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By the standards of the ancient Chinese curse (“May you live in interesting times”), my transition into the position of Editor of the APSR was cursed. Only a few days into these new duties, I looked up one morning from the stack of manuscripts on my desk, glanced out of the window at the beautiful blue sky, and beheld smoke billowing from the Pentagon.
The motor of international politics has been war among the leading states. The most developed states in the international system—the United States, Western Europe, and Japan—form what Karl Deutsch called a security community, which is a group of countries among which war is unthinkable. These states are the most powerful ones in the world and, so, are traditional rivals. Thus the change is striking and consequential. Constructivists explain this in terms of changed ideas and identities; liberals point to democracy and economic interest; realists stress the role of nuclear weapons and American hegemony. My own explanation combines the high cost of war, the gains from peace, and the values that are prevalent within the security community. Whatever the cause, the existence of the community will bring with it major changes in international politics and calls into question many traditional theories of war.
Is there a dictatorial peace that resembles the democratic peace? This paper uses a new data set compiled by Barbara Geddes to examine the conflict behavior of three types of autocratic regimes—personalist, military, and single-party dictatorships—in the post-World War II era. We find some evidence that specific types of authoritarian regimes are peaceful toward one another. No two personalist dictators or two military regimes have gone to war with each other since 1945. These dyads were not less likely to engage in militarized interstate disputes than were mixed dyads, however. Although single-party regimes were the only homogeneous dyad in this study to have experienced war, multivariate analyses of participation in militarized interstate disputes suggest that single-party states are more peaceful toward one another than are mixed dyads. Thus, while we have found no unambiguous evidence of a dictatorial peace to match the robustness of the democratic peace, there is substantial interesting variation in the conflict behavior of specific types of authoritarian regimes. The analysis presented here demonstrates that studies of the impact of regime type on conflict behavior must work from a more sophisticated conception of authoritarianism.
In this paper we investigate whether there are any tactical motives behind the distribution of grants from central to lower-level governments. We use a temporary grant program that is uniquely suitable for testing theories of vote-purchasing behavior of incumbent governments. The temporary grant program differs from traditional intergovernmental grants in several aspects, most importantly in the sovereign decision-making power given to the incumbent central government. We find support for the hypothesis that the incumbent government used the grant program under study to win votes. In particular, we find strong support for the Lindbeck–Weibull/Dixit–Londregan model, in which parties distribute transfers to regions where there are many swing voters. This result is statistically as well as economically significant. We do not, however, find any support for the model that predicts that the incumbent government transfers money to its own supporters.
This paper reframes our inquiry into voter turnout by making aging the lens through which the traditional resource and cost measures of previous turnout research are viewed, thereby making three related contributions. (1) I offer a developmental theory of turnout. This framework follows from the observation that most citizens are habitual voters or habitual nonvoters (they display inertia). Most young citizens start their political lives as habitual nonvoters but they vary in how long it takes to develop into habitual voters. With this transition at the core of the framework, previous findings concerning costs and resources can easily be integrated into developmental theory. (2) I make a methodological contribution by applying latent growth curve models to panel data. (3) Finally, the empirical analyses provide the developmental theory with strong support and also provide a better understanding of the roles of aging, parenthood, partisanship, and geographic mobility.
Voting choices are a product of both personal attitudes and social contexts, of a personal and a social calculus. Research has illuminated the personal calculus of voting, but the social calculus has received little attention since the 1940s. This study expands our understanding of the social influences on individual choice by examining the relationship of partisan biases in media, organizational, and interpersonal intermediaries to the voting choices of Americans. Its results show that the traditional sources of social influence still dominate: Interpersonal discussion outweighs the media in affecting the vote. Media effects appear to be the product of newspaper editorial pages rather than television or newspaper reporting, which contain so little perceptible bias that they often are misperceived as hostile. Parties and secondary organizations also are influential, but only for less interested voters—who are more affected by social contexts in general. Overall, this study demonstrates that democratic citizens are embedded in social contexts that join with personal traits in shaping their voting decisions.
Recent evidence suggests that elites can capitalize on preexisting linkages between issues and social groups to alter the criteria citizens use to make political decisions. In particular, studies have shown that subtle racial cues in campaign communications may activate racial attitudes, thereby altering the foundations of mass political decision making. However, the precise psychological mechanism by which such attitudes are activated has not been empirically demonstrated, and the range of implicit cues powerful enough to produce this effect is still unknown. In an experiment, we tested whether subtle racial cues embedded in political advertisements prime racial attitudes as predictors of candidate preference by making them more accessible in memory. Results show that a wide range of implicit race cues can prime racial attitudes and that cognitive accessibility mediates the effect. Furthermore, counter-stereotypic cues—especially those implying blacks are deserving of government resources—dampen racial priming, suggesting that the meaning drawn from the visual/narrative pairing in an advertisement, and not simply the presence of black images, triggers the effect.
This study argues that, due to selective political coverage by the entertainment-oriented, soft news media, many otherwise politically inattentive individuals are exposed to information about high-profile political issues, most prominently foreign policy crises, as an incidental by-product of seeking entertainment. I conduct a series of statistical investigations examining the relationship between individual media consumption and attentiveness to several recent high-profile foreign policy crisis issues. For purposes of comparison, I also investigate several non-foreign crisis issues, some of which possess characteristics appealing to soft news programs and others of which lack such characteristics. I find that information about foreign crises, and other issues possessing similar characteristics, presented in a soft news context, has indeed attracted the attention of politically uninvolved Americans. The net effect is a reduced disparity in attentiveness to select high-profile political issues across different segments of the public.
Exposure to conflicting political viewpoints is widely assumed to benefit the citizens of a democratic polity. Nonetheless, the benefits of exposure to heterogeneous political viewpoints have yet to be demonstrated empirically. Drawing on national survey data that tap characteristics of people's political discussion networks, I examine the impact of heterogeneous networks of political discussion on individuals' awareness of legitimate rationales for oppositional viewpoints, on their awareness of rationales for their own viewpoints, and on levels of political tolerance. Finally, utilizing a laboratory experiment manipulating exposure to dissonant and consonant political views, I further substantiate the causal role of cross-cutting exposure in fostering political tolerance.
Does a typical House member need to worry about the electoral ramifications of his roll-call decisions? We investigate the relationship between incumbents' electoral performance and roll-call support for their party—controlling for district ideology, challenger quality, and campaign spending, among other factors—through a series of tests of the 1956–1996 elections. The tests produce three key findings indicating that members are indeed accountable for their legislative voting. First, in each election, an incumbent receives a lower vote share the more he supports his party. Second, this effect is comparable in size to that of other widely recognized electoral determinants. Third, a member's probability of retaining office decreases as he offers increased support for his party, and this relationship holds for not only marginal, but also safe members.
Eligible voters have been coordinating their turnout and vote decisions for the House of Representatives in midterm elections. Coordination is a noncooperative rational expectations equilibrium. Stochastic choice models estimated using individual-level data from U.S. National Election Studies surveys of the years 1978–1998 support the coordinating model and reject a nonstrategic model. The coordinating model shows that many voters have incentives to change their votes between the presidential year and midterm after learning the outcome of the presidential election. But this mechanism alone does not explain the size of midterm cycles. The largest source of loss of support for the president's party at midterm is a regular pattern in which the median differences between the voters' ideal points and the parties' policy positions have become less favorable for the president's party than they were at the time of the presidential election (nonvoters show the same pattern). The interelection changes are not consistent with the theory of surge and decline.
How do domestic political institutions affect the outcomes of international trade negotiations? Specifically, are the aggregate trade barriers agreed upon by a democratic pair lower than those by a pair composed of a democracy and an autocracy? I revisit these important questions by highlighting some problematic aspect of the analysis by Mansfield, Milner, and Rosendorff (2000). Contrary to their central conclusion, I find that whether the aggregate trade barriers are lower for a democratic pair than those for a mixed pair depends on the preferences of the decision makers involved. Thus, although domestic political institutions are important, they alone are insufficient to predict a higher level of cooperation among democracies.
Our earlier article established that pairs of democracies trade more freely than country-pairs composed of a democracy and an autocracy (Mansfield, Milner, and Rosendorff 2000). Xinyuan Dai (2002) incorrectly asserts that our conclusion depends on the preferences of the decision makers who formulate trade policy. We show that Dai fails to accurately replicate our model, and hence erroneously claims that the new equilibria she deduces are consistent with it. In addition, we demonstrate that in altering one of our assumptions, Dai offers a model that is less realistic as well as inconsistent with the substantive literature on international bargaining. Finally, we question the robustness of her approach. Due to these problems of replication, realism, and robustness, we conclude that Dai's model is of limited utility.
As Ted Becker and Christa Slaton affirm in their introduction to The Future of Teledemocracy, this is not “just another book” of scholarly reflection but, rather, an account of “a way of life” (p. xii) in which they have played a central role. Consequently, instead of a detached, critical investigation of the dynamic encounter among technology, communication, and democratic politics, or even a dispassionate appraisal of the implications of a particular aspect of this encounter, what we receive in this book is an intimate digest of Becker and Slaton's 23-year “odyssey” on behalf of their own vision of teledemocracy—complete with “true blue allies” and powerful enemies “who opposed our ideology and had the means to halt our experiments” (p. xi)—framed by a futurist manifesto that unfortunately diminishes the contribution made by the chronicle of the authors' crusade.
Shane Phelan and Mark Blasius have played a leading role in the development of a lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender (LBGT) literature within political science, and their most recent texts enrich both this specialized field and the study of politics as a whole. Phelan's investigation of citizenship begins with the claim that LBGT people are “strangers” in American society. According to Zygmunt Bauman (Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and Ambivalence, 1991), the Jews in European history were strangers. Neither friend nor enemy, they were treated as an ambiguous and shifting figure of otherness that marked the boundary between us and them, but at the same time calling into question the very possibility of such a clear exclusionary division. Critical readings of anti-Semitic discourse can be quite fruitful for the study of homophobia because the demonized subject in both cases is an enemy within who is simultaneously excessively present but invisible; powerful and threatening but harmless and effeminate; physically close but spiritually remote; embodying the highest intellectual and aesthetic values but expressing modern urban decadence and decay, circulating in “mainstream” society and seductively corrupting the innocent, but shunning “mainstream” society and remaining an unassimilated difference within its own separatist cultural enclave. Phelan puts Bauman's stranger trope to good use as she explores the complex positioning of LBGT people in American official discourse and culture.
Drucilla Cornell has two goals: Pinpoint equal freedom as the core of sexual equality and make the case for the equal rights of gays and lesbians. Interwoven within these themes is a case for sexual freedom itself, for men and women. With erudite references to a wide multidisciplinary swath of literature, she succeeds in hammering home these concerns and in demanding that the sociolegal order reform its policies affecting sexuality, reproduction, and definitions of family. In these respects, this is a valuable study of how the United States specifically and other societies referentially fall short of what Christine Littleton calls making sex “cost free.” Cornell's book, which in the subjects and issues it analyzes covers very familiar territory, is intriguing for a very different reason. It is one of a very few works in radical feminist thought that is fundamentally about employing the tenets of classical liberalism, if not libertarianism, in the service of progressive social change. In contrast with the paradigms of modal feminism, which address social structures and connectedness, and which are concerned predominantly with equality, this work unabashedly focuses on the individual and stresses the freedom of each as a sexual being.
Film, painting, disease, nationalism, mass media, literature, family values, capital punishment, music lyrics, theater, UFOs, the Statue of Liberty, and Appalachian hollers are some of the cultural texts subject to political analysis in this impressive volume of sixteen essays. Neither are these cultural sites presumed to be transparent nor are their investments fully known. They are problematized, pluralized, specified, and contextualized in terms of such political categories as liberalism, communitarianism, privacy, civility, nationhood, citizenship, community, the will, responsibility, the common, revolution, public sphere(s), and the political itself (p. 19). This approach, which Jodi Dean terms an “interface” between cultural studies and political theory, captures how cultural forms such as film and literature cannot be decoupled from their political moorings, just as a political concept like citizenship is always embedded with cultural meanings.
Exploring the ordinary is a reasonable and fun way to get through the day. Thomas Dumm takes the exploration along a cart path toward democratic politics, dramatizing the intersections and reciprocal influences of everyday life and political events and the forces of conformity and normalcy that shackle the ordinary. The working technique is juxtaposition, the kind of display that one finds in the store windows of, well, ordinary life in towns and cities. The pantheon of familiar figures and texts includes Emerson, Thoreau, Nixon, Disney, alien depictions, Lowi, Wolin, Cavell, the King's Two Bodies, Baudrillard, and many more, all offered as showcase for the book's main claim that the ordinary is the primary source of the democratic imagination.
If I had to talk about this book to my students, I would begin by describing its cover. The image of the upside down Capitol with the cupola hanging over the key word of the title (Cunning) invites the reader to peruse this fascinating and melancholic book as a species of inverted Hegelianism. This is a book about regret. It regrets what seems out of reach—politics as “something … uniquely courageous, direct, and even potentially effective in its assault on the misery and injustice of the great bulk of collective human life” (pp. ix–x). Its perspective is realistic but contains a glimmer of hope. Dunn's realism is ateleological and open to a moderate voluntarism; it conveys a disillusioned pessimism along with the belief that our politics can be less corrupt and cynical. Hope counterbalances the inexorable fatalism of reason. Its source is acceptance of the limits of human rationality, an endogenous fact unamendable to History's infallibility. Hope is the daughter of judgmental fallibility, the hunch that there is “room for maneuver” (pp. 347–8).
As their scholarship indicates, Henry Edmondson and Tim Spiekerman share two basic assumptions: There exist certain enduring issues of politics, such as the nature of social justice and the legitimacy of power, and authors of fiction, drama, and poetry who write with knowledge and sensitivity about the human condition often will have something significant to say about them.