INTL 204. Introduction to Comparative Politics. Assoc. Prof. Murat Somer, CASE 153 E-mail: [email protected] Fall 2012 Office Hours: Tuesdays, 2:00-4:00pm . Learning Objectives.
Institutions are the rules of the game in a society or, more formally, humanly devised constraints that shape [regulate] human interaction.
Rules of the game are institutions
Rules that determine their relationship are institutions
Electoral rules are institutions
The laws they apply, the rules that determine their salaries, promotion, accountability, and powers are institutions
The constitution defines a country’s regime
Regime: the nature of the way a society governs itself
The nature of the relationship between the rulers and the ruled
Functional and territorial distribution of power
Territorial distribution of power
Unitary versus Federal Arrangements
Unitary: Regional governments have no powers reserved to them.
Federal: Regional governments have constitutional status and autonomy, share powers with the central government, have certain reserved powers of their own and are represented in the federal (central) government.
Look at the list of criteria associated with free and fair elections. How do Turkish elections measure up based on these criteria?
Individuals or collective political bodies whose failure to accept a policy change results in the rejection of the proposed change
Parliamentary systems generally have fewer veto points than do presidential systems (see Chapter 6), and unicameral (single-chamber) legislatures have fewer veto points than bicameral ones
Thatcher took advantage by making significant social welfare policy changes
“Old Institutionalism” in political science had focused on describing institutions
The behavioralism movement that began in the 1950s focused on explaining political outcomes
David Easton proposed that all political systems translate inputs (demands and supports) into outputs (policy)
The system responds to changes in supports and demands
Easton’s model pays little attention to the design of the institutions themselves
In Theory and PracticePolitical Change in Mexico and Easton’s Systems Theory
Mexico and Easton’s Approach
In the latter part of the twentieth century, changes in demands and supports put pressure on the government of Mexico
Resulted in policy changes, including the political liberalization of the 1970s-1990s
Even without looking “inside” the Mexican system, Easton’s framework helps explain the changes that led to the PRI losing its dominance over Mexican politics
Theda Skocpol’s 1979 book set the stage for a new focus on political institutions
Skocpol saw state institutions as an important independent variable, not a “black box” like in Easton’s approach
Led to calls to “bring the state back in”
China is a Main Case in Skocpol’s Book
Collapse of Imperial System due to the state relying on local leaders for military support
Her argument has relevance today, as China relies more and more on regional and local officials
Focuses on theories that use political institutions to explain political outcomes
Three main variants:
Rational Choice N.I.
Rational Choice New Institutionalism
Sees political institutions as the product of rational choices by political actors
Existing rules constrain decision makers, but they may also try to change these arrangements
In Theory and PracticeIran and Rational Choice NewInstitutionalism
Rational Choice N.I. and Iran
Many in the West portray Iranian leaders as irrational fanatics
But, Rational Choice N.I. would see them as much more rational, designing the rules of their theocracy to maximize the goals of maintaining power and controlling society
Reformers versus Hardliners
Rational Choice N.I. explains how reformers wanting to change existing rules are constrained
It also explains the hardliners’ use of the existing rules to block pro-reform candidates