Introduction to Comparative Politics

University of Nottingham (2018)

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Course Handbook

Lectures

Compulsory Reading

William Clark, Matt Golder and Sona Golder, Principles of Comparative  Politics, (3rd edition) 2017

Essay Reading

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Clark, William Roberts (2013) ‘The Cultural Determinants of Democracy and Dictatorship’, Chapter 7 of  Principles of Comparative Politics, London: Sage Publications, pp.223-263

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Mueller & Seligson (1994) Civic Culture and Democracy, American  Political Science Review, Vol.88, No.3 (Sep 1994), pp.635-652

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Zakaria, Fareed (1997) The Rise of Illiberal Democracy, Foreign Affairs (Nov 1997)

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Gorodnichenko & Roland (2015) Culture, Institutions and Democratisation, NBER Working Paper 21117, National Bureau of Economic Research

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Harden, B. (2014) Conceptualising and Assessing the State of Democracy in the World Today (student essay)

Useful links

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Freedom House (Freedom in the World Surveys)

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Our World In Data (Democracy)

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International IDEA publications

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Week 1

1. What is Comparative Politics?

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Lecture 1 Presentation

  • Introduction to the module
  • Attendance and participation
  • What is the difference between comparative politics and other fields?
  • What questions does CP ask?

2. Why do we use science to study politics?

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Lecture 2 Presentation

  • Politics vs Political Science
  • The scientific method
  • Conditions of causality
  • Why is ‘science’ important?

Seminar: Introduction to the module

Week 1 Reading

Required Reading

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Lim, Timothy, ‘What is Comparative Politics, Chapter 1 of Doing Comparative Politics, (2nd edition), Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2010, pp. 1-26

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Summary of Lim, Chapter 1

Recommended Reading

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Levitt, Steven D. and Stephen J. Dubner, Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2005, Chapter 4, “Where Have All the Criminals Gone?”

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Clark, Golder & Golder, ‘Introduction,’ Chapter 1 of Principles of Comparative  Politics, (3rd edition)

Freakonomics video on the causes of the drop in the crime rate in the US during the 1990s (11 mins)

 

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Week 2

3. How do we study comparative politics?

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Lecture 3 Presentation

  • Spurious vs non-spurious relationships
  • Levitt’s theory
  • The scientific method
  • Using comparison to test hypotheses
  • Small-N (comparing a few cases)
  • The MSS and MDS designs

4. Other approaches to comparative politics?

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Lecture 4 Presentation

  • Large-N techniques (i.e. the statistical method)
  • Introduction to multivariate analysis
  • Strengths and weaknesses of different approaches
  • N of 1: The comparative case study

Seminar: The Scientific Method

Week 2 seminars will follow up on lecture 2’s material on the scientific method. The purpose of the seminar is to help you think about how you can apply the scientific method to the study of political phenomena. The debate over guns in America will serve as the example for this seminar. You will think about how you might apply the scientific method to the arguments about why there are so many gun murders in the United States.

Week 2 Reading

Required Reading

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Clark, William Roberts (2013) ‘What is Science?’, Chapter 2 of Principles of Comparative Politics, London: Sage Publications, pp.19-47

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Summary of Clark, Chapter 2

Recommended Reading

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Collier, David (1993) The Comparative Method, Chapter 5 of  Political Science: the State of the Discipline II, by Ada W. Finifter, (ed.), Washington, D.C.: American Political Science Association, pp.105-119

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Milazzo, Moser & Scheinet (2017) Social Diversity Affects the Number of Parties Even Under the First-Past-the-Post Rules, Comparative Political Studies, pp.1-37

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Week 3

5. Essay overview and using the library

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Lecture 5 Presentation

  • Essay assignment: explain differences in the quality of democracy
  • Where can you find the data you need?
  • How can you find academic sources?

6. What is democracy and how can we measure it?

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Lecture 6 Presentation

  • Types of definitions
  • Types of measures
  • Criticisms of different types of measures

Seminar : The Comparative Method

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Seminar Presentation

Week 3 Reading

Required Reading

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Clark, William Roberts (2013) ‘What is Science?’, Chapter 2 of Principles of Comparative Politics, London: Sage Publications, pp.19-47

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Summary of Clark, Chapter 2

Recommended Reading

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Lim, Timothy C. (2010) Comparing to Learn, Learning to Compare, Chapter 2 of Doing Comparative Politics: an introduction to approaches and issues, Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, pp.31-65

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Dalton, Russell J. (2007) Understanding Democracy: data from unlikely places, Journal of Democracy, Vol.18, No.4 (Oct 2007), pp.142-156

Clark, William (2013) ‘Democracy and Dictatorship: Conceptualization and Measurement,’ Chapter 5 in Principles of Comparative Politics, pp.145-162

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Tilly, Charles (2007) What is Democracy? Chapter 1 of Democracy, Cambridge: CUP, pp1-24 SEE SIDEBAR

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Huntington, Samuel P. (1991) Democracy’s Third Wave, Journal of Democracy, Vol.2,  No.2 (Spring 1991), pp.12-34

Data on Democracy:

Spend some time exploring the cross-national and temporal trends in democracy around the world.

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Freedom House: “Freedom in the World”

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Centre for Systematic Peace: “Polity IV”

Further materials

Causal Reasoning: Mill’s Methods (9 mins)

 

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Kemerling, Causal Reasoning (short article)

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Democracy (Boundless Sociology)

Democracy and Majority Rule (Ian Shapiro, Yale, 50 mins)

 

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Week 4

7. Is there a relationship between development and democracy?

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Lecture 7 Presentation

  • Variation in democracy
  • Classic economic modernisation theory
  • Critiques of classic modernisation theory
  • Przeworksi’s survival story

8. Under what conditions is too much wealth bad for democracy?

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Lecture 8 Presentation

  • Classical economic modernisation theory assumes ‘all good things go together’
  • Ross’s Oil Curse Theory
  • The natural resource theory of democracy

Seminar: Measurement

This seminar will follow up on lecture 4 and help you work through your understanding of measurement and the challenges associated with measuring complex political phenomena. The seminar is designed to help you prepare for the undertaking the task of measurement in your essay.

Week 4 Reading

Essential Reading

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Ross, Michael (2012) More Petroleum, Less Democracy, Chapter 3 in The Oil Curse: how petroleum wealth shapes the development of nations, Princeton University Press, pp.38-72

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Lipset, Seymour Martin (1959) Some Social Requisites of Democracy: Economic development and political legitimacy, The American Political Science Review, Vol.53, No.1 (Mar 1959), pp.69-105

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Review Article by Diamond, American Political Science Review, Vol.100, No.4 (Nov 2006), pp.675-676)

Recommended Reading

Clark, William (2013) ‘The Economic Determinants of Democracy and Dictatorship,’ Chapter 6 in Principles of Comparative Politics, pp.175-188, 198-201, 206-210

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Przeworski & Limongi (1997) Modernization: Theories and facts, World Politics, Vol.49, No.2 (1997), pp.155-183

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Clark, John (1997) Petro-Politics in Congo, Journal of Democracy, Vol.8, No.3 (July 1997)

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Week 5

9. Are certain values necessary for democracy?

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Lecture 9 Presentation

  • Culture is correlated with democracy
  • For others, development comes first
  • How do we measure culture?

10. Measuring Culture

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Lecture 10 Presentation

  • Polity IV
  • Democracy and certain values tend to go together
  • Surveys
  • Measuring Inglehart’s Theory of Culture

Seminar: Transition and Democratisation

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Seminar Presentation

Week 5 Reading

Required Reading

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Ross, Michael (2012) More Petroleum, Less Democracy, Chapter 3 in The Oil Curse: how petroleum wealth shapes the development of nations, Princeton University Press, pp.38-72

Recommended Reading

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Inglehart & Carballo (1997) Does Latin America Exist? (And is There a Confucian Culture?): A global analysis of cross-cultural differences, Political Science and Politics, Vol.30, No.1 (Mar 1997), pp.34-47

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Inglehart, Ronald () How Solid Is Mass Support for Democracy? – And how can we measure it?

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Welzel & Inglehart (2008) The Role of Ordinary People in Democratisation, Journal of Democracy, Vol.19, No.1 (Jan 2008), pp.126-140

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Clark, William (2013) ‘Cultural Determinants of Democracy and Dictatorship,’ Chapter 7 in Principles of Comparative Politics, pp.145-162

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Inglehart, Ronald (1997) ‘Value Systems: The subjective aspect of politics and economics,’ Chapter 1 in Modernization and Postmodernization: cultural, economic and political change in 43 societies, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, pp.7-50

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Putnam, Robert D (1993) Social Capital and Institutional Success, Chapter 6 of Making Democracy Work: civic traditions in modern Italy, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, pp.163-185

Extra material

Explaining Civil Society (3 mins)

 

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Quick tutorial guide to using online analysis with the World Values Survey

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Week 6

11. Executives: Presidential vs Parliamentary Systems

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Lecture 11 Presentation

  • Democratic institutions
  • Classifying types of democracy: Presidentialism and Parliamentarism

12. The consequences of executive choice

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Lecture 12 Presentation

  • Differentiating between systems
  • Why do governments fall?
  • Criticisms of parliamentary and presidential systems
  • Why are presidential regimes more problematic?

Seminar: Executives

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Seminar Presentation

Week 6 Reading

Required Reading

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Linz, Juan J. (1990) The Perils of Presidentialism, Journal of Democracy, Vol.1, No.1 (Winter 1990), pp.51-69

Recommended Reading

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Lijphart, Arend (2012) ‘Cabinets: Concentration versus sharing of executive power,’ Chapter 6 of Patterns of Democracy: government forms and performance in thirty-six countries, (2nd edition), Yale University Press, pp.79-104

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Lijphart, Arend (2012) ‘Executive-Legislative Relations: Patterns of dominance and balance of power,’ Chapter 7 of Patterns of Democracy: government forms and performance in thirty-six countries, (2nd edition), Yale University Press, pp.105-129

Clark, William (2013) ‘Parliamentary, Presidential and Semi-Presential Democracies: making and breaking governments,’ Chapter 12 in Principles of Comparative Politics, pp.762-772

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Mainwaring & Shugart (1997) Review Article: Juan Linz, Presidentialism and Democracy: A critical appraisal, Comparative Politics, Vol.29, No.4 (Jul 1997) pp.449-471

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Elgie, Robert (2005) Variations on a Theme, Journal of Democracy, Vol.16, No.3 (Jul 2005), pp.98-112

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Carreras, Miguel (2017) Institutions, Governmental Performance and the Rise of Political Newcomers, European Journal of Political Research, Vol.56, pp.364-380

Further Reading

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Forms of Government (Boundless Political Science), short article

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Week 7

13. Electoral Systems

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Lecture 13 Presentation

14. Consequences of Choice of Electoral System

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Lecture 14 Presentation

Seminar: Electoral Systems

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Seminar Presentation

Week 7 Reading

Required Reading

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Dhamija, Bhanu (2016) No, America’s Presidential System is Not Doomed, Huffington Post India, 31 March 2016

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Levinson, Sanford (2017) America’s Founders Screwed Up When They Designed the Presidency.  Donald Trump is Exhibit A. Vox.com,  8 November, 2016

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Klein, Ezra (2017) 4 Political Scientists are Tracking Whether Trump is Damaging American Democracy, Vox, 5 October 2017

Recommended Reading

Clark, William (2013) ‘Elections and Electoral Systems,’ Chapter 13 in Principles of Comparative Politics, pp.621-640

Clark, William (2013) ‘Consequences of Democratic Institutions,’ Chapter 16 in Principles of Comparative Politics, pp.746-758

Lijphart, Arend (2012) ‘Electoral Systems: Majority and plurality methods versus proportional representation,’ Chapter 8 of Patterns of Democracy: government forms and performance in thirty-six countries, (2nd edition), Yale University Press

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Carey & Reynolds (2011) The Impact of Election Systems, Journal of Democracy, Vol.22, No.4 (Oct 2011), pp.36-47

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Meisburger, Timothy M. (2012) Getting Majoritarianism Right, Journal of Democracy, Vol.23, No.1 (Jan 2012), pp.155-163

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Reynolds & Carey (2012) Getting Elections Wrong, Journal of Democracy, Vol.23, No.1 (Jan 2012), pp.164-168

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Week 8

15. Models of Democracy


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Lecture 15 Presentation

16. Federalism

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Lecture 16 Presentation

Seminar: Checks and Balances

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Seminar Presentation

Week 8 Reading

Required Reading

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Hiltermann, Kane & Alkadiri (2012) Iraq’s Federalism Quandary, The National Interest, 28 Feb 2012

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Dawisha & Diamond (2006) Iraq’s Year of Voting Dangerously, Journal of Democracy, Vol.17, No.2 (Apr 2006), pp89-103

Recommended Reading

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Lijphart, Arend (2012) ‘The Quality of Democracy and a ‘Kinder, Gentler Democracy: Consensus democracy makes a difference,’ Chapter 16 of Patterns of Democracy: government forms and performance in thirty-six countries, (2nd edition), Yale University Press

Clark, William (2013) ‘Effective Government and Policy-making: does consensus democracy make a difference?’ Chapter 15 in Principles of Comparative Politics, pp.701-726

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Lijphart, Arend (2012) ‘The Westminster Model of Democracy’ Chapter 2 of Patterns of Democracy: government forms and performance in thirty-six countries, (2nd edition), Yale University Press

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Lijphart, Arend (2012) ‘The Consensus Model of Democracy,’ Chapter 3 of Patterns of Democracy: government forms and performance in thirty-six countries, (2nd edition), Yale University Press

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Lijphart, Arend (2012) ‘Effective Government and Policy-Making: Does Consensus Democracy Make a Difference?’ Chapter 15 of Patterns of Democracy: government forms and performance in thirty-six countries, (2nd edition), Yale University Press

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Varshney, Shutosh (1998) ‘Why Democracy Survives,’ Journal of Democracy, Vol.9, No.3, pp.36-50

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Lijphart, Arend (2012) ‘Division of Power: The Federal-Unitary and Centralized-Decentralized Contrasts,’ Chapter 10 of Patterns of Democracy: government forms and performance in thirty-six countries, (2nd edition), Yale University Press, pp.174-186

Clark, William (2013) ‘Institutional Veto Players,’ Chapter 15 in Principles of Comparative Politics, pp.643-662

Clark, William (2013) ‘Consequences of Democratic Institutions,’ Chapter 16 in Principles of Comparative Politics, pp.643-662

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Stepan, Alfred (1999) Federalism and Democracy: Beyond the US model, Journal of Democracy, Vol.10, No.4 (October 1999)


Week 9

17. Constitutional Reform in Georgia

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Lecture 17 Presentation

18. India

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Lecture 18 Presentation

Seminar: Predicting Democratisation

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Seminar Presentation

Week 9 Reading

Required reading

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Fairbanks, Charles H. Jr. (2014) Georgian Democracy: Seizing or losing the chance? Journal of Democracy, Vol.25, No.1 (Jan 2014), pp.154-165

Recommended Reading

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Casal Bertoa, Fernando (2017) Polarizing Politics and the Future of Democracy: Georgia in Comparative Perspective


Week 10

19. Module Recap and Exam Prep

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Lecture 19 Presentation


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