Principles of Comparative Politics

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Chapter 1

An introduction to comparative politics should be a window onto the real world of comparative inquiry, research, and scholarship. At last, a groundbreaking text gives students meaningful insight into how cross-national comparison is actually conducted, and why it matters: the enduring questions that scholars grapple with, the issues about which consensus has started to emerge, and the tools comparativists use to get at the complex and interesting problems at the heart of the field.

Beginning with a clear and straightforward discussion of the comparative and scientific methods, each chapter outlines the debates about the political phenomena that drive current research, such as state failure, the economic and cultural determinants of democracy, or the effects of regime type and electoral system.

The authors show students how comparativists construct and test theories, applying the principles of the scientific method and simple game theory to a wide variety of examples and cases. Students won’t get lost in detail they’ll never use or remember and instead learn exactly why the variations across institutional structures and functions are important.

The book’s outstanding pedagogy includes:

  • Chapter opener overviews to summarize key points from the text;
  • Bolded key terms and a marginal glossary to help students identify and manage concepts;
  • Rich and comprehensive data, helpfully schematized in more than 250 tables and figures;
  • An excellent photo and map program to highlight the book’s thematic and substantive goals;
  • End of chapter lists of key concepts, with page references;
  • End of chapter problem sets of 5-10 problems each to help students work through the comparative puzzles and game theory examples;
  • A comprehensive bibliography;
  • Appendix materials to support chapter problems as well as encourage further research.

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I read this while working on my Intl Affairs degree at FSU and it is a book I will always keep. Well written, easy to grasp the concepts presented.


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About the author (2009)

William Roberts Clark is associate professor of political science at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Capitalism, Not Globalism, and his articles have appeared in American Political Science Review, Comparative Political Studies, Political Analysis, and European Union Politics, among other journals. He has been teaching at a wide variety of public and private schools (William Paterson College, Rutgers University, Georgia Tech, Princeton, New York University, and the University of Michigan) for over a decade.

Matt Golder was previously assistant professor of political science at Florida State University. He is the author of articles which have appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, British Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, Electoral Studies, and Political Analysis among other journals. He has taught classes on comparative politics, advanced industrialized democracies, quantitative methods, and European politics at the University of Iowa, Florida State University, and the University of Essex.

Sona Nadenichek Golder was previously assistant professor of political science at Florida State University. She is the author of The Logic of Pre-Electoral Coalition Formation, and has published articles in the British Journal of Political Science, Electoral Studies, and European Union Politics. She teaches courses on European politics, democracies and dictatorships, comparative institutions, game theory, and comparative politics at Florida State University and was a Mentor-in-Residence for the 2007 Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models Summer Program at UCLA .

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