Comparative Politics comparative politics

These unobserved covariates may determine both the likelihood of a unit’s being subjected to the treatment and the likelihood of its evincing the effect. Because these covariates are unobserved, we cannot test the proposition that they, rather than the treatment or putative cause, are actually responsible for the effect. Since times very ancient, comparative politics has been a very popular and useful subject of study within the broad ambit of Political Science.

The aim of the analysis is to establish the sequences and the variations of scale and time that characterize a given political process. One of the fundamental concepts of historical institutionalism is path dependence. The theory of path dependence argues that, in politics, decisions made at time t will tend to shape the decisions made at time t  1.

  • This article discusses several crucial questions that comparative political scientists address.
  • Comparative study was regarded as the key to the understanding of politics and consequently the key to provide answers to these two question.
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  • In practice, this innovative measure has sparked controversy and conflict in Malawi, Namibia, and Zambia, among others, where the outgoing president has sought to change the constitution to ensure that he could serve a third term.
  • Africa experienced poor governance and rampant corruption in the decolonization decades of the 1970s and 1980s, in part because of the diffuse corruption of public officials and governors.
  • Therefore, to explain continued volatility, we must look beyond changes in the structure of voter preferences.

Barrington Moore’s Social Origins of Democracy and Dictatorship embarked in a parallel examination of the political and economic evolution of great powers since the early modern period. Empirical study of political processes, structures and functions forms the core of Comparative Politics studies. Its aim is to build a scientific theory of politics capable of explaining all phenomena of politics. In Africa, Asia, and Latin America, comparative politics has focused, in particular, on the functioning of elections, thus contributing to identify criteria for evaluating the legitimacy of the electoral process. That notwithstanding, in many African countries, elections have not called into question the power of former liberation movements or ruling parties to dominate domestic politics. At the same time, the end of the Cold War and the prospect of the political reaggregation of the continent have accelerated the process of European integration; in the period from the Maastricht Treaty to the Lisbon Treaty , Europe has become the European Union .

It goes without saying that, to be effective, this method requires a large number of quantitative and reliable data. However, whereas the experimental method presupposes the existence of a cause-and-effect relation, the statistical method does not. Thus, without the support of a theory concerning relations between variables , the statistical method is destined to be of little use in scientific research. Moreover, when using this method, one is forced to neglect factors that are not easily quantifiable, such as cultural factors. In contrast to the natural scientist, the political scientist cannot hope to study politics in a laboratory, in which the intervening factors can be kept constant so that the causal effects of the independent variable on the dependent variable can be reconstructed. Politics is rather more complex than what is studied in a science laboratory, above all because it involves factors that cannot be isolated and is structured by interactions that cannot be separated.

Hence, rational choice theory derives its extraordinary academic and scientific success, especially among the community of U.S. political scientists, where it still sustains a strong hegemony of neoclassical economics within the social sciences. Aristotle compared and contrasted different types of government in his work “The Politics”. Comparative politics, also called comparative government, describes a method of scientific study in the political science field.

Theories Of Comparative Politics

Those cultural differences are relatively durable, even if they are not immutable. They can explain, for example, why some countries enjoy a stable democracy whereas others do not. The theorists of political culture have sought to provide an intersubjective analysis of politics, in which the intersubjectivity is conditioned by the cultural context in which it develops. Yet, according to the critics, the concept of political culture risks being tautological in character.

In democracies, how do citizens’ preferences get translated into demands for one public policy over another? If everyone in a society had the same preferences, the problem would not be a problem at all. And scholarship on preference aggregation must come to grips with social choice theory, which should lead us to doubt that citizens in any setting in which politics is multidimensional can (p. 555)evince any stable set of policy preferences. The dominant strains of research, some of which come to grips with the social choice challenge and others of which ignore it, include examinations of the congruence of various sorts . One kind of congruence study looks at the fit between constituents’ preferences and the issue positions of their representatives. Another looks at the fit between electoral outcomes and the allocation of elected offices, treating citizens’ policy preferences as though they were fully expressed by their votes.

The historical transformations that have occurred after the end of the Cold War have called into question the concept of sovereignty itself, which is the foundation of the study of comparative politics. With the processes of globalization that have unfolded tempestuously since then, the external and internal sovereignty of the nation-state has been eroded. Simultaneously, the complexity of political systems and their external relations has increased to such an unprecedented extent as to give rise to a complex interdependence. This complex interdependence is changing the nature, powers, and outlook of the units used by comparative analysis for the study of politics. It simultaneously disarticulates domestic and international politics, creating more levels of correlation between variables, levels that are not necessarily connected with each other. The main theories generally have a focus on institutions; they are variations of the institutionalist approach.

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Aristotle, the father of Political Science, used comparative method for comprehending and analysing principles, issues and problems of Greek City States of his times. It is clear that Europeanization constitutes a formidable challenge to the assumptions of comparative politics—namely, to conceive of the European states as sovereign and independent units that are autonomous in terms of decision making. In Europe and elsewhere, the dividing line between internal politics and external politics has shifted significantly . Explaining variations in governance models and their impacts on local climate change policy” (Jan.2020-Dec. 2022) involves multi-level analysis of climate policy in Germany, Sweden and the UK. Economist Intelligence Unit’s country analysis and forecasts covers over 200 countries and highlight political, economic and business developments in all significant markets, both established and emerging.

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The features, merits, demerits, similarities and dissimilarities of political institutions were compared and an attempt was made to identify the best political institutions. Since the turn of the century, many students of comparative politics have compared units within a country. Relatedly, there has been a growing discussion of what Richard O. Snyder calls the “subnational comparative method.” To foster such support, proposals for integrating traditional institutions of leadership and governance into modern structures of representation were advanced. These traditional institutions are still influential at local and regional levels in many countries around the world.