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Comparative Politics Terms
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Political Studies
10/06/2009

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Term
Covariance
Definition
As x varies, how does y change?
- Positive or negative associations
Term
Positive Relationship
Definition
when X is above/below its mean, Y tends to be above/below its mean.
Term
Negative Relationship
Definition
When X is above/below its mean, Y tends to be below/above its mean
Term
No relationship
Definition
When X is above/below its mean, Y is equally likely to be above or below its mean.
Term
Correlation
Definition
Covariation expressed in standardized units
- Represents strength of linear association
- between -1 and +1
- higher absolute value, = data points are more tightly arranged along a line.
Term
Endogeneity
Definition
why x causes y, and not y causing x
Term
Confounding variables
Definition
Z causes X and Y, no relationship between X and Y
Term
Selection Effects
Definition
Special form of confounding variable, Z selects X and causes Y
Term
Causation
Definition
We say that X is a cause of Y if we have good reason to believe that:
1. X possesses the capacity to alter Y
2.Changes of X are associated with changes of Y after control of all possible factors
3. we can identify one or more mechanisms by which X exerts causal influence on Y
4. in principle intervention on X changes Y
Term
Stratification
Definition
1.to control a variable is to remove its affect from the study
2.stratify the sample: create sub-groups that are homogenous on the confounding factor
Term
Experiments
Definition
Randomization and Assignment:
1. randomly assign to treatment and control groups
2. manipulate treatment
3.measure responses:
- randomization controls confounders, makes groups homongenous on confounders
- between group differences should be statistically significant
Term
Observational Studies
Definition
Non random assignment:
1. Scholars of comparative politics generally cannot conduct experiments
2. some process assigns subjects
3. far fewer possibilities for control groups
Term
Falsifiability:
Definition
eliminate explanations that cannot, in principle be falsified
Term
Culture and Comparative Politics (Cultural theory)
Definition
Hypothesis: beliefs and affiliated practices of large cultural units (nations, religions, ethnic groups) shape political and economic outcomes.
Term
Cultural Heterogeneity:
Definition
- cultures differ across time and space

- individuals belong to multiple cultural groups
Term
Institutions
Definition
Partisan patterns of authoritative behavior
Term
partisan:
Definition
favor some interests over others
Term
authoritative
Definition
violations of rules are sanctioned
Term
Institutions of private property
Definition
- secure access to and use of property and hence secure returns on investment
- broad based property produces income equality
Term
Extractive Institutions
Definition
- Population faces constant threat of government based expropriation
- highly concentrated wealth
Term
Power
Definition
general capacity of an agent to impose their preferences on others.
Term
4 sources of power:
Definition
Disproportionate control over:
1. Economic resources needed for material survival and comfort
2.Military resources(physical and human) of coercion and violence.
3. political organizations used to legislate and enforce rules
4. ideological cultural meaning, values, and practices.
Term
Direct ownership:
Definition
large landowner, head of private army, unconstrained governor, charismatic religious figure
Term
Indirect:
Definition
control exercised by an agent who occupies a position within an institutionalized system of control over resources
Term
Ruling Elite - Model
Definition
Given extreme inequality, elites create framework that leads to inequality (based on institutions)
- corrupt government
- low investment in public infrastructure
- biased legal system
Term
Dahl's Critique of the Ruling Elite Model:
Definition
1. They run things
2. this argument is unfalsifiable
3. must craft testable hypothesis
Term
Agency:
Definition
Human capacities of intentionality, deliberation, rationality
Term
Structure:
Definition
Trans-individual factors or conditions that:
- are inherited
- are resistant to change
- constrain actors choices
- are biased towards certain outcomes
Term
Despotic Power:
Definition
refers to command: the range of actions which the elite is empowered to undertake without routine, institutionalized negotiation with civil society groups.
Term
Infrastructural Power
Definition
Refers to enforcement: does the population comply with the demand?
- The capacity of the state to actually penetrate civil society and to implement logistically political decisions throughout the realm
Term
Low DP, Low IP states
Definition
pre modern city states
Term
High DP, Low IP
Definition
pre- modern empires (roman)
Term
Principal Agent Relations:
Definition
rulers (principals) must delegate power to agents
- rulers cannot perfectly monitor agents
- agents can "cheat"
Term
Distributive Power:
Definition
distributive power is zero - sum;

- A uses power to expropriate resources from B
Term
Collective Power
Definition
Not zero-sum:
A uses power to induce cooperation from B to achieve shared goals that cannot be achieved by unorganized individuals
Term
Private Goods:
Definition
excludibility: owner decides who enjoys good
solitary supply: rival uses of the good create loss.
Term
Public Goods:
Definition
Non-excludable: anyone can enjoy consumption of good, even if they have not paid for its consumption
Non rival consumption: increased consumption does not diminish supply
Term
Power Theory
Definition
specific combinations of power (combinations of despotic and infrastructural power) produce democracy (or autocracy), wealth (or poverty), order (or disorder)
Term
States
Definition
organizations that claim and exercise priority over households, kinship groups and other forms of social organization within substantial territories due to their control over power resources
Term
Patrimonial States
Definition
Power is vested in the agent, Obedience to Ruler
Term
Legal Rational States
Definition
Power vested in office, obedience to rules
Term
Capitalism
Definition
"profit making enterprises with heavy investments in fixed capital and a rational organization of free labour which is oriented to the market purchases of consumers
Term
Legibility:
Definition
lower transaction costs of extraction:
- costs of identifying other party
- costs of negotiating agreement
- costs of monitorying compliance
Term
particularism
Definition
vocabularies and practices that are inaccessible to others
Term
Census
Definition
data on birth, death, marriage, children, property
Term
Nation:
Definition
community of people that recognize themselves as culturally distinct due to:
- common cultural practices
- common homeland
- strong sense of shared, formative history
- common destiny
Term
Nationalism
Definition
ideology that claims a nation can achieve its common destiny only through mass cooperation via sovereign political institutions