What Is Comparative Politics? With Pictures comparative politics

The legitimacy of public institutions has been further reduced by the growing role that noninstitutional actors have acquired in the context of globalization. These actors comprise companies, associations, and transnational nongovernmental organizations that operate outside the border of single states, and they have contributed to the emergence of new supranational regulative systems or international regimes. One may claim that no nation-state is able to control domestic decision-making processes, autonomously steer its own economic dynamics, or develop its own separate cultural identity. The interest in the organization and functioning of democratic regimes has inevitably promoted research on the latter’s performance by scholars of comparative politics. One might argue that the analysis of Western welfare policies constitutes the starting point of comparative policy analysis, and even today, it represents its core business. To the individualistic outlook of rational choice theory, historical institutionalism has placed in opposition a vision of the political process as structured by institutions that have consolidated over time and thus shape this process.

  • As a result, rational choice scholars have ended up studying a problem not because of its political relevance but of its ability to be formalized.
  • It is systematic in that it looks for trends, patterns, and regularities among these political systems.
  • The eight volumes cover every field of politics, from political theory and methodology to political sociology, comparative politics, public policies, and international relations.
  • A large number of political scientists even regard it as an autonomous discipline because of its vast scope and importance for a comprehensive understanding of politics in all societies.
  • The “Comparative Political Data Set” is a collection of political and institutional country-level data provided by Prof. Dr. Klaus Armingeon and collaborators at the University of Berne.

In Africa, the institution of chieftaincy, or even kingdom, is still important in people’s daily existence. Political efforts to sideline, and in some countries to abolish, these traditional institutions have not succeeded. Many countries, in Africa especially, have molded their modern governance institutions around traditional ones. Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa present a model that seems to have struck a balance of mutual respect between modern and traditional institutions. In other countries such as Zimbabwe, chiefs have been directly co-opted into parliament, while in other countries such as Swaziland, it has been the traditional monarchy that has sought to incorporate modern political institutions.

In a nutshell, in spite of having formal mechanisms that should have increased political accountability and the welfare of the population in poor democracies, the provision of public goods and economic performance remain thoroughly deficient in those countries. In our edited volume, Keefer claims that, since the key parameters of democracy and redistribution cannot explain that outcome , it must be political market imperfections that explain the failure of governments to deliver in democracies. In young, poor democracies, politicians lack the credibility to run campaigns that promise the delivery of universal benefits and public goods. Accordingly, they shift to building personal networks and delivering particular goods. This type of electoral connection, compounded by low levels of information among voters, who can scarcely monitor politicians, results in extreme levels of corruption and bad governance. Comparative politics is significant because it helps people understand the nature and working of political frameworks around the world.

Yet party dealignment and electoral volatility have not diminished, even after new parties that should have stabilized the electoral market have entered these party systems. Therefore, to explain continued volatility, we must look beyond changes in the structure of voter preferences. Weakening party–voter ties must be put in the context of a shift in the educational level of the population and new technologies . As parties became less important as informational shortcuts, politics has grown more candidate centered and party elites have been able to pursue electoral campaigns without relying on the old party machinery.

Politics And International Studies

The fundamental transformations induced by the processes of globalization and Europeanization have ended up questioning the methodological and theoretical self-sufficiency of comparative politics. These processes have urged scholars of comparative politics to take the international context of a country into account as an essential variable in explanations of the functioning of domestic politics. Simultaneously, the effects of domestic structures on supranational and international processes have driven international relations scholars to reexamine the methodological and theoretical self-sufficiency of their discipline. Substantial changes in the real world of politics are urging political scientists to develop methods and theories that can come to terms with the complex domestic and international forces that shape the important problems requiring study and explanation. After all, the undertaking of political science, as of all other social sciences, is justified by its ability to furnish plausible solutions to real problems.

Based on specific institutional criteria, Fabbrini has argued that the EU is a political system organized around multiple separations of powers. In the EU, there is no government as such, as in the parliamentary or semipresidential systems of its member states that are organized according to the principle of the fusion of powers. Contrary to systems of fusion of powers, the system of multiple separations of power functions without a government as the final locus of decision-making power. Such systems are proper unions of states rather than nation-states—in particular, unions of asymmetrically correlated states. Because of this asymmetry, such unions cannot accommodate the centralization of decision-making power. If institutions matter, then to classify the EU as a consensual democracy appears highly unconvincing.

States, State Formation, And Political Consent

The different viewpoints of institutionalist scholars have also highlighted the existence of different research programs. The rationalist approach is engaged in a formidable undertaking of simplification of comparative politics, as these scholars aim to provide their research program with a microeconomic foundation. Historical and sociological institutionalists, instead, seem to be engaged in an equally formidable enterprise of complexification of comparative politics, as they start from less limited and less restrictive assumptions. The former seek to construct a theory on the basis of the actor, whereas the latter start from the structures or the meanings embedded in them. Indeed, it is rarely the case that the actors intend to create institutions or that the actors correctly foresee the future impact of institutions.

All taught courses are required to include formative coursework which is unassessed. It is designed to help prepare you for summative assessment which counts towards the course mark and to the degree award. LSE uses a range of formative assessment, such as essays, problem sets, case studies, reports, quizzes, mock exams and many others. Summative assessment may be conducted during the course or by final examination at the end of the course . An indication of the formative coursework and summative assessment for each course can be found in the relevantcourse guide, which in 2020 took into account the provision of both online and on campus forms of teaching, learning and assessment.

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Even in countries that have maintained stability, such as Botswana and Namibia, one-party dominance remains a key feature of their democracy. Politics is a game between individual actors or between collective actors understood as unitary subjects. As Riker has argued in many writings, the aim of this theory is to explain how collective action emerges in a multiactor game and to examine the microlevel foundations of processes that give rise to macrolevel effects. Rather, as pointed out by Margaret Levi, a scholar working within this approach, collective action may be irrational even though individuals act in a rational way, unless they are subjected to the constraints of specific rules in the pursuit of their interests. The statistical method, however, is ever more widely employed by political scientists. Those data are the product of a standardized process of quantitative measurement of aspects of political life—standardized because the same criteria of measurement can be used in different contexts.