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Striving better to uncover causal effects, political science is amid a revolution in micro-empirical research designs and experimental methods. This methodological development—although quite promising in delivering new findings and discovering the mechanisms that underlie previously known associations—raises new and unnerving ethical issues that have yet to be confronted by our profession. We believe that addressing these issues proactively by generating strong, internal norms of disciplinary regulation is preferable to reactive measures, which often come in the wake of public exposés and can lead to externally imposed regulations or centrally imposed internal policing.
This article explores how language policy affects the socioeconomic development of nation states through two channels: the individual’s exposure to and (in reference to an individual’s mother tongue) linguistic distance from the official language. In a cross-country framework the article first establishes a robust and sizeable negative relationship between an official language that is distant from the local indigenous languages and proxies for human capital and health. To establish this relationship as causal, we instrument language choice with a measure of geographic distance from the origins of writing. Next, using individual level data from India and a set of 11 African countries, we provide microempirical support on the two channels—distance from and exposure to the official language—and their implications for educational, health, occupational and wealth outcomes. Finally, we suggest policy implications based on our findings.
With assistance of the APSA, the political science members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) held their standing meeting at the annual APSA convention in Chicago. The purposes of these meetings are two-fold: First, as required, to discuss ways that political science can fulfill the NAS mission in providing scientific evidence to address consequential public issues that come from queries posed by various agencies of government; and second, to increase the presence of political scientists in the Academy, where membership from our discipline is, in our view, much lower than political scientists' contributions to the scientific community, and does not adequately recognize the many political scientists who merit election. While we have made some progress toward this second goal, it is a complicated battle: 2,179 members and 437 foreign associates across scientific disciplines have been elected to and currently serve in the NAS, but only 21 are political scientists. Although the science-based mission of NAS does not seek to represent all of the highly pluralistic discipline of political science, far more research relying on methods that are recognized in the natural sciences is produced in our field than is presently represented in the NAS.
Both papers in this volume on which I was asked to comment (James E. Monogan III, “A Case for Registering Studies of Political Outcomes: An Application in the 2010 House Elections” and Macartan Humphreys, Raul Sanchez de la Sierra, and Peter van der Windt, “Fishing, Commitment, and Communication: A Proposal for Comprehensive Nonbinding Research Registration”) advocate registration regimes for our discipline. The recommendations in both are incremental [promoting, as Lindblom (1965) might have said it, the “intelligence of research” and cognizant of the costs in scientific learning from such a regime if rigidly enforced. Moreover, both papers cite studies by Gerber and various co-authors (e.g., Gerber, Green, and Nickerson 2001) demonstrating publication bias in political science, incentivizing researchers to manipulate their regression models until they can show a z-statistic ≥ 1.96, and thereby reaching standard levels of significance. I fully accept that Gerber et al.'s papers have detected a serious flaw in our scientific practices; there is a problem to be solved. The Monogan and Humphreys et al. proposals are therefore worthy of consideration.
Social and political relations between Europe and the Muslim world are politically fractious. Attacks in Madrid (March 2004) and London (July 2005), and the riots in suburban Paris in November 2005 and November 2007, have all been attributed to “Muslims”. Political parties in Europe (for example the Front National in France, which placed second in the presidential elections of 2002), have mobilized opinion against a Muslim threat to Europe. Relations between the countries and societies of the European Union and the Muslim World have therefore become politically consequential on a number of dimensions – foreign policy in regard to the Middle East; new membership into the EU; and the vast migration of Muslim populations into EU states.
Peter Katzenstein is a prodigiously productive scholar. As a comparativist, a student of international relations, an historian, and one who has successfully bridged the qualitative and quantitative divide in our discipline, he has made signal contributions to general international relations, political economy, security studies, European and German studies, Asian and Japanese studies, and political science in general. In this brief résumé, seven of his friends and collaborators highlight his major contributions.
Popular wisdom in the burgeoning literature on terrorism focuses on the economic motivations of terrorists. “We fight against poverty,” President George W. Bush explained in Monterrey, Mexico, on March 23, 2002, “because hope is an answer to terror.” Stern (2003) also draws a direct connection between poverty and terrorism. Though poverty is an attractive answer to the question of “why terrorism?”, the data do not lend much support for it. Macroeconomic shifts generally fail to map on to changes in terrorist activity. For example, in the late 1990s and 2000, when terrorism reached new heights against Israeli citizens, the typical Palestinian was reporting a rosier economic forecast and unemployment was declining. Using a longer time series, Berrebi (2003) finds little correlation between economic conditions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the number of terrorist incidents against Israel. An even more perplexing problem for the poverty thesis arises on the microlevel. Several studies at the individual level of analysis have failed to find any direct connection between education, poverty, and the propensity to participate in terrorism (Russell and Miller 1983; Taylor 1988; Hudson 1999; Krueger and Maleckova 2003; Berrebi 2003; Atran 2003). If anything, those who participate in terrorism tend to come from the ranks of the better off in society.
Those who claim a connection between poverty and terrorism could respond that at least on the microlevel, well-to-do citizens become terrorists out of public spiritedness for their impoverished fellow citizens, and organizations choose them to perform these tasks because of their reliability and skill.
This chapter organizes the conjectures from a rationalist literature on terrorist organizations, analyzing the strategic issues that they face and the consequences of their actions. From this perspective, terrorism is seen as one of a set of rebel tactics that is chosen in response to changes in five factors: funding, popular support, competition against other rebel groups, the type of regime against which they are fighting, and counterinsurgency tactics. However, once groups adopt terrorist tactics over other, more traditional, tactics of insurgency, terrorism becomes self-perpetuating. This is especially true when the use of terrorist tactics coincides with a shift into underground modes of organization.
The value added by this literature, in conjunction with some standard econometric analyses, is that it helps to identify the relevant actors, to reckon their utilities and payoffs, and to highlight different factors that affect when/where/and against whom terrorists strike. However, because the studies under review are not, by and large, written as part of a coherent, self-aware literature, a summary of the conjectures offered in the literature will not lead to an internally consistent body of testable hypotheses. Instead, we use the literature as a jumping off point to suggest a series of broad hypotheses that should serve as a foundation for future theoretical analysis and statistical testing. The emphasis here will be on developing hypotheses to understand why, where, and when civilians are likely to become victims in rebellions.
The three books under review reflect a radically altered agenda in
social science, affected by the attacks of September 11, 2001, in which
international terrorism in general and suicide missions in particular are
“hot” topics. But because (sadly) new cases are recorded
daily, the analyses in these books must be considered exploratory.Eli Berman is professor of economics at the
University of California at San Diego. David D. Laitin is James T. Watkins
IV and Elise V. Watkins Professor of Political Science and an affiliated
faculty member of the Center for International Security and Cooperation at
Partly hidden beneath the complexities of N* and an attack on the supposedly individualist presumptions of ethnic fractionalization measures, a simple and valuable question lies implicit in Cederman and Girardin's (2007) article (henceforth, CG). Are countries at greater risk of civil war when the state is controlled by an ethnic minority?
The Dark Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing was written by one of the premier macro-historical sociologists writing in the early twenty-first century. Through his two-volume study of The Sources of Social Power, Mann carries forward the great tradition of Marx, Weber and Moore with his vast historical knowledge, his conceptual innovations (portraying power in its separate military, economic, political and ideological components), and his compelling normative concerns (for social justice and the revulsion of violence). The Dark Side sparkles with the erudition and normative concerns that characterize his earlier writings. And his portrayals of murderous acts by states taken against their own populations – often in contradiction to approaches I have taken on the same issues – reflect an understanding of process, contingency and the popular social base of grisly perfidy. Much of the book is so well grounded sociologically and historically that both the complexity of the particular and the patterns of the general are retained.
Yet in regard to the principal set of theses, he uses his erudition and keenness of subtle argument to cloud social reality rather than to clarify it. This is a strong charge to hold against a scholar of Mann's stature. Yet I believe it is fully justified. Rather than enumerate the sub-theses that are cogently developed, or summarize his enlightening reconstruction of events, I will focus here on my critique of his principal theses.
There are two separate points I will make to support my charge.
THIS REMARKABLE COLLECTION of (mostly reprinted) essays is first and foremost a defense of the statistically-based research program that has motivated Professor Goldthorpe's work through a distinguished career. In defending the statistical methodology that has become a standard in his corner of sociology, he also sets sharp limits to what can be contributed through qualitative methods. He then offers a challenge for future statistical analysts to address more directly that program's theoretical foundations. The dozen essays range widely in questions of methods and substance — in this review I provide no general summary but rather highlight a dual plea he makes to his profession: to marry macro statistical work to micro theory; and to press colleagues who engage in case study, historical, and ethnographic work to think more rigorously about what inferences can be correctly drawn from their low-n studies.
This paper asks (a) why and how institutions change, (b) how an institution persists in a changing environment, and (c) how processes that it unleashes lead to its own demise. The paper shows that the game-theoretic notion of self-enforcing equilibrium and the historical institutionalist focus on process are both inadequate to answer these questions. Building on a game-theoretic foundation, but responding to the critique of it by historical institutionalists, the paper introduces the concepts of quasi-parameters and self reinforcement. With these concepts, and building on repeated game theory, a dynamic approach to institutions is offered, one that can account for endogenous change (and stability) of institutions. Contextual accounts of formal governing institutions in early modern Europe and the informal institution of cleavage structure in the contemporary world provide illustrations of the approach.
Political science remains an emergent discipline; but research within it has congealed around a set of well-defined programs that has engaged an international community of scholars. Here I will identify three of these programs in order to show the continued intellectual vibrancy of the discipline. First, in normative theory, political scientists are working out the implications of John Rawls' A Theory of Justice in a program that has reinvigorated liberalism to make it speak to core political issues of our time. Second, in a program once embedded bureaucratically in “American Politics,” political scientists are working out the implications of Duncan Black's median voter theorem in an expanded set of democratic countries with different institutional details to address the core political issues of representation and accountability. Third, relying on extensive cross-sectional time-series data previously unavailable, on computer programs not imaginable a generation ago, and on theoretical developments in econometrics, political scientists are fulfilling a dream of the founders of the behavioral revolution (Stein Rokkan, S. M. Lipset, and Karl Deutsch) by addressing systematically the sources of democracy and political order. To be sure, there are other political science research programs, for example, in international relations, in comparative political economy, and in political psychology, that could well have been elucidated in this essay. My goal here, in addressing Professor Sartori's jeremiad, is not to show the scope of the field, but rather its quality, its internationalism, and its real-world relevance. This is best done with a few select examples.
An influential conventional wisdom holds that civil wars proliferated rapidly with the end of the Cold War and that the root cause of many or most of these has been ethnic and religious antagonisms. We show that the current prevalence of internal war is mainly the result of a steady accumulation of protracted conflicts since the 1950s and 1960s rather than a sudden change associated with a new, post-Cold War international system. We also find that after controlling for per capita income, more ethnically or religiously diverse countries have been no more likely to experience significant civil violence in this period. We argue for understanding civil war in this period in terms of insurgency or rural guerrilla warfare, a particular form of military practice that can be harnessed to diverse political agendas. The factors that explain which countries have been at risk for civil war are not their ethnic or religious characteristics but rather the conditions that favor insurgency. These include poverty—which marks financially and bureaucratically weak states and also favors rebel recruitment—political instability, rough terrain, and large populations.We wish to thank the many people who provided comments on earlier versions of this paper in a series of seminar presentations. The authors also gratefully acknowledge the support of the National Science Foundation (Grants SES-9876477 and SES-9876530); support from the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences with funds from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; valuable research assistance from Ebru Erdem, Nikolay Marinov, Quinn Mecham, David Patel, and TQ Shang; sharing of data by Paul Collier.
We examine the theoretical implications of the observation that ethnic identities are socially constructed for explaining ethnic violence, distinguishing between two classes of mechanisms. If individuals are viewed as the agents who construct identities, then constructivist explanations for ethnic violence tend to merge with analyses that stress strategic action by both elites and mass publics. In contrast, if discursive formations are the agents that construct ethnic identities, then constructivist explanations tend to merge with accounts that stress internal logics of specific cultures. Using the books under review as a “sample,” we find considerable evidence linking strategic aspects of ethnic identity construction to violence and more limited evidence implicating discursive systems. The most common narrative in these texts has largescale ethnic violence provoked by elites, often motivated by intra-ethnic conflicts. Followers follow, despite the costs, out of increased fear of thugs and armies “let go” by elites (both the other side's and their “own”) and often in pursuit of local grievances that may have little ethnic component. Several other mechanisms are also discussed, including the role of discursive systems in conditioning publics for violence and the role of violent efforts to enforce “everyday primordialism” by policing supposedly primordial ethnic boundaries.