The Science of Politics
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The Science of Politics : An Introduction

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A broad, accessible, and rigorous overview of politics, The Science of Politics: An Introduction introduces students to the most substantive and important issues in the field.

Josep M. Colomer takes a unique approach to the study of politics, addressing it from two points of departure: as a fundamental human activity to pursue the common interests of the members of a community (i.e., the "public good") and as the subject of systematic and reliable knowledge (i.e., science). This method helps to bridge a persistent gap between developments in research and actual teaching in the discipline. It provides students with the best possible foundation to build upon as they
move into more advanced study in the field.

FEATURES

* Presents thirty principles that have been established through research over the years
* Gives students the methodological tools to explore, study, and understand questions and issues that they may encounter
* Discusses a variety of key issues including action, representation, government, and policy
* Incorporates a number of pedagogical devices including summaries, key concepts, review questions, problems and applications, comparative case studies, and special features explaining classic research contributions
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Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 192 x 236 x 15mm | 552g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195397746
  • 9780195397741
  • 548,386

Table of contents

INTRODUCTION
What's Politics?
Why Science?
The Book

SOME THINGS WE KNOW
Thirty Propositions in Political Science

I. ACTION

1. THE PUBLIC GOOD
Public Goods
Indivisibility
Externalities
Source 1.1: Private Goods and Public Goods
Types of Public Goods
Pure Public Goods
Club Goods
The Commons
Source 1.2: The Tragedy of the Commons
The Politics of Public Goods
Redistribution Fights
The Growth of Public Expenditure
Box 1.1: Measuring Government's Action

2. COLLECTIVE ACTION
The Individual Logic
Weighed Benefits and Costs
The Free Rider
Selective Incentives
Exit and Voice
Case 2.1: Benefits and Costs of Voting
Sources 2.1: The Individual Logic of Collective Action
The Size of the Group
Types of Groups
Collective Identity
Exploitation of the Large by the Small
Sources 2.2: Small Groups Get Better Organized

3. COOPERATION AND CONFLICT
The Prisoner's Dilemma
Cooperate and Defect
Other Political Dilemmas
Box 3.1: Going for the Blonde
Case 3.1: Prisoner's Dilemma in the Opera
Sources 3.1: Theory of Games
The Evolution of Cooperation
Tit for Tat
Indefinite Plays
Favorable Contexts
Other Games of Collective Action
Chicken
Stag Hunt
Box 3.2: Basic Games
Sources 3.2: Chickens and Stags

4. LEADERSHIP
What is a Leader?
Leaders' Benefits and Opportunity Costs
Leaders' Personal Skills
Cases 4.1: Some Top Leaders
Sources 4.1: Effective Leadership
Leaders and Followers
The Chain Reaction
The Tipping Game
Box 4.1: Tipping Game of Leadership
Institutions for Leadership
Willing Leaders
Reluctant Leaders
Group Asymmetries
Illustration
Public Expenditure, 1870-2005

II. POLITY

5. COMMUNITY
Multilevel Governance
The Scale of Public Goods
Complex Institutions
Box 5.1: The Subsidiarity Criterion
Case 5.1: Local Self-Government in Renaissance Italy
Sources 5.1: Small is Democratic
Sovereignty
State-Building and Nation-Building
State-War Making
State-Failure
Sources 5.2: National and Multinational States
City, State, Empire
City
State
Empire

6. FEDERATION
The Size of The Community
Democratic Benefits
Economic Efficiency
Size and Democracy
Union
Ethnic Variety
Divided Institutions
The Choice of Federalism
Box 6.1: Measuring Ethnic Variety
Case 6.1: Consensual Switzerland
Case 6.2: The Soviet Disunion
Sources 6.1: Self-Government and Union

7. DICTATORSHIP
Forms of Dictatorship
Totalitarianism
Despotism
Authoritarianism
Cases 7.1: The Dictator's Succession
Sources 7.1: Authoritarian and Totalitarian Dictatorships
The Fall of Dictatorships
Revolution and Civil War
Democratization
Case 7.2: Must Islam Be Associated with Dictatorship?

8. DEMOCRACY
What's Democracy?
Overthrowing the Rulers
Consolidation
Box 8.1: Measuring Democracy
Box 8.2: Democracy and Dictatorship in the World
Sources 8.1: Civic Culture
Democracy and Development
Development Favors Democracy
Democracy Favors Development
Box 8.3: Economic Wealth and Political Regime
Cases 8.1: Democratic India, Dictatorial China
Sources 8.2: Socio-Economic Correlations with Political Democratization
Democratic Peace
Peace for Votes
Peace Favors Democracy
Illustration
Country-Building, 1870-2008
Democracy and Dictatorship, 1870-2008

III. ELECTION

9. POLITICAL PARTIES
Why Parties
Formation of Political Parties
Functions of Parties
Types of Parties
Party Members
Two-Level Games
Party Types
Box 9.1: Extreme Activists
Case 9.1: How the UK's Labour Choose Candidates
Source 9.1: The Political Oligarchy

10. ELECTORAL COMPETITION
The Voters
Individual Preferences
The Voter's Utility Function
Collective Distributions of Preferences
Box 10.1: Party Voting and Issue Voting
Sources 10.1: Elections as Markets
Convergence on the Median Voter
Electoral Equilibrium
The Efficient Median Voter
Sources 10.2: The Median Voter Maximizes Social Utility
The Incumbent's Advantage
Governments Win and Lose Elections
Party Identification
Box 10.2: Measuring Electoral Change
Box 10.3: Mathematics of Voting

11. AGENDA FORMATION
Multiple Issues
Individual Indifferences
The Winning Set
Case 11.1: Electoral Competition in the United States
Sources 11.1: Multidimensional Instability
Setting The Agenda
Party Advantage on Issues
Electoral Campaigns
Cumulative Policy Making
Cases 11.2: Electoral Issues in TV Ads
Sources 11.2: Political Arguments

12. PARTY SYSTEMS
Number of Parties
Numbers of Issues and Parties
Ideology
What's an Ideology?
The Left-Right Ideological Dimension
Polarization vs. Consensus
Box 12.1: Measuring Party Systems
Case 12.1: Swing Political Parties
Source 12.1: Types of Party Systems
Illustration
Government Parties, 1945-2005

IV. GOVERNMENT

13. CHOOSING PRESIDENTS
Unanimity
Unanimous Consent
Advantage of the Status-Quo
Majority
The Median Voter's Majority
Majority-Runoff
Plurality
Comparing Majority Runoff and Plurality Rules
The Choice of Majority Rules
Box 13.1: The 'Impossibility' to Be Fair
Box 13.2: Majority Procedures
Case 13.1: Divide and Win in Black and White
Sources 13.1: The Majority is the Whole

14. ELECTING ASSEMBLIES
Assembly Size
Large Countries, Large Assemblies
Seat-Apportionment
Persons and Parties
Community Voting
Single-Seat Districts
Proportional Representation
Electoral Representation
Party Representation
Personal Representation
Box 14.1: Proportional Quotas
Box 14.2: Measuring Proportionality
Case 14.1: Protective Proportional Representation
Cases 14.2. Single-Seat and Multi-Seat Ballots
Sources 14.1: The Chicken and the Egg

15. DIVISION OF POWERS
Assemblies and Presidents
Parliamentary Regime
Presidential Regime
Box 15.1: Three Assemblies
Parliamentary Regime
Single-Party Parliamentarism
Multiparty Parliamentarism
Case 15.1: Ceremonial Chief of State
Presidential Regime
Checks and Balances
Presidentialism
Semi-Presidentialism
Box 15.2: Concentration of Power
Sources 15.1: The Presidentialist Temptation

16. PARTY GOVERNMENT
Single-Party and Multi-Party Government
Appointing the Government
Office and Policy
Power Distribution
Cabinet Duration
Box 16.1: Forming a Winning Coalition
Case 16.1: The Importance of Being Not Too Many
Unified and Divided Government
Divided Elections
Legislative Process
Presidential and Congressional Dominance
Multiparty Presidents
Illustration
Assembly Electoral Systems, 1870-2008
Political Regimes, 1870-2008

FINAL THOUGHTS
FURTHER READING
KEY CONCEPTS
POLITICAL THINKERS
CREDITS
INDEX
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Review quote

"I don't think that anyone has tried to write something like this before. If one wants to give an overview of political science, then this is about the only book there is!"--James A. Robinson, Harvard University


"At long last, a text that puts science back into political science; at the same time, it is not an 'American government and politics' text masquerading as an introduction to political science. I am delighted with it. The central concept of the 'public good' lends coherence to the organization of the book and allows Josep M. Colomer to integrate a vast amount of material encompassing all levels of analysis. The product is a remarkable achievement."--Abdalla Battah, Minnesota State University, Mankato


"The Science of Politics: An Introduction aims to do something that no other political science textbook currently does: to lay out the key 'things we know' about politics that satisfy the criteria of simplicity, practicality, and historical relevance. It is very well written, with an authoritative style that clearly demonstrates an impressive sweep of historical knowledge and understanding. . . . It has an analytical coherence which is consistent throughout the book, in line with the goal to be 'scientific'. This style completely distinguishes this text from others in the field and is a key selling point for students. I would recommend it to others without hesitation."--Helen Margetts, University of Oxford
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About Josep M. Colomer

Josep M. Colomer is a life member of the American Political Science Association and an elected member of the Academia Europaea. He has taught political science in New York, Washington, and Mexico and is currently a Research Professor at the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) in Barcelona. He is the author of more than thirty books, which have been published in six languages.
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