Lecture notes on introduction to Political Science

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Introduction to political science S. Hix and M. Whiting PS1172 2012 Undergraduate study in Economics, Management, Finance and the Social Sciences This is an extract from a subject guide for an undergraduate course offered as part of the University of London International Programmes in Economics, Management, Finance and the Social Sciences. Materials for these programmes are developed by academics at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). For more information, see: www.londoninternational.ac.ukContents Contents Introduction ............................................................................................................ 1 What this course is about .............................................................................................. 1 Aims and objectives ....................................................................................................... 2 The structure of the subject guide .................................................................................. 3 Reading advice .............................................................................................................. 3 How to use this subject guide ........................................................................................ 3 ‘Adopt a country’ ........................................................................................................... 4 Recommended study time .............................................................................................. 4 Online study resources ................................................................................................... 5 Section A: Thinking like a political scientist ........................................................... 9 Chapter 1: What is political science? .................................................................... 11 Aims of the chapter ..................................................................................................... 11 Learning outcomes ...................................................................................................... 11 Interactive tasks .......................................................................................................... 11 Reading ...................................................................................................................... 11 1.1 What is political science? ....................................................................................... 12 1.2 Explanations in political science ............................................................................. 16 1.3 Methods in political science ................................................................................... 22 1.4 Conclusion ............................................................................................................ 27 1.5 A reminder of your learning outcomes .................................................................... 27 1.6 Sample examination questions ............................................................................... 28 Chapter 2: Democracy .......................................................................................... 29 Aims of the chapter ..................................................................................................... 29 Learning outcomes ...................................................................................................... 29 Interactive tasks .......................................................................................................... 29 Reading ...................................................................................................................... 29 2.1 What is democracy? ............................................................................................... 30 2.2 Democracy in political science ................................................................................ 31 2.3 Measuring democracy ............................................................................................ 33 2.4 Explaining democracy ............................................................................................ 35 2.5 Cases studies of democratisation ........................................................................... 41 2.6 Conclusion ............................................................................................................ 45 2.7 A reminder of your learning outcomes .................................................................... 45 2.8 Sample examination questions ............................................................................... 46 Section B: Analysing political behaviour .............................................................. 47 Chapter 3: Political preferences and voting behaviour ........................................ 49 Aims of the chapter ..................................................................................................... 49 Learning outcomes ...................................................................................................... 49 Interactive tasks .......................................................................................................... 49 Reading ...................................................................................................................... 49 3.1 How are preferences formed? ................................................................................ 50 3.2 The left–right dimension ........................................................................................ 52 3.3 Mapping political preferences ................................................................................ 54 3.4 Cleavages and voting behaviour ............................................................................ 55 3.5 Strategic voting ..................................................................................................... 57 3.6 Strategic voting in the UK and the Netherlands ...................................................... 60 3.7 Conclusion ............................................................................................................ 62 iIntroduction Introduction What this course is about On 17 December 2010, a young man in Tunisia called Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire. He was protesting at the government’s confiscation of fruit and vegetables he was selling from his street stall, just one of many forms of harassment and frustration Bouazizi experienced at the hands of the Tunisian state. That evening riots and protests erupted throughout the capital city Tunis in outrage that a man should be driven to such an act. The protests quickly took on a deeper significance, transforming into anti- government protests and no longer specifically focused on the treatment of Bouazizi. On 13 January 2011, Mohsen Bouterfif, in a seemingly copycat act, set himself alight in a small town in Tebessa province in neighbouring Algeria. He was protesting against his inability to find a job and housing. The previous week four other people in Algeria had attempted to set themselves alight at a time when the country was already experiencing some localised rioting and civil unrest. Just four days later, an Egyptian man set himself alight outside the parliament, again in protest against the economic conditions he was experiencing and his frustration at the government’s lack of responsiveness to his concerns. Within 10 days, large-scale anti-government protests were underway in Cairo. Before the end of the month, Muamar Gadaffi in Libya was publicly expressing his unease at the turn of events happening in his North African neighbours. These early events served as the catalysts for what became known as the ‘Arab Spring’, a wave of mass protests and dissent against authoritarian governments that swept North Africa and parts of the Middle East. By the end of 2011, this had led to the overthrowing of regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya, uprisings in Bahrain and Syria, and major protests in Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco and Oman. Of course, one man setting himself on fire cannot be identified as the sole cause of the possible wave of revolution, but it can be seen as a catalyst that fed a pre-existing desire for change in these states. The aspiration of many Western policy makers and commentators is that, over time, these states will emerge as stable democratic regimes. In this respect, the mass protests are portrayed as demands by disenfranchised citizens for greater freedom and greater political freedom in particular. However, the process of ‘democratisation’, or the transformation from an authoritarian to a democratic regime, does not end with the removal of an autocrat and the decision to hold ‘free and fair’ elections. Liberal democracy is more than just elections. Elections are of central importance, but constitutional engineers and those other groups who will decide the shape of any new democratic state that might emerge in North Africa or the Middle East will face a dizzying array of choices in how they design the political features of the new state. What is more, the design of these political institutions will directly impact upon the nature and the quality of the democracy that is experienced. Important questions will need to be considered, such as what type of electoral system should the new state have and how will this affect the way voters or parties behave? How many parties should be represented in government: one all-powerful party, or several competing parties in a coalition? Should the country have an independent supreme court or should elected representatives have more say than unaccountable judges? 1172 Introduction to political science Finally, and perhaps most importantly in a newly democratising state, what kind of political institutions will promote policies citizens actually want (such as economic growth, good public services and environmental protection), and work effectively to channel the aspirations of citizens? How can political science help us answer these questions? What tools and evidence does the academic study of politics provide to help us understand the political and policy consequences of different forms of political behaviour and different ways of arranging democracies? These questions, and others like them, form the backbone of this course and we hope to help you to understand the main explanations offered by political science, not just for why states become democracies, but also how to understand why democracies are so different. This course is an introduction to politics in a globalised world, with a particular focus on how political science tries to understand and explain cross-country differences and cross-time differences between countries. We do this by looking at three particular dimensions. 1. Political behaviour or why individuals and groups behave as they do. 2. Political institutions, the formal and informal rules that tell political actors what they can and cannot do. 3. Political outcomes, such as why some countries redistribute more wealth than others or why some states have better environmental policies than others. Aims and objectives The main aims of this course are to: • introduce students to the main differences between democratic and non-democratic regimes, and between different models of democratic government • introduce students to how political preferences are formed, how voters behave, how parties compete, how interest groups form, and how electoral systems shape behaviour • explain how political institutions work, such as presidential and parliamentary systems, single-party and coalition governments, federalism, and courts and central banks • explain how political behaviour and institutions shape policy outcomes, such as economic performance, public spending, and immigration and environmental policies • prepare students for further courses in political science. At the end of this course and having completed the Essential reading and activities, you should be able to: • explain patterns of voting behaviour and party competition in different countries, and how electoral systems influence voters and parties • explain how different institutional designs of democracy work • describe how political science explains policy outcomes • critically evaluate rational choice and institutional theories in political science • explain the pros and cons of quantitative and qualitative methods in political science. 2Introduction The structure of the subject guide This subject guide is divided into four sections and you must complete all sections. The sections are: • Section A: Thinking like a political scientist • Section B: Analysing political behaviour • Section C: Analysing political institutions • Section D: Assessing political outcomes. Reading advice Essential reading You will find a full and detailed reading list for each topic at the start of every chapter. There is not a single textbook for the course. However, several topics will use chapters from the following book: Clark, W.R., M. Golder and S. Nadenichek Golder Principles of Comparative Politics. (Washington DC: CQ Press, 2012) second edition ISBN 9781608716791. For each chapter, there will normally be up to three Essential readings in addition to this subject guide. One of the readings will be drawn from a textbook and the other readings will be drawn from journal articles or other online resources. Where the required readings are primary research articles, they will be explained in detail in the chapter in the subject guide. Detailed reading references in this subject guide refer to the editions of the set textbooks listed above. New editions of one or more of these textbooks may have been published by the time you study this course. You can use a more recent edition of any of the books; use the detailed chapter and section headings and the index to identify relevant readings. Also check the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) regularly for updated guidance on readings. Further reading Please note that as long as you read the Essential reading you are then free to read around the subject area in any text, paper or online resource. You will need to support your learning by reading as widely as possible and by thinking about how these principles apply in the real world. To help you read extensively, you have free access to the VLE and University of London Online Library (see below). For each chapter we recommend some Further reading – if you want to explore this topic in additional depth or if you plan to answer an examination question on this topic, then it is worth consulting these additional readings. Unless otherwise stated, all websites in this subject guide were accessed in April 2012. We cannot guarantee, however, that they will stay current and you may need to perform an internet search to find the relevant pages. How to use this subject guide This course is very topical and it deals with many contemporary political issues that are in the news every day. Therefore it is useful to try to stay abreast of major political developments by reading a newspaper or news website on a regular basis and thinking about how the stories covered may be illuminated by some of the theories and ideas discussed in this course. 3172 Introduction to political science This course is cumulative – later chapters assume that you have a grasp of concepts introduced and explained earlier. Therefore, we suggest that you read the chapters in the order in which they appear. This will help you to navigate the course as a whole and see the big themes and ideas that are explored. ‘Adopt a country’ Each chapter contains interactive elements for you to undertake in the form of tasks. At the outset we ask you to ‘adopt a country’ – that is, we ask you to choose any country in the world that is democratic or partially democratic, but it cannot be your home country. Then each ‘week’, we ask you to become an expert on one particular aspect of the political behaviour, the institutions or the outcomes in your adopted country. The country you choose must be democratic or partially democratic (we provide you with a method of identifying how democratic a country is in Chapter 2). Also bear in mind that you should choose a country that has readily accessible information about its politics and political institutions and this should be in a language that you understand. It is also perhaps best to avoid very newly democratic countries, such as post-war Iraq, because when we discuss issues such as party systems or voting behaviour there may not be enough of a history of democratic politics in newly democratic countries to help you answer our interactive tasks satisfactorily. One of the best places to find out information about your chosen country is online, especially online news sites or on Wikipedia and other online encyclopaedias. You will also find that many of the readings we recommend discuss events in specific countries, so this will also be a good starting point. If you complete all the tasks regularly, then by the end of the course you should have a very good knowledge of the political system of your adopted country. This can act as a rich source of evidence when it comes to thinking about the topics we discuss and also when it comes to answering essay questions in the examination. Recommended study time You should aim to study this course over eight months and you should spend at least seven hours on this course each week. Some of the ideas covered may be fairly challenging so be prepared to read widely and think deeply. Also try to start writing down your thoughts and answering the sample short questions and sample essay questions as soon as possible rather than waiting until the end of year examination. The examination and examination advice Important: the information and advice given here are based on the examination structure used at the time this guide was written. Please note that subject guides may be used for several years. Because of this we strongly advise you to always check both the current Regulations for relevant information about the examination, and the VLE where you should be advised of any forthcoming changes. You should also carefully check the rubric/instructions on the paper you actually sit and follow those instructions. 4Introduction Remember, it is important to check the VLE for: • up-to-date information on examination and assessment arrangements for this course • where available, past examination papers and Examiners’ commentaries for the course which give advice on how each question might best be answered. The whole assessment for this unit is by a single examination of three hours’ duration. The examination contains 12 essay questions and you must answer four of these questions. You should spend no more than 45 minutes on each essay. These questions may come from any of the topics covered during this course. When answering the essay questions, we are looking to see how well students can evaluate the debates that we have presented and apply these debates to the specific question we ask. We provide sample examination questions at the end of each chapter and it will be useful for you to begin practising answering these as you work through this subject guide rather than leaving all this practice until near the time of the examination. Online study resources In addition to the subject guide and the Essential reading, it is crucial that you take advantage of the study resources that are available online for this course, including the VLE and the Online Library. You can access the VLE, the Online Library and your University of London email account via the Student Portal at: http://my.londoninternational.ac.uk You should have received your login details for the Student Portal with your official offer, which was emailed to the address that you gave on your application form. You have probably already logged in to the Student Portal in order to register As soon as you registered, you will automatically have been granted access to the VLE, Online Library and your fully functional University of London email account. If you forget your login details at any point, please email uolia.support london.ac.uk quoting your student number. The VLE The VLE, which complements this subject guide, has been designed to enhance your learning experience, providing additional support and a sense of community. It forms an important part of your study experience with the University of London and you should access it regularly. The VLE provides a range of resources for EMFSS courses: • Self-testing activities: Doing these allows you to test your own understanding of subject material. • Electronic study materials: The printed materials that you receive from the University of London are available to download, including updated reading lists and references. Note that colour versions of some of the diagrams in the subject guide are available in the electronic version; you may find them easier to read in this format. • Past examination papers and Examiners’ commentaries: These provide advice on how each examination question might best be answered. 5172 Introduction to political science • A student discussion forum: This is an open space for you to discuss interests and experiences, seek support from your peers, work collaboratively to solve problems and discuss subject material. • Videos: There are recorded academic introductions to the subject, interviews and debates and, for some courses, audio-visual tutorials and conclusions. • Recorded lectures: For some courses, where appropriate, the sessions from previous years’ Study Weekends have been recorded and made available. • Study skills: Expert advice on preparing for examinations and developing your digital literacy skills. • Feedback forms. Some of these resources are available for certain courses only, but we are expanding our provision all the time and you should check the VLE regularly for updates. Making use of the Online Library The Online Library contains a huge array of journal articles and other resources to help you read widely and extensively. To access the majority of resources via the Online Library you will either need to use your University of London Student Portal login details, or you will be required to register and use an Athens login: http://tinyurl.com/ollathens The easiest way to locate relevant content and journal articles in the Online Library is to use the Summon search engine. If you are having trouble finding an article listed in a reading list, try removing any punctuation from the title, such as single quotation marks, question marks and colons. For further advice, please see the online help pages: www.external.shl.lon.ac.uk/summon/about.php Syllabus This is a description of the material to be examined, as published in the Regulations. On registration, students will receive a detailed subject guide which provides a framework for covering the topics in the syllabus and directions to the Essential reading. Basics: why are some countries democratic? Procedural and substantive conceptions of democracy. Measuring democracy, and the number of democracies across time. Explanations of democratization: political culture, economic and social modernisation, and institutional ‘contracts’ between social groups. Basics: political science explanations and methods Historiography of modern political science. Difference between rational choice and institutional explanations. Difference between qualitative and quantitative methods. Basic understanding of regression. Behaviour: political preferences and voting behaviour The two main ‘dimensions’ of preferences: economic and social. Why the ‘Left–Right’ is a universal phenomenon. Difference between ‘expressive’ and ‘strategic’ voting. Class dealignment and post-materialism. 6Introduction Behaviour: political parties and electoral systems The Downsian model of electoral competition versus the ‘cleavage model’ of party systems. The number and location of parties in democracies. Two main types of electoral systems: majoritarian and proportional. Trade- offs in the design of electoral systems. How electoral systems shape party competition and voting behaviour. Institutions: presidents and parliaments, coalitions and single-party governments Difference between presidential, parliamentary, and semi-presidential systems and their performance, for example, regime survival, policy- making and accountability. Patterns of single-party and coalition government across the world. Theories of coalition formation. Policy implications of single-party, coalition and minority government. Institutions: federalism and independent institutions Difference between unitary, decentralised and federal systems. Causes and consequences of centralisation and decentralisation. Principal–agent theory and why politicians delegate to independent institutions. Design of courts and central banks, and policy consequences of granting power to independent institutions. Outcomes: economic performance and public spending Patterns of economic performance and public spending. How political institutions and party preferences shape economic policy outcomes. Models of welfare states. Whether citizens choose redistributive policies, or whether redistributive policies shape citizens’ attitudes towards these policies. Outcomes: environmental protection and migration Patterns of environmental policy and migration policy in democracies. Theories of why some governments are better at protecting the environment than others. The ‘tragedy of the commons’ problem. ‘Push’ and ‘pull’ factors that influence migration flows. How institutions and political preferences influence migration policy outcomes. 7Section A: Thinking like a political scientist Section A: Thinking like a political scientist This section has two chapters. Chapter 1 looks at what political science is. We answer this by discussing some of the main questions that political science tries to answer and by beginning to think about why politics is different in various countries and regions around the world. Next we introduce two different theoretical approaches to political science – those that emphasise the behaviour of individuals and those that emphasise the role of institutions. Finally, we look at different methods used by political scientists when trying to answer these questions. Chapter 2 shows how political science uses theory and methods to study one of the core themes in political science, ‘democracy’. Having looked at different ways of measuring democracy, we explain different reasons why states might become democratic, looking at both economic and cultural explanations. By the end of this section you should have an understanding of what issues interest political scientists and how they think about these issues and what tools they use. 9172 Introduction to political science Notes 10Chapter 1: What is political science? Chapter 1: What is political science? Aims of the chapter The aims of this chapter are to: • introduce some of the topics political science addresses and how political scientists use theoretical ideas and empirical evidence to address these topics • introduce two broad theoretical frameworks in political science: the rational choice approach, and the institutional approach • explain the difference between qualitative and quantitative methods in political science. Learning outcomes By the end of this chapter, and having completed the Essential reading and activities, you should be able to: • explain the difference between political behaviour and political institutions, and how political behaviour and institutions interact to explain political and policy outcomes • discuss the difference between theoretical explanations which focus on the rational behaviour of political actors and explanations which focus on the role of institutions and society • discuss the difference between qualitative and quantitative methods in political science and the pros and cons of these two approaches to empirical research. Interactive tasks 1. Try to identify as many instances as you can of irrational mass political behaviour, such as being a member of Amnesty International. How can we explain this behaviour if it is ‘irrational’? 2. Now try to identify as many instances as you can of irrational elite political behaviour. Generally speaking, is elite behaviour more rational than mass behaviour? 3. Identify an issue in politics that you would study using a quantitative approach and an issue you would study using a qualitative approach. Justify why you would use these methods for each issue. Reading Essential reading Clark, W.R., M. Golder and S. Nadenichek Golder Principles of Comparative Politics. (Washington DC: CQ Press, 2012), Chapters 2 and 3. ‘Case study’, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Case_study ‘Regression analysis’, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regression_analysis Further reading Gerring, J. ‘What Is a Case Study and What Is It Good for?’, American Political Science Review 98(2) 2004, pp.341–354. 11172 Introduction to political science Green, D.P. and I. Shapiro Pathologies of Rational Choice Theory. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1994) ISBN 9780300066364 Chapter 2. Hall, P.A. and R.C.R. Taylor ‘Political Science and the Three New Institutionalisms’, Political Studies 44(5) 1996, pp.936–957. Tsebelis, G. Nested Games: Rational Choice in Comparative Politics. (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1990) ISBN 9780520076518 Chapter 2. Works cited Aldrich, J.H. ‘Rational Choice and Turnout’, American Journal of Political Science 37(1) 1993, pp.246–278. Almond, G.A. ‘Separate Tables: Schools and Sects in Political Science’, PS: Political Science and Politics 21(4) 1988, pp.828–842. Brady, H.E. ‘Data-Set Observation Versus Causal-Process Observations: The 2000 U.S. Presidential Election’ in Brady, H.E. and D. Collier (eds) Rethinking Social Inquiry: Diverse Tools, Shared Standards. (Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 2004). Brady, H.E. and D. Collier (eds) Rethinking Social Inquiry: Diverse Tools, Shared Standards. (Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 2004). Carey, J. and S. Hix ‘The Electoral Sweet Spot: Low-Magnitude Proportional Electoral Systems’, American Journal of Political Science 55(2) 2011, pp.383–397. Henrich, J. et al. ‘Economic Man in Cross-Cultural Perspective: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small-Scale Societies’, Behaviour and Brain Sciences 28(6) 2005, pp.795–815. King, G., R.O. Keohane and S. Verba Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994) ISBN 9780691034713. Lipset, S.M. and S. Rokkan (eds) Party Systems and Voter Alignments: Cross- National Perspectives. (New York, NY: The Free Press, 1967) ISBN 9780029191507. March, J.G. and J.P. Olsen Rediscovering Institutions. (New York, NY: Free Press, 1989) ISBN 9780029201152. Marx, K. The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. (1852) (Arc Manor, 2008) ISBN 9781604505887 or www.questia.com/online_Library Mill, J.S. A System of Logic. (1843) (Forgotten Books, 2011) ISBN 9781440090820. Von Neumann, J. and O. Morgenstern Theory of Games and Economic Behavior. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1944) and (Princeton University Press, 2007) ISBN 9780691130613. North, D.C. Institutions, Institutional Change, and Economic Performance. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990) ISBN 9780521397346. Pierson, P. ‘Path Dependence, Increasing Returns, and the Study of Politics’, American Political Science Review 94(2) 2000, pp.251–267. Shepsle, K.A. ‘Studying Institutions: Some Lessons from the Rational Choice Approach’, Journal of Theoretical Politics 1(2) 1989, pp.131–147. Tsebelis, G. Veto Players: How Political Institutions Work. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2002) ISBN 9780691099897. 1.1 What is political science? In the third century bec , the Greek philosopher Aristotle was perhaps the first scholar to think systematically about how different forms of government led to different political outcomes: such as stability or rebellion in the city states in Ancient Greece. In fact, if science is the systematic building and organisation of knowledge with the aim of understanding and explaining how the world works, then Aristotle was probably the first ‘political scientist’. 12Chapter 1: What is political science? Since Aristotle, many political philosophers have sought to understand and explain how politics works and think about how societies should be governed, and any course on the history of political thought will introduce students to many of these thinkers, such as Plato, Cicero, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu and Madison. The modern discipline of ‘political science’, however, as practised in teaching and research in universities, is little more than a century old. The first Chair in History and Political Science was at Columbia University in New York in 1857. The first institutions and departments with the name ‘political science’ in their titles were the Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques in Paris in 1871, the School of Political Science at Columbia University in 1880, and the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1895. And the first professional association of political scientists was the American Political Science Association in 1903. The first modern political scientists in the first few decades of the twentieth century included, among others, Max Weber in Germany, Robert Michels in Italy, Lord Bryce in Britain, and Woodrow Wilson in the USA. These scholars, and most of their contemporaries, thought of themselves primarily as sociologists, historians, lawyers, or scholars of public administration. But what they sought to understand and explain, among other things, was politics, and one aspect of politics in particular: political institutions. The foci of these early ‘institutionalists’, in the spirit of Aristotle, were the institutions of government and politics in different countries: such as executives, parliaments, constitutions, and political parties. And the questions these first political scientists tried to answer include things like: is the German system of government better than the British? Are political parties good or bad for government? What is the best electoral system for a democracy? After this early focus on describing and explaining political institutions, in the mid-twentieth century political science shifted its focus to ‘political behaviour’. There were several reasons for this change. Faith in the power of political institutions was challenged by the collapse of democracy in much of Europe in the 1920s and 1930s. The Weimar Republic, in Germany, was a supposedly ideal democratic constitution, so many contemporary scholars thought. To understand the collapse of Weimar, and the rise of Fascism and Communism, it was clear that the attitudes and behaviour of citizens and elites were perhaps more important than the institutions of government. Political scientists also developed some new methods to study political behaviour. One such method was the ‘representative opinion poll’. Until the 1930s, elections were usually predicted by newspapers or magazines who polled the opinions of their readers. For example, just before the 1936 Presidential election in the USA, the Literary Digest surveyed its 2.3 million readers, and confidently predicted that Alf Landon would defeat Franklin D. Roosevelt. The problem with this prediction was that the readers of the Literary Digest were mostly from higher income groups and hence were more likely to support the Republican candidate (Landon) than the average US citizen in the midst of the Great Depression. At the same time, George Gallup conducted a smaller survey among a representative sample of US citizens, based on various demographic characteristics, such as income, age and gender. Using this method, Gallup correctly predicted a landslide for Roosevelt. Gallup became famous, as the pioneer of opinion polls. He later set up a subsidiary in London and correctly predicted a Labour victory in the 1945 election, while most other 13172 Introduction to political science commentators assumed that the Conservatives would win, led by Winston Churchill. Between the 1940s and the 1960s, armed with new methods for studying politics, new data from opinion polls and other data collection exercises, and new ideas about how to explain political behaviour, political science went through what we now think of as a ‘behavioural revolution’. However, for most of the second half of the twentieth century the discipline of political science remained divided between a variety of different theoretical and methodological approaches, which operated largely in isolation from each other (Almond, 1988). For example, one group of scholars adapted some of the new theoretical ideas about actors’ behaviour in economics to try to explain the behaviour of voters, parties, interest groups, legislators or bureaucrats. Since these scholars assumed that these political actors were driven by self-interest and strategic calculations, this approach became known as the ‘rational choice approach’ in political science. Some of the leading scholars in this approach were Kenneth Arrow, Anthony Downs, William Riker, Mancur Olson, William Niskanen and Kenneth Shepsle. Another group of scholars adapted some of the new theoretical ideas in sociology about the social and cultural determinants of behaviour to try to explain the formation of states, the behaviour and organisation of political parties, how citizens voted, and why some countries became stable democracies while others did not. Some of the leading scholars in this more sociological approach to behaviour were Seymour Martin Lipset, Gabriel Almond, Philip Converse, Stein Rokkan, Samuel Huntington and Arend Lijphart. To find out more about the ideas and works of these great political scientists of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s simply enter their names into any internet search engine. For much of this period these two approaches to political science largely ignored each other, even when they researched and wrote about similar topics But, in the 1980s and early 1990s these two schools of thought started to communicate more with each other. From one side, rational choice theorists had realised that their formal models of political behaviour were not very effective at explaining real-world outcomes unless they included a more nuanced understanding of how institutional rules and procedures shape how actors interact. From the other side, scholars from the more sociological tradition realised that while culture and society shape political institutions, political institutions also shape culture and society. So, from different starting points, political scientists began to focus again on the role of political institutions, under the rubric of what became known as ‘new institutionalism’ (compare Hall and Taylor, 1996). So, by the end of the 1990s, political science had come full circle. Having started with political institutions, we are now back to political institutions. The difference between modern political scientists and the scholars of politics a century ago, however, is that the development of the discipline in the intervening years has led to the accumulation of a solid body of theoretical ideas, research methods, and empirical observations, which together make up the toolkit of the contemporary scientist of politics. As an introduction to this toolkit, we can start by introducing some of the topics political science focuses on: the ‘empirical regularities’ that political scientists try to understand and explain. One way to organise these topics is to distinguish between political behaviour, political institutions and political outcomes. 14Chapter 1: What is political science? Here, political behaviour refers to the beliefs and actions of political actors, be they citizens, voters, party leaders, members of parliaments, government ministers, judges, civil servants, or members of interest groups. These actors have ‘political preferences’: their political interests, values and goals. For example, some citizens would like the government to spend more money on education and healthcare while others would like the government to reduce taxes. Then, how do these preferences translate into actions? For example, when voting in elections, do most citizens vote expressively, for the party whose policies most closely match their political preferences; or do they vote strategically, for a party which they prefer less but which has a higher chance of winning? And, how do parties respond to voters? Do they stick with their policies and try to persuade the voters to support them or do they adapt their policies to try to win as many votes as possible? And, if parties do the latter, does this lead to parties converging on the average (median) voter or moving to the extremes? Interest groups are another important set of political actors. Why are some interest groups more able to organise and influence politics than others? Clearly some interest groups have more financial resources, but money does not always guarantee influence. Why is that? Political behaviour takes place within a set of political institutions. Some countries have presidential systems, where there is a separation of powers between the executive and the legislature (as in the USA and throughout Latin America), while others have parliamentary systems, where the government relies on the support of the parliament and the government can dissolve the parliament and call an election (as in most countries in Europe). Within both of these regime types, some governments are composed of a single political party (as is usually the case in the United Kingdom), while other governments are coalitions between several political parties (as is usually the case in the Netherlands). In addition, in some countries power is centralised at the national level (as in France); while in others power is divided between several levels of government (as in federal systems, such as Canada or India). And, in some countries, elected politicians are relatively free from external institutional constraints; whereas in other countries a supreme court and/or an independent central bank restrict the policy choices of elected politicians. A common set of issues cuts across these political institutions topics, which relates to the political and policy consequences of concentrating power in the hands of a single political actor – such as a single political party in government in a parliamentary system – compared to dividing power between several ‘veto players’ – either several parties in a coalition government, or the executive and the legislature in a presidential system, or different levels of government in a federal system, or between the legislature and powerful courts. Finally, political outcomes covers a broad range of issues, from specific policy outcomes such as economic growth or higher public spending or better protection of the environment, to broader political phenomena, such as political and economic equality, social and ethnic harmony, or satisfaction with democracy and government. For example, some countries have generous welfare states whereas others have less generous welfare regimes. Some countries are better at protecting the environment than others, and some countries are more welcoming to immigrants than others. And, in some countries citizens are generally satisfied with how their countries are governed, while in others citizens are far less satisfied. 15172 Introduction to political science Across all these topics, a common working assumption in modern political science is that political behaviour and political institutions interact to produce political outcomes. For example, on the issue of support for democracy, in the 1960s many political scientists assumed that a ‘civic culture’ was essential for a successful democracy. These days, in contrast, we recognise a mutually reinforcing relationship between attitudes towards democracy (political behaviour) and democratic government (political institutions): where support for democracy helps democratic stability, and stable and successful democratic government leads to stronger democratic values in society. As in other fields of scientific enquiry, political scientists try to understand these phenomena by developing theoretical explanations and testing these explanations using a variety of empirical methods. We first discuss two main theoretical explanations in political science before turning to the use of qualitative and quantitative methods in political science. 1.2 Explanations in political science A theoretical explanation in political science is a set of assumptions about how political actors behave and how political institutions influence and shape this behaviour, from which a set of propositions is derived, which can then be tested against empirical observations. There are many different theoretical approaches and ideas in modern political science. Two such explanations are the rational choice approach and the institutional approach. Whereas the rational choice approach emphasises the importance of political actors and how they behave, the institutional approach emphasises the importance of societal and political institutions in determining political behaviour and political outcomes. 1.2.1 Rational choice approach The starting assumption of the rational choice in political science is that political actors – such as voters, politicians, parties, or interest groups – behave ‘rationally’. Rationally in this context does not mean that actors always carefully calculate the costs and benefits of every decision they make. Instead it means that actors have an identifiable set of preferences over policy or political outcomes, and when faced with a political choice they will tend to choose the option which they prefer (which yields them the highest ‘utility’). So, for example, if a voter prefers Party A to Party B and Party B to Party C, but there is no candidate from Party A standing in a particular election, the voter will rationally vote for Party B rather than Party C. This sounds like a pretty simple idea. But, this simple idea has yielded some very powerful insights. One such insight is known as the ‘prisoners’ dilemma’ (compare Von Neumann and Morgenstern, 1944). The story behind the prisoners’ dilemma is as follows. Two people are arrested who are suspected of committing a crime and are interrogated separately. They are each told that they can either keep quiet or talk. If they both keep quiet, the police tell them that they have sufficient evidence to convict them both for a minor offence, which has a one year jail term. If one talks and the other stays quiet, the talker will be let off, and the other will be convicted of a major offence, for a three year term. If they both talk, then they will both be convicted of the major offence, but with a shorter jail term, of two years. 16Chapter 1: What is political science? Suspect 2 Quiet Talk -1,-1 -3,0 Quiet Suspect 1 0,-3 -2,-2 Talk Figure 1.1: A prisoners’ dilemma. Figure 1.1 simplifies this narrative in a ‘game’. Each cell in the grid indicates a possible outcome and the ‘pay-offs’ for the two players, where the first number in each cell represents the pay-off to Suspect 1 and the second number the pay-off to Suspect 2. We can assign pay-offs for the suspects. • From an individual point of view, the most preferable outcome for Suspect 1 is that she talks while Suspect 2 does not. In this instance, Suspect 1 will be set free without any cost. We will assign this a value of 0. • The next most preferable outcome for Suspect 1 is that she does not talk and nor does Suspect 2. This means both would be convicted of the minor offence and pay the cost of a small prison sentence. We will assign this a value of –1. • A more negative outcome is that Suspect 1 talks and so does Suspect 2. In this instance, both suspects will be convicted of a major offence and get a longer jail term. We will assign this a value of –2. • The most negative outcome for Suspect 1 is that she stays quiet while Suspect 2 talks. In this scenario, Suspect 1 goes to jail for a major offence and the longest possible jail term while Suspect 2 goes free. We assign this a value of –3. Clearly, the best collective outcome would be if they both remain quiet, and so are both convicted of a minor offence (which yields a pay-off of one year in prison each). However, if they are both rational, in a strategic sense, they will both talk, as this is the ‘best response’ of any player to the possible actions of the other player. For example, if Suspect 1 talks and Suspect 2 remains quiet, then Suspect 1 will be let off, and if Suspect 1 talks and Suspect 2 talks, then at least Suspect 1 will not end up with a long jail term. Following this logic, both suspects should talk, which would mean both being sent to prison for two years. A ‘Nash equilibrium’ is a ‘set of strategies in a game such that no player has an incentive to unilaterally change her mind given what the other players are doing’ (Clark et al., 2012, p.103). In other words, it refers to a situation when a player is making the best decision they can, taking into account the actions of the other player’s decisions. The ‘equilibrium’ of the prisoners’ dilemma game is hence a ‘sub-optimal’ outcome, or an outcome that is not the best possible collective outcome. One key insight of rational choice theory, then, is that individually rational behaviour can sometimes lead to political and policy outcomes which are not collectively desirable. This is further illustrated in Figure 1.2, which is an application of the prisoners’ dilemma game to global environment emissions. In this scenario, two similar states have signed an international treaty on the reduction of carbon emissions (such as the Kyoto Protocol). However, under the terms of the treaty each state is free to decide whether to cut carbon emissions 17172 Introduction to political science or not to cut carbon emissions. Now, assume that a state bears some costs of cutting emissions, for example as a result of introducing a carbon tax (-3, say). However, if one state cuts its emissions everyone benefits from a cleaner environment, including the citizens in the other state, regardless of whether that state also cuts its emissions (+2 for both states, say), and if both states cut their emissions then everyone would benefit twice as much (namely, +4 for both states). This logic consequently yields a set of pay-offs as follows. In the top- left cell, if both states cut their emissions, they each bear a cost of -3 but a benefit of +4 from a much cleaner environment, which yields an individual pay-off of +1 to each state and a collective pay-off of +2. In the bottom-left and top-right cells, if only one state cuts emissions, it bears a cost of -3 and a benefit of only +2, which makes -1, while the other state can ‘free ride’ on the action of the first states, by gaining a cleaner environment (+2) without suffering any domestic adjustment costs. Finally, in the bottom-right cell, if neither state takes any action we are stuck with the status quo, of no change from the current situation. State A Cut emissions Don’t cut emissions +1,+1 - 1,+2 Cut emissions State B Don’t cut +2, - 1 0,0 emissions Figure 1.2: Global environment emissions as a prisoners’ dilemma game. Clearly the collectively optimal outcome is for both states to cut their carbon emissions. However, as in the classic prisoners’ dilemma game, if both states are rational (utility-maximisers), the equilibrium outcome is the status quo, since regardless of what the other state decides to do, individually a state is better off not cutting emissions (since +2 beats +1, if the other state cuts its emissions, and 0 beats -1, if the other state does not cut its emissions). Rational choice theory consequently helps explain why enforcing international environmental treaties is so difficult. The theory also explains a number of other empirical regularities in politics, such as why parties in two-party systems tend to converge on the average (median) voter; why interest groups who represent narrow economic interests tend to be more able to mobilise than interest groups who represent broad societal interests; why policy change is more difficult in presidential systems than in parliamentary systems; why coalition governments between parties with similar policy preferences can be as decisive as single-party governments, and even why some forms of governments lead to greater wealth redistribution than others. Nevertheless, rational choice theory is not without its critics. Many political scientists do not like the underlying pejorative assumption in rational choice theory that political actors should behave rationally (for example, Green and Shapiro, 1994). In defence, most contemporary rational choice theorists claim that rather than suggesting that actors should behave rationally, what they actually do is try to work out what could happen if actors did behave rationally (for example, Tsebelis, 1990). At a theoretical level, though, not all political actors are equally as 18Chapter 1: What is political science? likely to be ‘rational’ in all political situations. In general, the higher the political stakes and the more often the behaviour is repeated, the more likely that a political actor will behave in a rational, and easily predictable, way. For example, when a party leader is working out what policies to put in a manifesto to win as many votes as possible, she will no doubt think carefully and strategically about all the potential options and likely outcomes. Contrast this with a citizen who takes lots of things into account when deciding how to vote, or even whether to vote, and ultimately may be influenced more by habit or social norms than a rational calculation. After all, from a strict rational choice perspective, it is probably irrational to vote since the costs of voting (the time and effort involved) far outweigh the expected benefits (the utility of one party winning as opposed to another, multiplied by the probability that the citizen will be pivotal in determining which party wins) (for example, Aldrich, 1993). 1.2.2 Institutional approach A very different theoretical approach in political science derives from a variety of assumptions and propositions about the role of institutions. Here, ‘institutions’ means any formal or informal rule which constrains the behaviour of actors (compare North, 1990). Formal institutions include the various provisions in a constitution, the rules of procedure in a parliament, an electoral system, campaign finance regulations, rules governing how a party chooses its leader, and so on. Informal institutions, meanwhile, encompass social structures (such as class), social norms and cultural practices, metaphysical beliefs and ideological values, and so on. What formal and informal ‘institutions’ have in common is that they restrict actors’ behaviour in political situations, and so shape political actions and political outcomes. For example, one set of influential formal institutions is the rules in the policy-making process governing how many actors can block a proposal: the number of ‘veto players’ (compare Tsebelis, 2002). Where a political system has a single veto-player – for example, in a parliamentary system when there is only one party in government and that party also controls a majority of seats in the parliament (as is often the case in the United Kingdom) – this actor can dominate policy-making, and hence make radical policy changes. In contrast, where a political system has multiple veto-players – for example, in a presidential system where one party has the presidency and another party controls the majority in a congress, or in a parliamentary system when there are several parties in government – policy change tends to be more difficult as more actors need to agree on what policies need to be changed. As a result, in many policy-making situations, policy outcomes may be less determined by the political preferences of the actors (as standard rational choice theory assumes) and more a result of the formal institutions governing how decisions are made. In contrast, examples of influential informal institutions are the cultural norms in a society governing what constitutes ‘appropriate’ behaviour. To illustrate the role of social norms on behaviour consider how you might agree to divide a Dollar (or Pound, or Euro, or Yen, or any currency) between you and a friend. This game, known as the ‘ultimatum game’ in experimental psychology, involves two players: Player 1 makes a proposal of how to divide the Dollar between the two players, and Player 2 then decides whether to accept or reject the proposal. If Player 2 accepts the proposal, the money is divided between the two players as proposed by Player 1. But, if Player 2 rejects the proposal, neither player receives any money. 19

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