Gibson and Shaw: Politics as Unusual

Nadine Ginbson and Daron Shaw and I published an article in Social Science Quarterly, “Politics as Unusual? Exploring Issues and the 2016 Presidential Vote” (

Conclusion: Relative to other Republican presidential candidates, Trump was more effective in tapping into anti‐political feelings prior to the Republican Convention. By the general election, issue perceptions of Trump were similar to those we see for most Republican presidential candidates. Feelings toward third‐party candidates, however, were more strongly structured by an anti‐politics dimension.

Xiaobo Lü: Recent Publications

Xiaobo Lü’s article “Policy Coalition Building in an Authoritarian
Legislature: Evidence from China’s National Assemblies (1983–2007)”
(with Mingxing Liu and Feiyue Li)  is forthcoming in Comparative Political Studies, as is
“The Sources of De Facto Power and Education Provision: Understanding Local Government Incentive in China” (with Mingxing Liu) in Publius: The Journal of Federalism.

Shannon Bow O’Brien: Why Presidential Speech Locations Matter

Palgrave published Shannon Bow O’Brien’s book, Why Presidential Speech Locations Matter: Analyzing Speechmaking from Truman to Obama.

Decription: This book explores speeches by American presidents. Domestic public presidential speechmaking helps us understand the pressures, priorities, and targeted audiences of different presidencies.  Many administrations generally work to reinforce already existing support though some may try to reach out to new areas.  Census areas help us better understand where presidents prioritize speeches in certain areas of the country. Designated Market Areas, or media markets, allow us to look at presidential speechmaking without geographical constraints and focus on areas of population concentrations.  Electoral College results show that most administrations prefer to give speeches in places where they have the most electoral support to reinforce their bases. The chapter on vacation locations explores how some presidents use Camp David or their homes as places to actively speak, while some administrations just use them as retreats. Foreign speeches allow us to see that most presidents prefer to speak in openly free countries more than other places.

Ben Gregg: Recent Publications

“The Coming Political Challenges of Artificial Intelligence” in Ramón Reichert, Mathias Fuchs, Pablo Abend, Annika Richterich, and Karin Wenz, eds., Digital Culture & Society

“How to Read for Current Developments in Human Genetics Relevant to Justice” in Politics and the Life Sciences

“Self-Isolation Should Not Be an Indigenous Human Right” in Monções: Revista de Relações Internacionais da Universidade Federal da Grande Dourados

Thomas Pangle: The Socratic Way of Life

The University of Chicago Press has published Thomas Pangle’s The Socratic Way of Life: Xenophon’s “Memorabilia:”  – The first book-length study in English of the philosophic teaching of Xenophon’s masterwork. Inspired by Hegel’s and Nietzsche’s assessments of Xenophon as the true voice of Socrate as founder of political philosophy, this book establishes Xenophon’s MEMORABILIA as the groundwork of all subsequent political philosophy.

Stephen Jessee: Estimating Ideology

Stephen Jessee’s “(How) Can We Estimate the Ideology of Citizens and Political Elites on the Same Scale?” appeared in the October 2016 issue of American Journal of Political Science.

Abstract: Estimating the ideological positions of political elites on the same scale as those of ordinary citizens has great potential to increase our understanding of voting behavior, representation, and other political phenomena. There has been limited attention, however, to the fundamental issues, both practical and conceptual, involved in conducting these joint scalings, or to the sensitivity of these estimates to modeling assumptions and data choices. I show that the standard strategy of estimating ideal point models using preference data on citizens and elites can suffer from potentially problematic pathologies. This article explores these issues and presents a technique that can be used to investigate the effects of modeling assumptions on resulting estimates and also to impose restrictions on the ideological dimension being estimated in a straightforward way.

Ami Pedahzur: Policy Entrepreneurs, Terrorism

Ami Pedahzur’s “Policy change inch by inch: Policy entrepreneurs in the Holy Basin of Jerusalem” (with Ilana Speizman and Ori Swed) was published in Public Administration.

“The Gap between Participation and Violence: Why We Need to Disaggregate Terrorist ‘Profiles’ – A Research Note” (with Arie Perliger and Gabriel Koehler-Derrick) was published in International Studies Quarterly, and (with Arie Perliger) “Counter-Cultures, Group Dynamics and Religious Terrorism” appeared in Political Studies.

Amy Liu: Language and Economic Growth

Amy Liu’s “The Language of Economic Growth: A New Measure of Linguistic Heterogeneity” (with Elise Pizzi) is forthcoming in British Journal of Political Science.

Abstract: Conventional wisdom holds that languages, as ethnic markers, build communities with shared preferences and strong social networks. Consequently, ethnolinguistic homogeneity can facilitate growth. This article challenges this conception of language as a cultural marker. It argues that language is also a practical vehicle of communication; people can be multilingual, and second languages can be learned. Hence language boundaries are neither (1) congruent with ethnic boundaries nor (2) static. If true, the purported advantages of ethnolinguistic homogeneity should also be evident in countries with large populations of non-native speakers conversant in official languages. The study tests this hypothesis using an original cross-national and time-variant measure that captures both mother-tongue speakers and second-language learners. The empirical results are consistent with the understanding of language as an efficiency-enhancing instrument: countries with exogenously high levels of heterogeneity can avoid the ‘growth tragedy’ by endogenously teaching the official language in schools.

Kurt Weyland: Patterns of Diffusion

Kurt Weyland’s “Patterns of Diffusion: Comparing Democratic and Autocratic Waves” appeared in the November 2016 issue of Global Policy.

Abstract: This essay examines why the diffusion of autocratic rule tends to unfold more slowly, yet with greater effectiveness (‘success’) than pro-democratic waves often do. A precedent of progressive regime change often inspires fairly unorganized crowds in many other countries to initiative spontaneous emulation efforts, as it happened in the revolutions of 1848 and the Arab Spring of 2011. Yet this lack of organization creates a high risk of failure. By contrast, the overthrow of democracy, which can also stimulate imitation attempts, is usually spearheaded by well-established organizations, such as the military, which jump on the bandwagon less rashly, but pursue their goals more effectively. Therefore, autocratic waves advance with lower speed, yet greater ‘success’ than pro-democratic riptides often do, as was evident in the diffusion of authoritarianism and fascism during the interwar years and the spread of military dictatorships in Latin America during the 1960s and 1970s.

Chris Wlezien: US Presidential Elections in Comparative Perspective

Chris Wlezien’s “Policy (Mis)Representation and the Cost of Ruling: US Presidential Elections in Comparative Perspective,” is forthcoming in Comparative Political Studies.

Abstract: The cost of ruling effect on electoral support is well established. That is, governing parties tend to lose vote share the longer they are in power. Although we know this to be true, we do not know why it happens. This research examines whether the cost of ruling results at least in part from the tendency for governing parties to shift policy further away from the average voter. It first considers differences in political institutions and how they might influence cost of ruling owing to policy drift, and then tests the hypothesis focusing on U.S. presidential elections, which is an unfavorable case to find such an effect. Results confirm a clear cost of ruling effect in these elections and demonstrate that policy misrepresentation is an important mechanism. That is, the policy liberalism of presidents from different parties diverges over time as their tenure in the White House increases, and the degree to which it does matters for the presidential vote. Policy is not the only thing that matters, and other factors, in particular the economy, are more powerful. From the point of view of electoral accountability, however, the results do provide good news, as they indicate that substantive representation is important to voters. Elections are not simply games of musical chairs.

Lorraine Pangle: Xenophon and Ambition

Lorraine Pangle’s “Xenophon on the Psychology of Supreme Political Ambition,” is forthcoming in American Political Science Review.

Abstract: This study illuminates Xenophon’s teaching about the underlying psychological motives of the most fully developed political ambition. An analysis of what the Cyropaedia portrays as the interplay among Cyrus’s spiritedness, justice, benevolence, piety, and cultivation of an aura of divinity leads to an unveiling of supreme ambition’s deepest root: not the desire for power as such, nor the love of justice, but the desire to be a quasi-divine benefactor. The article traces the development of this ambition from its earliest manifestations in the young Cyrus’s puppylike spiritedness, through his hope-filled rise to power, to his grim mature rein and his death, showing how a shadowy concern for immortality drives him in ways he is reluctant to see or acknowledge.

Scott Wolford: Forthcoming JOP

Scott Wolford’s “The Problem of Shared Victory: War-Winning Coalitions and Postwar Peace” is forthcoming in Journal of Politics.

Wolford’s other forthcoming articles include: “Wars of Succession” in International Interactions;
“Alliances and the High Politics of International Trade,” in Political Science Research and Methods (with Moonhawk Kim).

Wolfed recently published: “National Leaders, Polit-ical Security, and the Formation of Military Coalitions,” in International Studies Quarterly (with Emily Ritter), and “The Rebels’ Credibility Dilemma,” in International Organization (with Jacana Thomas and William Reed.

David Leal: Recent Publications

David Leal’s recent publications include an edited Springer volume (with Néstor P. Rodríguez), Migration in an Era of Restriction and Recession: Sending and Receiving Nations in a Changing Global Environment, and, with Jerod Patterson and Joe Tafoya. “Religion and the Political Engagement of Latino Immigrants: Bridging Capital or Segmented Religious Assimilation?” RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences (Special issue on “Immigrants Inside Politics/Outside Citizenship”).

Juliet Hooker: Political Theory Article

Juliet Hooker published an article in the August issue of Political Theory.

Title: Black Lives Matter and the Paradoxes of U.S. Black Politics: From Democratic Sacrifice to Democratic Repair

Abstract: This essay seeks to understand the complex response to the current Black Lives Matter protests against police violence, which pose deeper questions about the forms of politics that black citizens—who are experiencing a defining moment of racial terror in the United States in the twenty-first century—can and should pursue. When other citizens and state institutions betray a lack of care and concern for black suffering, which in turn makes it impossible for those wrongs to be redressed, is it fair to ask blacks to enact “appropriate” democratic politics? These questions are explored via a reading of Danielle Allen and Ralph Ellison’s meditations on the problem of democratic loss and Hannah Arendt’s critique of school desegregation battles in the 1960s. I suggest that there is a conceptual trap in romantic historical narratives of black activism (especially the civil rights movement) that recast peaceful acquiescence to loss as a form of democratic exemplarity.

Wlezien: Best MPSA Paper

Chris Wlezien will be honored at the Midwest Political Science Association’s annual conference for winning the Pi Sigma Alpha award for the best paper presented at the 2015 meeting: “The Company You Keep: How Citizens infer Parties’ Postions on Europe from Governing Coalition Arrangements” (with James Adams and Lawrence Ezrow), will be published in AJPS.

Wendy Hunter: Documents, Please

Wendy Hunter’s article (with Robert Brill), “Documents, Please: Advances in Social Protection and Birth Certification in the Developing World,” appears in the April issue of World Politics.

Abstract: A birth certificate is essential to exercising citizenship, yet vast numbers of poor people in developing countries have no official record of their existence. Few academic studies analyze the conditions under which governments come to document and certify births routinely, and those that do leave much to be explained, including why nontotalitarian governments at low to middle levels of economic development come to prioritize birth registration. This article draws attention to the impetus that welfare-building initiatives give to identity documentation. The empirical focus is on contemporary Latin America, where extensions in institutionalized social protection since the 1990s have increased the demand for and supply of birth registration, raising the life chances of the poor and building state infrastructure in the process. The authors’ argument promises to have broader applicability as welfare states form in other developing regions.

Mexico’s Evolving Democracy – Edited Volume

Ken Greene, with Jorge Dominguez, Chappell H. Lawson, and Alejandro Moreno, recently published an edited volume with Johns Hopkins University Press, Mexico’s Evolving Democracy.

From the publisher’s site:

In 2012, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)—which had governed Mexico with an iron grip for 71 years before being ousted in 2000—was surprisingly returned to power. In Mexico’s Evolving Democracy, a team of distinguished political scientists delivers an exceptional analysis of the remarkable 2012 Mexican elections. Extending the scholarship that the editors generated in their panel studies of the 2000 and 2006 elections, the book assesses all three elections from both traditional and nontraditional vantage points, seeking fuller answers to the lingering question of why this maturing democracy returned the party associated with Mexico’s old regime to office.

To evaluate the PRI’s rehabilitation and eventual electoral success, the authors explore Mexico’s electoral institutions, parties, candidates, campaign strategies, public opinion surveys, and media coverage. They also delve into issues of clientelism, corruption, drugs, violence, and the rise of new protest movements in the run-up to and aftermath of the elections.

Not only does the book provide rich detail for Latin American electoral and democratization scholars, but its coherent narrative will also appeal to those unfamiliar with Mexican politics. Parts one and two offer an excellent recap of the “state of play” in 2012; part three analyzes why Mexicans voted as they did; and part four considers the election’s implications for Mexico’s political system more broadly.

Mixed Signals: IMF Lending and Capital Markets

Terry Chapman, with Songying Fang, Xin Li and Randall W. Stone, has an article forthcoming in the British Journal of Political Science.

Title:: “IMF Lending and Capital Markets”

Abstract: The effect of new International Monetary Fund (IMF) lending announcements on capital markets depends on the lender’s political motivations. There are conditions under which lending reduces the risk of a deepening crisis and the risk premium demanded by market actors. Yet the political interests that make lenders willing to lend may weaken the credibility of commitments to reform, and the act of accepting an agreement reveals unfavorable information about the state of the borrower’s economy. The net ‘catalytic’ effect on the price of private borrowing depends on whether these effects dominate the beneficial effects of the liquidity the loan provides. Decomposing the contradictory effects of crisis lending provides an explanation for the discrepant empirical findings in the literature about market reactions. This study tests the implications of the theory by examining how sovereign bond yields are affected by IMF program announcements, loan size, the scope of conditions attached to loans and measures of the geopolitical interests of the United States, a key IMF principal.

ISQ Publishes Replication Symposium

Scott Wolford’s article, “Oil Discoveries, Shifting Power, and Civil Conflict,” is the subject of a recent ISQ replication symposium:

Oil Discoveries, Shifting Power, and Civil Conflict: A formal and quantitative replication

“Oil Discoveries, Shifting Power, and Civil Conflict”

From the LBJ’s Strauss Center:

Expanding on Initial Work, Scholars Make Contribution Says Wolford

In a upcoming post for International Studies Quarterly, Strauss Center Distinguished Scholar and UT Professor Scott Wolford and co-author Curtis Bell respond to recent replication of their theoretical and empirical work. In the post, Wolford responds to what he calls “rigorous” and “thoughtful” follow up work on the link between oil resources and civil conflict. In pointing to these contributions, Wolford concludes that replication can lead to “new, creative, and unanticipated insights.”

In their 2014 article, “Oil Discoveries, Shifting Power, and Civil Conflict”, Wolford and Bell explored the impact of oil discoveries on the strategic environment. In particular, they examine the relationship between oil discoveries and bargaining between governments and rebel groups and the impact of resource wealth on civil conflict. They concluded that the discovery of oil has the potential to change the expectations of either group, which can reduce willingness to bargain and increase the likelihood of civil conflict.

Wolford explains that attempts by authors Ritter and Florea to replicate this initial work have yielded substantial and significant contributions. In particular, Wolford says the authors explore the possibility that regimes might pursue preemptive repression following oil discoveries, warranting further examination of regimes’ coercive capacity. They also consider the impact of prospective oil wealth on government motivation to engage in conflict or negotiate a peace deal, pointing out that the desire to actually realize resource wealth might make regimes more likely to bargain to achieve stability.

McDonald: Great Powers and the Causes of Peace

Pat McDonald’s article has been accepted for publication in International Organization.

Title: Great Powers, Hierarchy, and Endogenous Regimes: Rethinking the Domestic Causes of Peace

Abstract: This paper blends recent research on hierarchy and democratization to examine the theoretical and empirical costs of treating regime type exogenously in the literature most identified with studying its impact on international politics. It argues that the apparent peace among democratic states that emerges in the aftermath of World War I is not caused by domestic institutional attributes normally associated with democracy. Instead, this peace is an artifact of historically specific great power settlements. These settlements shape subsequent aggregate patterns of military conflict by altering the organizational configuration of the system in three critical ways—by creating new states, by altering hierarchical orders, and by influencing regime type in states. These claims are defended with a series of tests that show first how the statistical relationship between democracy and peace has exhibited substantial variation across great power orders; second, that this statistical relationship breaks down with theoretically motivated research design changes; and third, that great powers foster peace and similar regime types within their hierarchical orders. In short, the relationship between democracy and peace is spurious. The international political order is still built and managed by great powers.