New Publications from Katherine Bersch and Alumnus Greg Michener

Katherine Bersch has two new publications. The first, with Sandra Botero, “Measuring Governance: Implications of Conceptual Choices,” appears in the European Journal of Development Research (26(1): 124–41). The second is with alumnus Greg Michener: “Identifying Transparency,” was published in Information Polity [18(3): 233–4].

A Political Trilemma? Peter Harris Article Forthcoming

“A Political Trilemma? International Security, Environmental Protection and Human Rights in the British Indian Ocean Territory”

Article by Peter Harris forthcoming in International Politics


This article analyzes political questions pertaining to the Chagos Archipelago (British Indian Ocean Territory). In particular, it highlights the interrelatedness of various public policy issues that the extant academic literature has treated as distinct: (1) the US military presence on Diego Garcia; (2) UK efforts to protect the natural environment of the Chagos Islands; and (3) the human rights of the exiled Chagossians, the indigenous people of the Chagos Archipelago. The concept of a trilemma is used to illustrate the unhelpful way in which the interrelatedness of these issues currently is portrayed by the relevant political actors. The article concludes with recommendations for how the trade-offs between military-security, environmental and human rights objectives could be made less stark in the interests of all concerned.

Attention Diversity – Trey Thomas Article Forthcoming

“The Importance of Attention Diversity and How to Measure It”

New article by Trey Thomas, with Amber boydstun and Shaun Bevan, accepted for publication in Policy Studies Journal.


Studies of political attention often focus on attention to a single issue, such as front-page coverage of the economy. However, examining attention without accounting for the agenda as a whole can lead to faulty assumptions. One solution is to consider the diversity of attention; that is, how narrowly or widely attention is distributed across items (e.g., issues on an agenda or, at a lower level, frames in an issue debate). Attention diversity is an important variable in its own right, offering insight into how agendas vary in their accessibility to policy problems. Yet despite the importance of attention diversity, we lack a standard for how best to measure it. This paper focuses on the four most commonly used measures: the inverse Herfindahl Index, Shannon’s H, and their normalized versions. We discuss the purposes of these measures and compare them through simulations and using three real-world datasets. We conclude that both Shannon’s H and its normalized form are better measures, minimizing the danger of spurious findings that could result from the less sensitive Herfindahl measures. The choice between the Shannon’s H measures should be made based on whether variance in the total number of possible items (e.g., issues) is meaningful.

Policy Bubbles: Forthcoming Publication from Policy Agendas Crew

“Policy Bubbles,” by Bryan Jones, Trey Thomas, and Michelle Wolfe, has been accepted for publication in Policy Studies Journal.

Abstract: We develop the concept of a policy bubble to capture the notion of long-term overinvestment in a policy. In sketching the relation of policy bubbles to economic bubbles, we describe how these two concepts have similar origins but different trajectories because they are filtered by different institutions. We examine in some detail three likely instances of ongoing policy bubbles: crime policy, school reform (charter schools and private education vouchers), and the contracting and privatization of public services. We show how these cases differ from the housing bubble of 1997-2007, how they differ from each other, and the extent to which they can be considered policy bubbles. Lastly, we suggest this concept can help unify the policy process literature with the practice of policy evaluation, and outline testable hypotheses for future research.

Securing Peace in Burundi: Book Chapter by Josiah Marineau

Joshiah Marineau has published a chapter, “Securing Peace in Burundi: External Interventions to End the Civil War, 1993-2006,” in the book, Securing Africa: Local Crises and Foreign Intervention.

Abstract: Despite extensive research into the effects of external intervention on civil wars, relatively little work has been done on why and when external actors choose to intervene in a conflict. This chapter argues that the timing of the external intervention in Burundi was primarily contingent upon the acquiescence of the Burundian military, even if the externalities of the conflict initially drew the attention of neighboring countries. More specifically, Tanzania intervened in the civil war to stem the flow of refugees into the country, while South Africa became involved as part of its geostrategic goal of ending the civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Yet the military intervention in Burundi only occurs following the signing of a peace agreement, which called for an external military force to oversee the implementation of the agreement. The chapter thus situates the Burundian civil war within the broader developments in the wars of the Great Lakes region, and analyzes the civil war interventions in four stages: 1993-1996, during which external intervention was marginal; between 1997-2000, in which regional actors and Tanzania step up regional pressure on Burundi; 2000-2004, in which South Africa and the African Union play the dominate role in intervening in the conflict; and finally 2004-2006, during which South Africa, with UN backing, oversaw the conclusion of the civil war.

Peter Harris Review Article Accepted for Publication

Peter Harris’ review article, “The Transatlantic Divide in (Undergraduate) International Relations,” has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Transatlantic Studies.

Abstract: A “transatlantic divide” separates the work of International Relations (IR) scholars in the US from that of their counterparts in the UK. To provide a caricature of the divide, the median IR scholar in the US is supposed to be ontologically positivist, methodologically large-N and practically focused on solving ‘real world’ problems, especially ones pertinent to current US foreign policy. Meanwhile, the stylized British scholar is an anti-positivist and qualitative researcher, primarily concerned with answering normative questions. In reality, of course, there is a great deal of intellectual and methodological variety among faculty on both sides of the Atlantic. Nevertheless, there is more than a kernel of truth in the transatlantic divide thesis, with several scholars finding empirical support for its existence in the discipline’s top journals and on graduate syllabi. In this article, I examine two leading IR textbooks to look for evidence of the transatlantic divide in undergraduate teaching.

Austin Hart Article Accepted for Publication

Journal of Politics will publish Austin Hart’s article, “”Can Candidates Activate or Deactivate the Economic Vote? Evidence from Two Mexican Elections.”

Abstract: Do electoral campaigns affect the strength of the economic vote? Against the conventional expectation that candidates have little influence over when and to what extent economic voting occurs, I argue that political communications systematically condition voters’ willingness to hold candidates responsible for past economic performance. I test this priming-based approach against extant economic voting theory using data from Mexico’s 2000 and 2006 presidential elections, in which economic messages were absent and dominant respectively. The results show that candidates, by choosing to emphasize or deemphasize economic issues in their televised campaign ads, can activate and even deactivate economic considerations in the minds of voters. By bringing the priming approach to economic voting theory, I highlight the importance of communication strategy and demonstrate the power of campaigns to overcome structural conditions thought to hamstring electoral candidates.

Publication and Presentations by Yuval Weber

Yuval Weber presented the paper, “Energy Revenues, Petropolitics and Russian Foreign Policy Outcomes” at the PONARS Eurasia Workshop “Rethinking the Sources of Russian Foreign Policy” held at George Washington University’s Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies on March 16-18.

Weber was also a panelist at the ‘The Rise of the Rest’ discussion put on by the UT-Austin International Affairs Society.

Weber has a review of “Red Gas: Russia and the Origins of European Energy Dependence” by Per Hogselius in the forthcoming issue of Cold War History.

Sorace Article on China’s Post-Earthquake Countryside

Christian Sorace has had an article accepted for publication in The China Quarterly.

“China’s Vision for Developing Sichuan’s Post-Earthquake Countryside: Turning Unruly Peasants into Grateful Urban Citizens”

Abstract: In the aftermath of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, government officials, scholars, and outside observers eagerly hoped that the emergency relief and reconstruction process would bring about the emergence of civil society and increase grassroots democratic participation. Contrary to this optimistic assessment, my article contends that the local state used the opportunity of the disaster as an experimental laboratory to implement an array of already existing national development plans (mainly, urban-rural integration, expansion of domestic demand, and the infrastructural modernization promised by the Open up the West Campaign). The urgency with which the reconstruction was to be completed and the opportunities to meet national-development targets as well as access reconstruction funds were much too tantalizing to resist in the name of grassroots experimentation and political reform. The resort to a ham-fisted Leninist implementation style, however, met with local resistance and contributed to a significant deterioration in local state-society relations in Sichuan. Many local residents continue to anxiously question why the tremendous amount of money the state invested in the reconstruction project has still not yet improved their economic and overall living conditions – pointing to a deficit of local participation and a breakdown in political communication and trust. By focusing on these varieties of disaster reconstruction political economy, my article hopes to shed light on the regime’s vision for developing the countryside, rural politics, and state-society relations in China more broadly. Unless the state is able to incorporate local needs into its development plans, it will not win the trust and support of local residents, regardless of the amount of money it invests or benevolence of its intentions.

Buehler Article on Arab Spring, Morocco Accepted for Publication

Matt Buehler’s article, “The Threat to “Un-Moderate”: Moroccan Islamists and the Arab Spring,” has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Middle East Law and Governance.

Abstract: Across the Muslim world, Islamist groups have chosen to join popular protests stemming from the 2011 Arab Spring. In Morocco, however, an exception emerged. The country’s main Islamist opposition political party – the Justice and Development Party (hizb ala’dala wa al-tanmia) – declined invitations to join demonstrations organized by the February 20th Movement for Change. Under what conditions do Islamist movements support Arab Spring uprisings? Why did the PJD choose to stay outside these protests demanding greater reform? The PJD, some scholars argue, did not support Arab Spring unrest because it is a co-opted Islamist movement. In contrast, I argue that the PJD refused to join the protests because it thought it could leverage them to its advantage. By threatening the Moroccan regime to leave formal party politics for the street, the Islamist party used the unrest to increase its bargaining power, sideline its rivals, and win its policy demands. This threat to “un-moderate” empowered the PJD to get what it wanted from its regime during the Arab Spring.

Listing of Recent Graduate Student Publications

Blake, William. Forthcoming. “God Save This Honorable Court: Religion as a Source of Judicial Policy Preferences.” Political Research Quarterly.

Blake, William. 2012. “Umpires as Legal Realists.” PS: Political Science and Politics 45(2): 271-276..

Blake, William. Forthcoming. “Pyrrhic Victories: How the Secularization Doctrine Undermines the Sanctity of Religion.” Journal of Church and State.

Blake, William and Hans J. Hacker. 2010. “The Brooding Spirit of the Law: Supreme Court Justices Reading Dissents from the Bench.” Justice System Journal 31(1): 1-25.

Buehler, Matthew. Forthcoming. “The Threat to ‘Un-Moderate’: Moroccan Islamists and the Arab Spring.” Journal of Middle East Law and Governance.

Buehler, Matthew. Forthcoming. “Safety-Valve Elections and the Arab Spring: the Weakening (and Resurgence) of Morocco’s Islamist Opposition Party.” Terrorism and Political Violence.

Fortier, Jeremy. 2010. “Can Liberalism Lose the Enlightenment?” The Journal of Politics 72(4): 1003-1013.

Goodnow, Regina and Robert G. Moser. Forthcoming. “Layers of Ethnicity: The Effects of Ethnic Federalism, Majority-Minority Districts, and Minority Concentration on the Electoral Success of Ethnic Minorities in Russia.”Comparative Political Studies.

Harris, Peter. Forthcoming. “Decolonising the Special Relationship: Diego Garcia, the Chagossians and Anglo-American Relations.” Review of International Studies.

Hart, Austin. 2010. “Death of the Partisan? Globalization and Taxation in South America, 1990-2006.” Comparative Political Studies 43(3): 304-328.

Koivumaeki, Riitta-Ilona. 2010. “Business, Economic Experts, and Conservative Party Building in Latin America: The Case of El Salvador.” Journal of Politics in Latin America 2(1): 79-106.

McCormick, William. Forthcoming. “Jacques Maritain on Political Theology.”European Journal of Political Theory.

Mohanty, Pete. 2012. “Thick and Thin Public Sentiments and the Politics of Immigration in Europe.” Comparative Sociology.

Myers, Adam S. Forthcoming. “Secular Geographical Polarization in the American South: The Case of Texas, 1996-2010.” Electoral Studies.

Myers, Adam S. and Curt Nichols. 2010. “Exploiting the Opportunity for Reconstructive Leadership: Presidential Responses to Enervated Political Regimes.” American Politics Research 38(5): 806-841.

Pittz, Steven. 2011. “Providential Partners? Tocqueville’s Take on Equality and Centralization.” The Journal of Politics 73(3): 797-807.

Sorace, Christian and William Hurst. 2011. “Recession and the Politics of Class and Production in the World’s Factory.” New Political Science 33(4): 509-524.

Sorace, Christian. 2010. “Saint Mao.” Telos 151: 173-191.

Thomas, H.F. III and Halpin, Darren R. Forthcoming. “Evaluating the Breadth of Policy Engagement by Organized Interests. Public Administration.

Thomas, H.F. III and Halpin, Darren R. Forthcoming. “Interest Group Survival: Sources of Mortality Anxiety.” Interest Groups & Advocacy.

Thomas, H.F. III, Maitland, Carleen, and Louis-Marie Ngamassi Tchouakeu. Forthcoming. “Internet Censorship Circumvention Technology Use in Human Rights Organizations: An Exploratory Analysis.” Journal of Information Technology.

Wolfe, Michelle and Christoffer Green-Pedersen. 2009. “The Institutionalization of Environmental Attention in the United States and Denmark: Multiple- verus Single-Venue Systems.” Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions 22(4): 625-646.

Yuval Weber Monographs

Yuval Weber (with Dmitri Trenin) will have a monograph published by Carnegie Press this October/November on Russian foreign policy regarding the Kuril Islands in the wake changing regional security and economic trends.

Carnegie is also funding Weber’s travel to Mongolia to conduct research for a monograph on Mongolian foreign policy in light of its massive natural resource export boom, and to be published early next year.

Articles by Pete Mohanty

Two New Publications from Pete Mohanty:

“Thick and Thin Public Sentiments and the Politics of Immigration in Europe” will appear in the December 2012 issue of Comparative Sociology.

Abstract: “Thick moralities” are those that reflect the values or way of life of a community, while “thin” moralities are those that reflect more basic claims to decency that can be recognized across even the most diverse moral communities. I use the 2008 European Values Study to examine attitudes towards immigration and the politics of left and right in the European Union and in the Schengen Area. I show that thick preferences increase opposition to immigration in Europe, and that thin preferences increase openness to immigration. I also demonstrate that thick values lead to support for the right and that thin values lead to support for the left in the majority of the countries studied.

“Gendered Jobs: Integrating Immigrants vs. Controlling Immigration in the European Union” (with Terri Givens, Melanie Hughes, and Suzanna Crage) has been accepted for publication in Politics & Gender.

Abstract: Despite ideological commitment to gender equality in European Union (EU) Member States, women in political leadership in the EU continue to be segregated into “women-friendly” political domains. We investigate the persistent gendering of cabinet positions, focusing on immigration policy. In recent years, governments throughout the EU have dramatically altered immigration policies, and have restructured government accordingly. Amidst change, we suggest that immigration ministry leadership will still maintain a traditionally gendered division of political labor. Immigrant integration, similar to other forms of care work, may be more likely led by women, whereas the increasingly securitized portfolio of immigration control is likely to be led by men. We confirm these expectations for 2010 using descriptive statistics and logistic regression. This gendered pattern of political leadership sends powerful messages that women may not be fit to lead in all domains, suggesting implementation of EU commitments to gender equality lags behind the rhetoric.

Several Publications from Trey Thomas

Trey Thomas has several coauthored publications forthcoming (find two abstracts below the listings):

Halpin, Darren R. and H.F. Thomas III. Forthcoming. “Evaluating the Breadth of Policy Engagement by Organized Interests. Public Administration.

Halpin, Darren R. and H.F. Thomas III. Forthcoming. “Interest Group Survival: Sources of Mortality Anxiety.” Interest Groups & Advocacy.

Maitland, Carleen, H.F. Thomas III, and Louis-Marie Ngamassi Tchouakeu. Forthcoming. “Internet Censorship Circumvention Technology Use in Human Rights Organizations: An Exploratory Analysis.” Journal of Information Technology.

Jones, Bryan D. and H.F. Thomas III. Forthcoming. “Bounded Rationality and Public Policy Decision-making.” Arral et al., Eds. Routledge Handbook of Public Policy. New York: Routledge.

Evaluating the Breadth of Policy Engagement by Organized Interests:

This article probes the variation in the breadth of policy engagement among organized interests. The literature, heavily shaped by large-n US studies of Washington and its lobbying system, suggests many reasons for organized interests to focus policy engagement relatively narrowly. This claim of policy specialization has been long repeated in the British public policy literature. The aim of this article is to empirically test the extent to which expectations of narrowed engagement hold in a UK context. This article uses a new Scottish dataset that tracks actual engagement by any organized interest on executive policy consultations over a 25-year period. It tracks over 90,000 ‘mobilization events’ by over 18,000 organizations in 1,690 distinct consultation issues across the entire Scottish policy system. In analyzing these data, we concern ourselves with establishing: (1) the extent of generalized engagement; (2) the type of organized interests that are more or less general in their engagement; and (3) the extent to which a specialized style of policy engagement is on the increase over time. In the process, we develop measures that are appropriate for assessing breadth of engagement using issue-based policy data.

Interest Group Survival: Sources of Mortality Anxiety:

In order to engage in public policy, interest groups need to survive and thrive as organizations. What factors shape perceptions of group entrepreneurs as to the future prospects for their groups’ survival? The careful and ambitious work of Gray and Lowery (and others working in the population ecology paradigm) has drawn attention to that fact that not all groups that are born survive. This observation raises the question: what leads groups to ‘feel’ anxiety about their organizational mortality? In their 1997 article, utilizing survey data on the organizational characteristics and situational dynamics of a sample of groups lobbying in several US states, Gray and Lowery asked just that question: what are the levels of ‘mortality anxiety’ among groups still alive? In this article we revisit this question using similar data, but with some additional variables, and for a non US case (namely post-devolution Scottish public policy). In sorting out what factors are associated with anxiety, our analysis seeks to weigh up the existing ecological emphasis on broad shifts in population level forces (i.e competition) with group level variables reflecting adaptive changes (i.e. identity, uniqueness, changes).


Myers’ Article Accepted by Electoral Studies

Adam Myers’ article, “Secular Geographical Polarization in the American South: The Case of Texas, 1996-2010,” has been accepted for publication in the journal Electoral Studies.

Abstract: This article uses fine-grained data to demonstrate that, since 1996, the State of Texas has undergone a process of ‘secular geographical polarization’ – a continuous divergence in the geographical bases of its political parties. It is suggested that this process exemplifies a new era of partisan politics in the American South. Analyses of spatial regression models show that the geographical polarization can be partially explained by a tighter link between demographic characteristics and aggregate voting patterns, but that growth in spatial clustering cannot be attributed entirely to demographics. The possibility that spatially-bounded social contexts are affecting partisan change is thus explored. Finally, the article’s findings are considered in light of the growing debate about geographical polarization in the American electorate.

Two Articles from Buehler

Matt Buehler published “Tunisia’s Elections: Islamist-Leftist Alliance to Solidify the Revolution” in the December 2011 IPRIS Maghreb Bulletin, and Buehler’s article on the Arab Spring and Moroccan politics will be published late this year in the Journal of Terrorism and Political Violence.

Baek Article in AJPS

Mijeong Baek’s “A Comparative Analysis of Political Communication Systems and Voter Turnout” appeared in April’s American Journal of Political Science. Analyzing average voter turnout rates in legislative elections in 74 countries between 1995 and 2004, Baek demonstrates the impact of different configurations of media systems and campaign regulations on political participation. Specific findings include, that legally established ceilings on campaign contributions and expenditures depress turnout, and public financing measures, especially giving free television time to political parties and candidates, increase turnout.