In this issue's Notes from the Editor, we are pleased to announce our collaboration with Overleaf, a cloud-based LaTeX editor, which makes writing, editing, and submitting manuscripts quicker and easier for authors using LaTeX. After having implemented FirstView and a new format of Letters, we are currently preparing to release our LaTeX template with Overleaf. Our goal is to improve our services to our contributors by facilitating easy online manuscript preparation, editing, and one-click submission directly into our managing system, Editorial Manager. We believe that this new tool is particularly helpful for collaborations, which have increasingly grown to characterize the bulk of APSR submissions. Our aim is to serve the changing needs of our contributors with the most effective solutions, and to fulfill our core purpose of encouraging academic collaboration while improving our service to our contributors.
This brings us to our latest issue, which contains a series of articles that apply new tools to the analysis of current political phenomena. In their article “Days of Action or Restraint? How the Islamic Calendar Impacts Violence,” Michael J. Reese, Keven G. Ruby, and Robert A. Pape provide new insights into the debate on whether political violence escalates or declines during religious holidays. They argue that during major Islamic holidays, insurgents restrain their use of violence because they anticipate that violence during these periods would result in broad societal disapproval. Using qualitative evidence and five separate datasets of daily incidents of political violence in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan covering a ten-year period, Reese and his co-authors show that violence substantially declines during major Islamic religious holidays in all three countries. This does not apply to public holidays in general, or to religious holidays without days off, or the month of Ramadan, and is not driven by weather or other annual cycles that might affect the costs and benefits of violence. Their innovative study provides new evidence that the Islamic calendar acts as a force for peace because militants fear public outrage in response to using violence on important religious holidays.
During a time at which our world and our communities are coming to terms with unprecedented differences, we offer two articles which apply the history of Western political thought to examine how such differences might be constructively engaged. In “Montesquieu's Teaching on the Dangers of Extreme Corrections: Japan, the Catholic Inquisition, and Moderation in The Spirit of the Laws,” Nathaniel Gilmore and Vickie B. Sullivan revisit Montesquieu's well-known work, The Spirit of the Laws, to argue that, far from praising European polities for their moderation in contrast to the “despotism” of eastern regimes, in that text “Montesquieu finds the extremes of inhumanity in the pursuit of correction at opposite points of the globe.” In doing so, they argue, Montesquieu reveals the cruelty involved in humanity's extreme desires for correcting wickedness. In the face of such extremity, which remains with us today, the authors argue that Montesquieu counsels moderation—in both his reserved method of documenting such cruelty, and the substance of his response to it.
“Foreigners as Liberators: Education and Cultural Diversity in Plato's Menexenus” by Rebecca LeMoine investigates the nature of Plato's xenophobia. Contrary to most scholarship that sees Plato as dismissing cultural diversity, LeMoine argues that once the dramatic context of Platonic dialogues such as the Menexenus are taken into account, Plato can be seen as offering a virtue-based defense of it. Voicing a funeral oration through the voice of Aspasia, Pericles’ foreign mistress, Plato incites his interlocutors to think about speech from the perspective of a foreigner and so cultivates awareness of the limits of our knowledge and wisdom. In doing so, Plato suggests that foreigners play the role of gadflies in healthy democracies, exhorting citizens to care more about their virtues resolving societal conflict through education.
One manifestation of ‘big data’ are massive data leaks, such as the Panama Papers or the US embassy cables. “How the Chinese Government Fabricates Social Media Posts for Strategic Distraction, Not Engaged Argument” by Gary King, Jennifer Pan, and Margaret E. Roberts is centered on the analysis of a large, leaked email archive from the Internet Propaganda Office of Zhanggong in China. The study illustrates how to use a massive data leak to answer social science questions, which includes challenges of data preparation and validation strategies for descriptive and causal inference. The archive is used to estimate the degree to which social media posts in China are written by so-called 50-cent (50c) party members, which received the name because they purportedly get 50 cents per online post to support the government. The authors analyze the posts with a sophisticated mix of manual, qualitative analysis, and machine learning techniques. They find that most posts are about cheerleading and creating a positive image of the government and their follow-up survey validates the degree to which posts have been written by 50c members, which leads the authors to infer that about half a billion posts per year are fabricated by them. While this article presents further insight into information control through distraction in China, we expect to see this research expanded to investigate other regimes.
The analysis of networks holds great promises for a better understanding of political and social collective action. Political networks were first investigated with (expert) surveys. In recent years, scholars started turning to online social network data to examine network theories and such studies gained particular popularity with the availability of online social network data. However, it creates the question to what extent insights from online networks can be generalized to offline networks, which are the subject of many collective action theories. In the article “Testing Social Science Network Theories with Online Network Data: An Evaluation of External Validity,” James Bisbee and Jennifer M. Larson test whether inferences derived from online data are similar to conclusions derived from offline data. Using a survey experiment, Bisbee and Larson implement a complex and sophisticated design allowing them to test for external validity on multiple dimensions and for multiple outcomes. They find that features of online and offline networks are statistically indistinguishable. Their analysis presents evidence that theories about offline collective action can indeed be tested with online data. We, therefore, expect the article to lay important foundations for future testing of political science theories with online network data.
In “Between Means and Ends: Reconstructing Coercion in Dewey's Democratic Theory,” Alexander Livingston argues that Dewey offers a middle way between, on the one hand, an amoral political realism that justifies means in terms of ends and, on the other hand, ethical purism with which he and his pragmatism is often associated. Rather, Livingston's careful textual and historical exegesis of Dewey explores the possibilities of what Livingston calls “non-deliberative means of political action, such as disruption, non-cooperation, and coercion” to transform society democratically and toward democratic ends. Showcasing an extensive engagement with Dewey's work and activism, Livingston simultaneously contributes to literature in democratic theory, the history of American thought, and pragmatist political philosophy.
In “Process or Candidate: The International Community and the Demand for Electoral Integrity,” Johannes Bubeck and Nikolay Marinov explore the incentives of outside powers to intervene in democratic elections. The authors distinguish between a mix of geo-political and liberalism concerns of outside powers, which establish an incentive structure for investing in candidates, democratic processes, or both. After exploring the consequences of a single foreign intervener who supports either the democratic process or preferred candidates, as a function of her preference over the election alternatives and commitment to electoral integrity, the analysis turns to the interactions between multiple outside actors with different preferences engaged in “election wars.” They show how this perspective on the preferences and actions available to outside states can explain a variety of empirical patterns in such interventions, including seemingly incongruous instances of illiberal states engaging in democracy promotion abroad. As both the authors and reviewers noted, there is significant potential for further research exploring variations on this model, several of which they explore in the article and, given the timeliness of the subject matter, we expect that scholars will quickly seek to explore how the authors' conclusions respond to further variations.
In “Electoral Accountability for State Legislative Roll Calls and Ideological Representation,” Steven Rogers makes a major contribution to the study of electoral accountability in US state legislatures. Using a new and comprehensive collection of district-level measures of public opinion covering all states for a full decade, he assesses the extent to which US state legislators are held accountable when they cast specific unpopular roll-call votes or more generally are ideologically out of step with their constituency. While he does find evidence of non-zero accountability, the extent to which state legislators are held accountable in this way is weaker than for the US Congress. In addition to enabling this novel comparison of accountability at the federal and state level, Rogers is able to examine a rich set of interactions with media density, legislative staff ratios, and other factors that seem to shape accountability. Overall, Rogers provides the first comprehensive demonstration that electoral accountability for state legislator roll-call behavior in the US is weak in absolute terms, relative to federal accountability, as well as relative to other known influences on state legislative elections.
In “Childhood Skill Development and Adult Political Participation,” John B. Holbein provides a new lens on the aspects of childhood that shape political socialization and engagement of adults. To establish a causal connection between the psychological attributes that children develop and their levels of adult voter participation, the author leverages data of the Fast Track intervention—a multi-site field experiment that was designed as a clustered random trial to improve the psychosocial skills (“children's emotion regulation and social-cognitive skills”) of a cohort of high-risk children, who were starting grade school in the early 1990s. Through a theoretical logic of why these non-cognitive psychosocial skills might affect the ability and inclination of individuals to engage with the political system, Holbein demonstrates that there is evidence of positive effects of these early childhood interventions on voter turnout two decades later. The mediation analysis is consistent with the primary mechanism indeed being the targeted psychosocial skills, and their downstream consequences in adolescence and early adulthood. These findings are relevant both to ongoing debates in education about the cost effectiveness of these kinds of interventions, as well as providing a rare experimental lens onto political socialization. While this is not the first study of political participation to take advantage of an existing early-life intervention study, the content of that intervention makes this a particularly revealing and important study.
Voting is one of the central forms of political action in a democracy. The article “Voter Registration Costs and Disenfranchisement: Experimental Evidence from France,” by Céline Braconnier, Jean-Yves Dormagen, and Vincent Pons, studies whether and to what extent voter registration requirements impede turnout. To answer this research question, they used the French presidential election of 2012 to set up a large-scale field experiment involving 20,500 households split into a control and six treatment groups. Canvassing visits of treatment groups either informed households about the election or helped them register, while treatment groups varied depending the time and frequency of the visits. The authors then engaged in extensive post-election data collection to determine whether participants did cast their vote. The study shows that registration visits are effective because they increase turnout and increase political interest. As the reviewers point out, this study is an excellent example of a well-designed and executed field experiment.
Many revolutions, including the Mexican of 1910—1920, the Russian of 1917, and the Iranian of 1979, followed a period of economic growth and prosperity. Having made this seemingly paradoxical observation for the French revolution of 1789, 18th century political scientist Alexis de Tocqueville made the famous claim that the main threat to a political system comes from the middle class. He argues that this social group becomes particularly frustrated by the gap between their rising aspirations triggered by improving economic conditions and their actual living standard. In their study, “Economic Development, Mobility, and Political Discontent: An Experimental Test of Tocqueville's Thesis in Pakistan,” Andrew Healy, Katrina Kosec, and Cecilia Hyunjung Mo take a closer look at the mechanism behind the “Tocqueville effect,” namely the idea that increasing economic development can generate political discontent. They provide a lucid formal model to capture Tocqueville's verbal theory. The authors test the theoretical predictions in a survey experiment in Pakistan—a country with high inter-generational mobility but a fragile security situation. In line with the theory, their results indicate that individuals who have high aspirations show most eroding government support or political discontent when made to feel relatively poor and economically immobile.
How do we explain variation in state development and prosperity, the wealth of nations, and their institutions? These are some of the big questions in political science and with substantial relevance for modern societies and economies. In their article, “Geography, Transparency, and Institutions,” Joram Mayshar, Omer Moav, and Zvika Neeman contribute to this ongoing debate on the emergence of state institutions. They propose an argument that traces back property rights over land, within-state distribution of power, and scale of ancient states to, ultimately, geographic and technological conditions of a society. The authors test this theory by examining some of the very early institutions in ancient agrarian societies where land was the main capital asset. Their argument is subtle: Whether institutions are more or less extractive and whether central governments are strong or weak, is largely determined by the extent of the information asymmetry between the ruler and the subordinate with respect to the production process. In areas where rulers know whether a bad harvest is due to bad weather conditions or lazy subordinates, rulers extract more and property rights are less secure. By contrast, if production is opaque, the dismissal of farmers does not pay off and rulers grant farmers de facto property rights over the land they cultivate. The theory is developed into a principal-agent model and illustrated with three cases studies of institutional evolution in Ancient Egypt, Southern Mesopotamia, and Northern Mesopotamia.
INSTRUCTIONS TO CONTRIBUTORS
The American Political Science Review (APSR) publishes scholarly research of exceptional merit, focusing on important issues and demonstrating the highest standards of excellence in conceptualization, exposition, methodology, and craftsmanship. A significant advance in the understanding of politics—whether empirical, interpretive, or theoretical—is the criterion for publication in the Review. Because the APSR reaches a diverse audience, authors must demonstrate how their analysis illuminates or answers an important research question of general interest in political science. For the same reason, authors must make their work understandable to as many scholars as possible, consistent with the nature of their material.
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These guidelines apply to all research in political science that combines evidence and analysis to reach conclusions. The APSR recognizes, however, that the general principles will be put into practice differently in different research traditions: different types of materials and information can be provided in different ways.
• For example, for survey research, along with providing the parts of the dataset that they analyzed, authors might provide sampling procedures, response rates, and question wordings; and a calculation of response rates according to one of the standard formulas given by the American Association for Public Opinion Research, Standard: Final Dispositions of Case Codes and Outcome Rates for Surveys (Lenexa, KS: AAPOR, 2006).
For observational data, authors should list the dataset in the reference section of their article, and provide the parts of the dataset that they analyzed.
• For example, for articles that analyze a qualitative dataset in aggregate (e.g., if using QCA/fs), authors should list the dataset in the reference section of their article, and provide the parts of the dataset that they analyzed. Where authors draw on individual data sources (e.g., books, interviews, newspaper articles, videos) as distinct inputs to the analysis, each source must be cited, and then listed in the reference section of their article. Whenever possible (within the confines of human subject protections and other exceptions mentioned in the section Data Access), authors should share the relevant fragment of sources that support contested or central empirical claims and make the original sources available to other researchers. If the evidence used to create the dataset or the individual sources were collected and/or generated by the author, she should provide a methodological appendix or section in the paper (that explains how the evidence was collected and/or generated and selected for citation), and all relevant evidence-collection instruments. These and analytical transparency requirements can be satisfied for qualitative research using individual sources by preparing a transparency appendix (TRAX) if the author chooses to do so.
• For example, to achieve transparency in experimental research, authors can provide full descriptions of experimental protocols, methods of subject recruitment and selection, payments to subjects, debriefing procedures, and so on.
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For articles that include candidate gene or candidate gene-by-environment studies, the APSR uses the same policy as the journal Behavior Genetics
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• It was an exploratory study or test of a novel hypothesis, but with an adequately powered, direct replication study reported in the same paper.
• It was an exploratory analysis or test of a novel hypothesis in the context of an adequately powered study, and the finding meets the statistical criteria for genome-wide significance—taking into account all sources of multiple testing (e.g., phenotypes, genotypes, environments, covariates, subgroups).
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Tables and Figures
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References should be listed in a separate section headed “REFERENCES.” All listed references must be cited in the text, and vice versa. Publication information for each reference must be complete and correct.
References should be listed in alphabetical order by authors’ last names; include first names and middle initials for all authors when available. For works with more than one author, only the name of the first author is inverted (e.g., “King, Gary, Robert O. Keohane, and Sidney Verba”). List all authors; using “et al.” in the reference list is not acceptable.
When the cited material is not yet published but has been accepted for publication, use “Forthcoming” in place of the date and give the journal name or publishing house.
List two or more entries by the same author(s) in the order of the year of publication, and substitute three m-dashes for the author's last name in the second and subsequent entries. If two or more cited works are by the same author(s) within the same year, list them in alphabetical order by title and distinguish them by adding the letters a, b, c, etc., to the year (or to “Forthcoming”).
For dissertations and unpublished papers, cite the date and place the paper was presented and/or where it is available. If no date is available, use “n.d.” in place of the date.
References for datasets should include a persistent identifier, such as a Digital Object Identifier (DOI). Persistent identifiers ensure future access to unique published digital objects, such as a text or dataset. Persistent identifiers are assigned to datasets by digital archives, such as institutional repositories and partners in the Data Preservation Alliance for the Social Sciences (Data-PASS).
The following list is intended to be illustrative of more common reference types, not exhaustive. For additional reference guidance please see The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition.