Comparative politics is a field of political science that offers ideas and techniques for explaining differences and similarities between countries, institutions and groups. Its aim is to reach general conclusions about the way the political and social world works. This course introduces the core ideas and methods of comparative politics.
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It focuses on the comparison of post-communist states and the differences between the region and other parts of the world Western Europe, Africa, Latin America. The course considers some key themes in social and political science such as the state, democracy, political institutions, political culture and participation. The article argues that these trends are driven by differences in political decentralization for municipal authorities, variations in their administrative mandates over vending, and the degree of influence vendors hold as an electoral constituency.
Through a structured comparison of the governance of informal vendors across multiple cities, the article demonstrates how state violence manifests through everyday battles over access to public space. However, while populism centralizes power in the hands of the leader and emphasizes the unity of the people, multiculturalism grants cultural rights that strengthen societal autonomy, generating an inherent tension between these two modes of incorporation.
How are populist governments able to combine unity and fragmentation as well as centralization and autonomy? This article develops the concept of populist multiculturalism, focusing on the Movimiento al Socialismo MAS in Bolivia, which has supported autonomy rights while simultaneously curtailing their implementation. Specifically, it examines the implementation of indigenous autonomous governments and prior consultation and the relationship between indigenous organizations and the ruling party.
The article also extends this concept to Ecuador and Venezuela. Sarah J.
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Hummel, Sideways Concessions and Individual Decisions to Protest Sideways concessions to protest are policy reforms that decrease grievance among potential protesters, without being directly linked to the stated demands of the protest. By avoiding both the backlash effect of repression and the inspirational effect of direct concessions, they are theoretically powerful tools for quelling unrest. This article evaluates the effectiveness of sideways concessions at reducing individual mobilization potential using a survey experiment conducted in Kyrgyzstan in October The evidence shows sideways concessions are effective among respondents who were dissatisfied with the government and not optimistic about the future of the country.
The article also demonstrates the plausibility of these results in other settings, drawing on observational data from the Gezi Park protests in Turkey and the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine. Jeffrey W. Paller, Dignified Public Expression: A New Logic of Political Accountability Research on political accountability emphasizes elections and popular control, but often neglects how ordinary people hold their leaders to account in the context of daily life.
Dominant scholarly approaches emphasize the logic of electoral sanctioning and removal, missing the importance of mutual respect between representatives and citizens. This article introduces a new logic of democratic accountability based on the social practices, daily political behaviors, and public deliberation between representatives and citizens. Using urban Ghana as a study site, this article uncovers the mechanisms through which a theory based on respect works in practice.
By reconciling theories of political representation with deliberative democracy, the article places the voices of urban Ghanaians in conversation with Western political thought to broaden understandings of accountability in African democracies. Comparative scholarship highlights economic factors, electoral competition, and partisanship to account for service disparities.
Employing an original data set and qualitative case studies of health service provision in thirty-three metropolitan municipalities in Argentina between and , we find that mayors are likely to provide more services when they are not aligned with the governor. Unable to access the discretionary resources and electoral support from governors that aligned mayors enjoy, non-aligned mayors exploit automatic provincial revenue-sharing health transfers, which reward municipalities that provide more services and have more infrastructure, in order to build territorial power. These findings highlight the importance of non-alignment and the conditions under which formula-based transfers encourage local service provision.
If so, under what conditions? Our article addresses the puzzle of poor democratic performance in highly urbanized and industrialized post-communist states. Our research contributes to comparative debates about the links between economic development and democracy.
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Both conditions contribute to the demise of a dominant party system by encouraging a previously fragmented opposition to consolidate behind one large party capable of challenging the dominant party. Sharan Grewal and Steve L. Monroe, Down and Out: Founding Elections and Disillusionment with Democracy in Egypt and Tunisia Which electoral losers become the most disillusioned with democracy following the first free and fair elections? Exploiting surveys before and after founding elections in post-Arab Spring Egypt and Tunisia, we find that the most disillusioned losers were those residing in areas where the losing parties were strongest.
We argue that expectations matter. Losers whose parties are strong locally tend to overestimate their popularity nationally and thus become more disillusioned after the first elections. Beyond these attitudinal results, we find that these areas witnessed a greater increase in support for candidates from former autocratic regimes in subsequent elections. They suggest that decentralization may keep otherwise disillusioned losers invested in democracy. We argue that the prevalent mode of interactions among candidates, voters, and parties in local, district-level electoral markets shapes the strategic constraints faced by potential party switchers.
We suggest that strong linkages between voters and political parties reduce the market value of the candidates outside of their political parties, thereby constraining their inter-party mobility. These expectations are evaluated using candidate- and district-level data from Pakistan from — The results show that the strength of voter-party linkages in an electoral district, as measured by the lack of electoral volatility and the extent of straight-ticket voting in national and provincial elections, has a positive effect on the propensity of candidates to switch parties. The Andean countries in Latin America provide an interesting setting to analyze the possible causes for this variation.
We argue that two factors explain these divergent outcomes regarding GM seed sowing and reform efforts in Andean countries: i the time in which regulatory measures were attempted, and ii the quick structural change that GM seeds generate once introduced into a country. Carolyn E.
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By framing their actions as non-political, these groups engage in a deep-seated critique of the possibilities presented by democratic politics and a lack of perceived efficacy or legitimacy of institutionalized contestation. Perhaps more importantly, it means that opposition politics are occurring in an environment without institutional incentives for cooperation.
This article argues that differences in perceptions of political instability through the locations of political violence in the two countries have impacted growth through investment decisions. In Pakistan, kidnapping and terrorism in major cities has led to the domination of rent-implicated investment, thus limiting growth.
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In India, by contrast, political violence in the periphery or targeting minorities remains socially distant to the perspectives of investors, leading to more productive investments, and thus higher growth. The article provides a new set of explanations for differences in growth among middle-income countries by highlighting political instability and the salience of violence, the demand for rents as investments, and the limits of institutional explanations for growth outcomes. Konrad Kalicki, Security Fears and Bureaucratic Rivalry: Admitting Foreign Labor in Japan and Taiwan To remain competitive in the global marketplace, states have increasingly been forced to supplement their domestic labor resources with foreign manpower.
However, their admission policies for low-skilled workers exhibit puzzling cross-national variation. What determines this policy divergence among advanced economies that share many structural and institutional properties? This article offers a statist explanation.
This argument is developed through a comparison of the contrasting and empirically underexplored cases of foreign labor policy formation in Japan and Taiwan.
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Why do some nations succeed at reforming or eliminating these levies, while others do not? This article argues that outcomes have to do with the balance of coalition strength between civilians and the armed forces. In the contemporary period, the military can no longer go at it alone, relying on tactics of coercive intimidation. Like civilians, it must find political party allies who can compete legislatively on its behalf. How coalitions congeal, come unraveled, or fail to develop is assessed through a small-N comparative study of Ecuador and Chile.
David Andersen, Review Article, Comparative Democratization and Democratic Backsliding: The Case for a Historical-Institutional Approach In light of the alleged democratic recession in recent years, comparative democratization research is now taking a turn to more party-political, agency-centered, and historically contingent explanations of democratic backsliding. I review three recent books that represent this trend to varying degrees. Based on a historical-institutional approach, I assess whether the theoretical propositions of these books are fruitful for explaining the gradual backsliding to competitive authoritarianism and illiberalism in recent decades.
I find that the propositions in How Democracies Die in particular risk leading to excessively voluntarist conclusions that are insensitive to historical path dependencies. The other two books better capture the ways in which domestic institutional legacies have shaped democratic backsliding around the globe. I show that these two models provide a more comprehensive understanding of a diverse set of the most infamous recent backslidings in the United States, Venezuela, Hungary, and Turkey.
Eduardo Moncada, Resisting Protection: Rackets, Resistance, and State Building The state occupies a central place in the study of a range of political, economic, and social outcomes. This article brings into dialogue literature on the state and emerging research on criminal politics through a study of protection rackets.
Conceiving of criminal protection rackets as institutional arrangements of extraction and domination, I develop a political economy framework to explain variation in forms of resistance to rackets. The framework shows that distinct configurations of economic and political resources influence the type of resistance available to subordinates.
Attention to how resource endowments shape patterns of resistance to projects of extraction and domination provides a novel window into the bottom-up dynamics of state building. Erica S. Simmons and Nicholas Rush Smith, The Case for Comparative Ethnography To what extent can comparative methods and ethnographic inquiry combine to advance knowledge in political science? Ethnography is becoming an increasingly popular method within political science. Yet both proponents and detractors often see it as a technique best suited for producing in-depth knowledge about a particular case or for explicating the meaning of a particular political behavior.
This article argues that comparative ethnography—ethnographic research that explicitly and intentionally builds an argument through the analysis of two or more cases—can be of particular value to political scientists, and to scholars of comparative politics in particular. The approach can hone our theoretical models, challenge existing conceptual categories, and help develop portable political insights.
This article has two goals: 1 to show that comparative ethnographic research deserves a prominent place in the repertoire of qualitative methods and 2 to elaborate the logics of inquiry behind such comparisons so that scholars will be better equipped to use them more frequently. Two or more cases are not always better than one, but comparative ethnography can yield new and different insights with important implications for our understandings of politics.