technology can encourage or inhibit civil society

 Encourage: easier communication, mobilization, participation  Inhibit: gov’t censorship, control  

∙ Companies that control social media depend on gov’t  

Democracy and Democratization

∙ Democracy: political system in which political power exercised either directly  or indirectly by people  

o Accountability

o Participation

o Competition  

∙ Modernization theory: econ changevalue changeregime change ∙ Parliamentary system:

o Fusion of executive and legislature

o Executive= prime minister= head of gov’t (NOT head of state) o Strong gov’t w/ parliament

o One-party vs. coalition gov’t

 Coalition= many parties= weaker gov’t?  

o No fixed electoral terms

o Exercise of power

 Concentrated, centralized

 Depends on coalition

 Effective decision making

∙ Presidentialism: 

o Separation of powers

o Executive and legislative branch

o Fixed terms

o Popularly elected president (direct)

o Head of state= head of gov’t

o Exercise of power

 Checks and balances= diffusion of power= obstacles to decision making

∙ Semi-presidentialism:

o Popularly elected, fixed term president

o Parliament= prime minister and cabinet

∙ Federalism 

∙ Political parties: orgs that seek and hold political power

o Programmatic vs. clientelist

o Programmatic: vary in ideology

∙ Single-member district: 

o 1 member per district

o Winner take all

o Add up seats

o Create majority

o Effects:

 Manufactured majority

 2 party system

 1 party gov’t

 Excludes large % of population



∙ Concentrated power for majority ∙ Effective gov’t

∙ Minorities may lose

∙ Concentration of power in  


∙ Checks and balances

∙ Proportional representation 

o Multiple members per district

o Votes for party list

o Seats awarded proportional to vote

o Proportionality affected by

 District size

 Members/district

 Threshold

o Effects of PR:

 Multiparty systems

 Coalition gov’ts

 Extreme/niche parties

 More inclusive



∙ Coalition gov’ts

∙ Less concentrated power

∙ Wider representation

∙ Gov’t instability= less effective

∙ Gridlock?

∙ Instability

∙ Runoff elections: 2 round election, winner with 50% + of votes o Good for democracy

o More parties

o President= more legitimacy

o Candidates move toward center

∙ Readings: 

o SEN: Democracy= Universal Value

o FUKUYAMA: Democracy= triumph

o ZIBLITT: illiberal democracy, soft-fascism, polarization, nationalism  (pessimistic)  


∙ Authoritarianism:  

o Limited (no) political pluralism

o Leaders not constitutionally responsible to public

o Limits on individual freedom

o Forms:

 Personal rule

∙ Neo-patrimonialism

∙ Monarchy/hereditary

∙ Cult of personality

 Military rule 

∙ Force

∙ Bureaucratic authority

∙ Crony capitalism One-party rule

 Single party regime:

∙ Ideology

∙ Party organization

∙ clientelism

 Theocracy: 

∙ Religious authority

∙ ideology

∙ Totalitarianism:  

o Eliminates social and political pluralism

o Totalizing, utopian ideology

o Mobilization

o Often includes violence

∙ Competitive authoritarianism 

o Formal elements of democracy

o Violate democracy

o Blurred boundaries

o Not free/ partly free (Freedom House)

o Slow and incremental transition from liberalism  

∙ Resource curse:

o More likely to be authoritarian

o Less need to tax population

o Resources for security forces

o Higher political stakes= corruption and conflict  

o Arab Spring 

∙ Readings:

o LEVITSKY AND WAY: Competitive authoritarian regimes don’t meet  standards of democracy OR authoritarianism

 Regular and highly competitive elections

 Weak legislature

 Subordinate judiciary (no judicial independence)  

 Legal and influential media

∙ Try to suppress independent media with libel laws  

 Paths to Competitive Authoritarianism:

∙ Authoritarian regime collapse b/c fell apart

∙ Authoritarian regime collapse b/c replaced by another

∙ Democratic regime collapse  

o DIAMOND AND MOSBACHER: resource curse= corruption,  authoritarianism, political and economic instability, civil war, less  competitiveness  

o GURIEV AND TREISMAN: “velvet fist” of new authoritarian gov’ts

 Don’t use violence (or used sparingly)  

∙ Propaganda

∙ Censorship

∙ Anti-West

∙ Co-optation

∙ Bribes  

o BROWNLEE ET. AL: Arab Spring= “modest harvest” b/c resource curse  (oil) weakened civil society  

Political Economy I- Fundamentals + Redistribution

∙ Public goods: goods that everyone benefits from

o Reduces incentive to provide privately

o Ex: infrastructure, education, healthcare, etc.

∙ Economic liberalism: free market capitalism

o Private ownership means of production

o Markets allocate resources

o “invisible hand” between supply and demand

o Minimal state role

∙ Communism: collective ownership of means of production

o State determines allocation of economic resources

 =state socialism

∙ Social democracy: limited state ownership

o Capitalism= important

o Large welfare state to compensate for market inequality  

∙ State-led development: mercantilism

o State directly promotes growth

o 2 approaches

 Import substitution

 Export-led development

∙ State capitalism: state-owned enterprises (SOEs)

o Heavy state intervention

o Reject free market ideas

o Trade focus

∙ Neo-liberalism: causes rises in inequality  

∙ Welfare state: state-funded social protection

o Taxes, benefits, services

o Redistribution

o Collectively protect against risk (social insurance)

o Reduces inequality  

∙ Inequality:

o Gini coefficient

o Inequality is inevitable

o Changing inequality involves state  

∙ Social investment 

∙ Readings:


 Europe experiencing lower fertility rates, more tech. innov.,  

multiculturality, labor market deregulation  

 Challenges to welfare state= post-indust. Societies (slower  

growth= neo-liberal critique), aging societies  

 Welfare= investment in human capital= stronger state not  easy to shift resources to social investment  

∙ Pro-growth spending

∙ Encourage productivity, employment  

∙ Support fertility

∙ Spend less on “passive” benefits


 Inequality in US rising faster than any other country= lower  social mobility

 Higher inequality in developing countries than advances  

countries (EXCEPT US)  

 Industrial revolution= rising inequality  

 Rising globalization= falling global inequality

 Human capital= less inequality  


 State capitalism up even in democratic state

 Econ depression= greater state intervention

 State capitalism rising b/c

∙ Elected leader in developing countries still autocratic

∙ Int’l trends= leaders question free market and neo-liberal  


∙ Democracy doesn’t necessarily lead to economic growth

 State capitalism can be threat b/c

∙ too much power in hands of few

∙ political instability

∙ inefficiency= economic collapse, which can affect global  


∙ some economies might become too strong

∙ autocratic leader can cause conflict

Political Economy II- Determinants of Development  

∙ colonialism: decolonization= richer states dominate econ.

∙ dependent development 

∙ resource curse: countries rich in resources= worse economies  o Dutch disease: products get too expensive for other countries o Boom and bust

o Corruption

o conflict

∙ import substitution: industrialization (ISI0

o mid cent.- 1980s

∙ export strategy: ISI

o domestic production

 tariff barriers

 state-owned enterprises

 state planning

 overvalued currency  

∙ industrialization 

∙ inclusive institutions: available to everyone

o level playing field

o create right incentives

∙ extractive economic institutions:  

o predatory econ. Elite

o predatory rulers

o exclude public from economy

o lack right incentives and capabilities

o leads to neopatrimonialism  

o inclusive institutions= promote equal access, opportunity, public  institutions

o extractive institutions= corruption, low taxes, elitism

o inequality rising b/c  

 people demand more

 sluggish growth

 lack of trust in institutions

∙ Readings 

o Geography MATTERS

 Poor resource base

 Location, lack navigable rivers

 Climate, disease  

 Industry spreads to countries w/ good geography  

o Extractive vs. inclusive institutions  

o State power depends on elites AND resource base  

o Econ development= polit reform, not other way around

o Democracy does NOT mean political and economic growth  Globalization

∙ Globalization: intensification of linkages, relationships, dynamics across  borders

∙ Political globalization:

o Politics beyond nation-state

o NGOs

o International orgs

 UN

 IMF: International Monetary System

 World Bank: development

 EU (supranational)

o States lose sovereignty?

o Criticism of Washington consensus b/c neoliberal prescriptions  Austerity during crises

 Ignores need for effective states  

∙ Economic globalization:

o Trade integration

o Capital market integration

 Previously: capital controls

 Liberalization since 1970s

 Foreign direct investment transforms production

o Migration

o Results: trade competition, poverty down, inequality up  ∙ Societal globalization:

o Widening, deepening, speeding up of global social relations o Communications

o Ideas diffuse

o Waves of democracy occur more quickly

 Can also undermine democracy  

∙ Inequality 

o Rich get richer

o Middle class in developed countries gain some, but not much o Income stagnation in OECD countries  

o Some win, some lose  

∙ Readings:


 Globalization stalled b/c developing countries lose blue collar  jobs, gain white collar jobs

 Automation changes economy  

∙ Replaces labor

∙ Developing econs grow quickly

∙ Productivity increases

∙ Retraining to be competitive for higher wage work


 Richer get richer

 Middle class= least amount of income gain  

 Political power concentrated at nation-state

o Countries want to keep drawbridges up b/c

 Terrorism

 Econ dislocation= insecurity= immigrant fear

 Demographic changes

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