economics and the comparative histories of U.S., Italian,
and nineteenth-century German unification.
Third, we are likely to see much more important
work on state structures, from both historical and
deductive perspectives. Here the goal will be to explain
not the consequences but the causes of state organization
and evolution: why power is concentrated or delegated
differently; what common forces lead to the broad
convergence of regimes that we see among the
industrialized states; why, historically, regime-types often
ebb or flow in tandem across states (e.g., absolutism in
the seventeenth century, democratization in the nineteenth
While I am eager to be proved wrong, I suspect
that corporatism's vein of good work is almost played out
and that studies of nationalism will continue to
disappoint. In the former case, some powerful theory
seems to have reached a dead end and to have little new
to say; in the latter, it is hard to discern the basic,
powerful strands of theory on which alone a better
explanatory edifice might arise.
These speculations about the future, however,
should be treated with the skepticism that any practitioner
of comparative politics deserves. We are, after all, a
field whose most signal accomplishment in the past
decade has been its utter failure to predict the two most
important domestic changes of the last half of the twentieth century, namely, the abandonment of
communism as an ideology and the collapse of the
centrally planned economies as institutions. In the
coming decade, we can only do better.
This chapter has benefitted greatly from critical readings and
bibliographic suggestions by Ads Finifter, my colleague Michael
Lofchie, and two anonymous readers. For bibliographic and research
assistance, I am most grateful to David D'Lugo. As the customary
formula has it, the viewpoints and the errors remain wholly my
Every individual perspective on a field is necessarily
idiosyncratic, even parochial, to some degree. To state the main
predelictions that inform this essay: I focus above all on works that
seem to me to have advanced the field theoretically, thus relegating or
omitting many contributions that are chiefly descriptive, or whose
theoretical ambitions remain unfulfilled; and I am by training and
orientation a student of the First World, who runs some risk of
overlooking valuable work on regions outside Europe, North America,
and Oceania. I have nevertheless endeavored (doubtless without total
success) to include research on Africa, Asia, and Latin America that has
had a major impact on theoretical discourse.
The naming of authors is intended, in each case, to be
illustrative rather than exhaustive.
As some of the citations make clear, this trend entailed
further substantial erosion of the traditional boundary between the
subdisciplines of international relations ("IR") and comparative politics.
That trend had already been noted by Joel Migdal ( 1983) (following Peter Gourevitch) in the previous edition of this book.
4. Only a small part of these disparities can be accounted for
by "convergence effects," i.e., the tendency of initially poorer countries
to grow more rapidly (see, for a useful summary, Barro and
, 1992). Every effort to regress post-1960 economic growth
among the OECD states on their 1960 per-capita GDP leaves a large
positive residual for Japan and large negative ones for the U.S. and the United Kingdom. 5. Abram Bergson ( 1991, 33) suggests that Soviet GDP per
capita in 1980 was 44% that of the U.S.; in 1985, 42%. Letting 1980
U.S. output = 100 and extrapolating from the 1973-80 U.S. annual
growth rate (1.3%), 1985 U.S. output would be (1.013)5 × 100 =
106.7; 42% of that would amount to 44.8. Dividing that by 44 (the 1980 Soviet base output) yields 1.018; and that to the 1/5 power gives
us an annualized growth rate for Soviet per capita GDP of about 0.4%. 6. For sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, per capita GDP grew
by 1.3% annually in the 1960s; by 0.7% annually in the 1970s; and
then fell in each of the ensuing three years (beginning 1981) by more
than 3%. For twelve of thirty-six countries on which data were
available, real per capita GDP was lower in 1981 than it had been in 1970 ( World Bank 1984, 10 and 23). 7. In every major Latin American country, real per capita
GDP was lower in 1985 than it had been in 1980; in Argentina, Peru,
and Venezuela, it was lower in 1985 than it had been in 1973. ( Balassa
et al. 1986, Table 1.2). 8. Taiwan's per capita GDP, for example, grew at an annual
rate of 8.1% between 1963 and 1972 and 6.6% between 1973 and 1980,
as against OECD (population-weighted) averages of 3.9% and 1.7%,
respectively, for those same periods ( Amsden 1985, 80, Table 3.1; OECD 1982, Table 3.2). 9. In "at least nine countries..., lower inflation, lower
unemployment, and higher rates of growth of disposable income [have
been shown to] increase popular support for incumbent elected
politicians" ( Air and
Chrystal 1983, 150). 10. The first point was no news to Africanists, it having
been argued forcefully for some time by Michael Lipton ( 1976). Bates
however made the case conclusively and tied it to larger theoretical
concerns; and he reached a much larger audience. 12. Interestingly, many Soviet scholars were arriving at
precisely the same conclusion in this period: see Hough ( 1986). 13. In economic parlance, we should be clear, a "rent" is
any above-market return to a factor of production. Familiar examples
of governmentally awarded rents are agricultural subsidies, minimum
wages, and restrictions on entry (e.g., in taxis and cable television). Bhagwati ( 1982) and others prefer the term "directly unproductive
profit-seeking." 14. Thus the more discretionary American government that Theodore Lowi ( 1979) contended had arisen since the New Deal would
have particularly damaged U.S. economic growth. 16. In the two "horrible years" of 1974 and 1975, U.S. real
GDP per capita declined on average by 1.7% annually; British, by
0.9%; Japanese, German, and Italian, by 0.6%. French GDP per capita
rose on average by 1.2% annually. Calculated from OECD ( 1982,
Table 3.2). 17. Property rights in land, for example, came to be worth
enforcing only after population achieved a certain threshold density
( North 1981, 80-82).
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Political Science:The State of the Discipline II.
Contributors: Ada W. Finifter - Author.
Publisher: American Political Science Association.
Place of publication: Washington, DC.
Publication year: 1993.
Page number: 444.
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