SUSS POL 101 STUDY UNIT 5 INTRODUCING COMPARATIVE POLITICS (Comparing:…
SUSS POL 101
STUDY UNIT 5 INTRODUCING
Comparing: Why, How, and What
Why engage in comparative politics
Evidence for 'why' questions
Comparativists compare political phenomena in different countries to provide evidence for answering the “why” questions of politics
I.e. Does it occur everywhere.
Lack of experimental control
Political science cannot use real “control” and “experiment” groups like other social sciences (i.e. psychology) because political scientists cannot control the political world
To make correlations
comparativists compare countries or phenomena within countries to make correlations between particular variables
Source for regularities
Search for regularities
When you employ the comparative method, you are looking for regularities, irregularities or anomalies
This is in line with the scientific method.
Examples of questions in comparative politics
Why do some countries have socialist parties and others do not? (absence of strong trade unions?)
Why do some countries have open immigration policies and others do not?
(civic vs. ethnic conception of the nation?)
Why has federalism succeeded in some countries and not in others?
(transfer payments? Geographical dispersion of ethnic groups?)
How to Compare
Comparativists observe the extent to which countries differ or are similar, Then they ask why (i.e. under what circumstances do they differ)
This leads to a search for a
theory that explains the variation
Used to assist in
pinpointing the cause
, or at least potential cause (independent variable), of the phenomenon
or political outcome
(dependent variable) under study.
X (independent variable) = cause
Y (dependent variable) = outcome
find out the relationship
Most Similar Systems Design (MSSD)
cases of a high level of similarity are chosen
, except for a glaring difference in terms of the dependent variable (political outcome).
By choosing cases that have many common variables/features, the researcher can find out exactly which variable is the one that caused the glaring difference in the outcome.
such as political composition (dominant ideologies, political institutions, public policies, political economies) are
similar BUT outcomes are different.
IV Similarity - One-party dominant system
DV is different - High economic growth low economic growth.
Malaysia and Singapore
Similarity: Demographic Makeup, Hybrid regime, History.
The difference: Affirmative Action vs meritocracy, Natural resources. Resource allocation.
Why is Singapore more advanced economically
(Integrity of Political institution - No Corruption in Singapore/ Electoral system is transparent and robust/ Cronyism)
Political culture in Singapore and Malaysia is different. (In Singapore, people are more law-abiding)
Political value is different (Singapore more to meritocracy)
North Korea and South Korea
Similarity: Homogeneous society, Location,
Difference: Economy, Democratic vs Communism
UK, US, Canada
Similarity: Democratic, quick to industrialised
Difference: Gun control law (the US allows for gun-control due to its independence based on revolution. )
Most Different Systems Designs (MDSD).
In MDSD, cases with a
high level of difference are chosen
. This is except for the dependent variable that is the same across all of the cases. It is thus assumed that any similarity found within the independent variables (other social and political factors) can explain the similarity in the dependent variable
IV Different - Political Composition ( Authoritarian or Democratic)
DV is the same - Economic Growth
Swiss vs India
Difference - Political economy (rich vs poor)/ Developing vs developed.
Similarity - Democratic (due to cross-cutting cleavages. Requires adequate representative)
What is compared in comparative
Global North and Global South (Common exam qn)
Global North and Global South reflect the level of development that the countries have attained (previously referred to as developed or First World vs developing or Third World).
Global North - example US, Canada, Japan, the four Asian tigers
Global south - for example, Latin America, Africa
If it comes out in the exam
Explain what comes under Global North and Global South
Explain what issues are experienced/ challenges faced by global north and global south
Use the Modernisation vs dependancy(or world systems theor)
start with modernisation theory,
critique/ evaluation of modernisation theory
Go on to dependancy theory
What is development: Two components:
Socio-Political Development and Economical Development
Can measure developments through GDP/ PPP.
Indicators/ variables of development also include:
Gender equality (equal access to opportunities)
Freedom in both public realm.
Access to human security (food and shelter)
Strength of political institution (i.e. low corruption rates) which leads to stability
GINI Coefficient and inequality gap
GDP growth as an indicator = Developed?
GDP growth, is not evenly distributed.
Social and Economic Development
One major debate within the comparative politics literature has revolved around the question of why some countries have achieved a higher level of development than others.
There are two theories.
The process of development occurs alongside marked shifts in a county’s social and economic structures.
Societies shift away from traditional social, economic, and political values before/as they take off economically - pass the economic threshold to experience post-materialism.
Examples of necessary changes include embracing science, the belief in achievement
Critique of Modernisation Theory
based on the trajectory of development experienced by the Western countries, thus indirectly promoting Westernisation (or promotes belief that Western route is the most optimal.
Not reflected in asian development. (i.e. taiwan, singapore)
Rooted in Marxist political economy: those countries/areas which are the least developed are the ones that have been most heavily connected to (exploited by) imperialist powers)
"Core” countries such as the United States and those of the Blobal North were able to develop using the resources from the “peripheral” countries of the Global South who themselves remained poor.
This has left impoverished countries of the Global South continually dependent on the Global North
Political development is typically measured by the extent to which a political system exhibits relatively high levels on the following four dimensions
The argument is that political development is a prerequisite for socio-economic development
Specialized political structures
Concentration of power in the state
extensive capabilities of the state.
A significant decline in the capabilities of the political system and its levels of political institutionalisation, especially in its capacity to maintain order.
Evidence of political decay includes high levels of civil disorder (strikes, violent crime, riots, rebellion).
If this happens, there can be
• A crackdown on disorder.
• The appearance of a charismatic, authoritarian leader.
• A military coup.
• A popular uprising/revolution.
Challenges to the global north
Trust in the Political System (lack of faith in the political system has resulted in the
rise of populism
and extra-parliamentary forms of politics, i.e. protest politics due to representative issues)
Debate (“cosmopolitans” and “multiculturalists” vs. “nationalists” and “rights” vs. “gifts”).
Material Well-Being and Distribution (the growth of
has led to demands for greater economic justice. GINI Coefficient. Income justice/ mobility).
Value Conflicts (there has been a growth in
between those with liberal/progressive and conservative/traditional values).
Challenges to the global south