Comparative Politics

Comparative Politics - Introduction to Comparative Politics...

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Introduction to Comparative Politics January 9 – How to Think Normative argument – ethical or moral, based on values, rights and justice Positive argument – argument about actual state of world o Answers questions “why?” or “how?” o Based on facts, casual reasoning Rich democracies last longer than poorer ones because o Wealthy citizens don’t like to take risks o Living in a dictatorship is risky because dictator’s friends benefit High correlation between wealth and democracy Omitted variables: wealthy societies also tend to be highly educated, have a middle class; poor countries tend to have ethnic conflicts In wealthy states, citizens can threaten government with exit if it is not responsive Rank these countries in terms of degree of democracy: USA, Turkey, Italy, Mexico, Argentina, South Korea, Russia, Nigeria, Egypt, Israel, Poland, Ukraine, India, Pakistan, Botswana, South Africa, Indonesia, china, Thailand, Venezuela January 14 – Democracy 2 types of definitions Substantive o Source of Authority Rousseau – government expresses general will o Purposes of Rule Realize common good (e.g., economic justice) Procedural o Procedures for rule: public gathering, lot, election Dahl: Modern democracy has 2 dimensions o Contestation – competition for office, leaders can be removed o Inclusiveness – all citizens can participate equally A working definition: o System is democratic to the extent that its most powerful collective decision- makers are selected through fair, honest and periodic elections in which candidates freely compete for votes and in which virtually all the adult population is eligible to vote How to measure democracy? Conceptualization o Minimalist or maximalist – are you looking at just the existence of elections or what actually goes on o Dichotomous or continuous Validity: measures correspond to concepts Reliability: repeatedly and consistently produces same score for a given case o Objective or subjective judgments
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Replicability Judging democracies can rely on subjective and objective factors Liberalism: basic rights and freedom o Speech, assembly, press, etc. A part of democracy by definition or separate? Usually they go together o US is a liberal democracy But sometimes don’t o Turkey is an illiberal democracy o Spain before 1975: liberal dictatorship Why democracy? o Prevents long-term tyranny o Ensures liberal rights o People are best judge of their own interests o Fair terms of social contract o Produces best policies o Prevents war (democratic peace theory) o An end in itself (zoon politikon – political animals, fulfills our inner nature to do something outward) Arguments against democracy o Anarchism (coercion is never justified) o Guardianship (Plato, Marx) Recent version: people are stupid o Toughness (fascism) January 16 Democracy’s defects o Loss of efficiency o Lack of effectiveness
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course POLI_SCI 250 taught by Professor Roberts during the Winter '08 term at Northwestern.

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Comparative Politics - Introduction to Comparative Politics...

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