Political Science: The State of the Discipline II

By Ada W. Finifter | Go to book overview
A Pareto-optimal outcome is one that cannot be improved on in the sense that there is no alternative that makes someone better off without making someone else worse off.
Many political scientists would welcome the introduction of the concept of ideology into economic theory but as yet it is rare to see it used in either an explanatory or descriptive way. Agents are typically characterized by preferences and by beliefs about the causal structure of the environment (i.e., information) but not "belief systems" that disguise and yet advance the interests of particular groups. In addition, there seems to be no good a priori reason why the term ideology should apply only to non-market configurations.
The exact difference between realism and neorealism is unclear and bound to be controversial. On one interpretation, neorealism is "merely" a more rigorous version of realism, one grounded on microeconomic foundations. On another not entirely different interpretation, neorealism provides a theoretically unified systemic account of interstate politics. Some claim that neorealism attempts to correct for realism's inability to deal with economic issues ( Hollis and Smith 1990, 36-37).
This last point concerning the goals of states requires some comment. While much effort has been spent trying to justify the content of utility functions on a priori grounds -- witness the debate over absolute vs. relative gains -- there seems little to be gained and much to lose by unduly restricting the range of state motives a priori. Why not allow the goals of states to change depending on situational properties? In neoclassical economic theory private agents pursue absolute gains or market shares, cooperative or uncooperative strategies, narrowly egoistic, predatory, or altruistic actions -- all depending on the structure of the environment. Not only would this enhance flexibility of analysis, it would also open the way toward incorporating institutions into realist theory and facilitate a reconciliation with those whose work has been relegated to "mitigation of anarchy" -- the work of those in international law, morality, norms, learning, etc.
There are some scholars who are trying to endogenize capabilities in ways that are consonant with realist theory. See Kugler and Domke ( 1986), Organski and Kugler ( 1980), and Snider ( 1988).
I stress that this is an approximation rather than an exact relation. The gains from trade do not convert directly to the losses of trade disruption because this simple equation ignores substitution possibilities.
Let me try to clarify this point. It might appear that bipolarity and multipolarity are relational concepts since they refer to the way something (power) is distributed across countries. But notice that power itself is a property attached to countries -- not to pairs or larger sets. Attribute power is therefore different from network power, where capabilities are expressed in terms of positions (and roles) in exchange structures. I refer to bipolarity and multipolarity as distributional parameters since they summarize how national attributes are distributed, in much the same way that one could summarize the height of individuals in a group.
Not everyone would agree with this assertion. In "Liberalism and International Relations Theory," ( 1992) Moravcsik argues that liberalism is structural theory (at least partly), but it is the pattern of preferences rather than the distribution of capabilities that counts.
See Keohane "International Liberalism Reconsidered" ( 1990a) for one classification; also see Zacher and Matthew "Liberal International Theory: Common Threads, Divergent Strands" ( 1992) for a comprehensive view of liberalism which distinguishes different approaches.
Technically speaking, this is a definition of the price, or commodity terms of trade. Terms of trade may also be defined with reference to quantities of goods exchanged (gross barter terms of trade) and in terms of quantities of labor and capital contained in the goods exchanged (factoral terms of trade) (see Barratt-Brown 1974, 231).
In other words, it makes little sense to ask, in any particular exchange, which party acquired more value. Terms of trade theories logically imply a time dimension, i.e., they have to do with changes in ratios of exchanges over time.
At least they were facts during a rather long historical era. Beginning with the 1960s, a rising share of LDC production was accounted for by manufactures. While a large proportion of LDC manufactures was accounted for by a few countries (newly industrializing countries), there is some evidence that manufacturing production is spreading to a sizable number of third-world countries (see Caporaso 1981; Haggard 1990).
The question arises as to whether these authors should be classified as Marxian. None focuses exclusively or mainly on the process of competitive capital accumulation or production and distribution of the economic surplus. Much of Robert Cox's work attempts to understand labor as an economic category and social relation. All of these authors attempt to understand ideas, institutions, politics, and economic process as a coherent ensemble, i.e., as organically connected. While the lines of causality are not one-way, the authors attach substantial weight to economic forces.
I recognize that certain global political economy approaches are focused (some exclusively) on development issues. Dependency theory and world systems theory come to mind. The limitation applies in particular to neoclassical, liberal, and realist approaches. Important exceptions within the realist tradition include Krasner ( 1985) and Lake ( 1987).


Almond, Gabriel A. 1990. A Discipline Divided: Schools and Sects in Political Science. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

Ash, Timothy G. 1990. "Mitteleuropa?" Daedalus 119( 1):1-21.

Augelli, Enrico, and Craig Murphy. 1988. America's Quest for Supremacy and the Third World: A Gramscian Analysis. London: Pinter Publishers.

Bairoch, Paul. 1979. "Ecarts Internationaux des Niveaus de Vie Avant la Revolution Industrielle." Annales: Economies, Societes, Civilisations 34( 1):145-171.

Baldwin, David A. 1979. "Power Analysis in World Politics: New Trends and Old Tendencies." World Politics 31:161-194.

Baldwin, David A. 1985. Economic Statecraft. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Baldwin, Richard. 1988. "Evaluating Strategic Trade Policies." Aussenwirtschaft 43:207-230.

Baran, P. 1973. The Political Economy of Growth. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Barratt-Brown, Michael. 1974. The Economics of Imperialism. Middlesex, England: Penguin Books.

Bell, Trevor. n.d. "Theories of Terms of Trade of Less Developed Countries." Denver. Unpublished Manuscript.

Bergquist, Charles, ed. 1984. Labor in the Capitalist World Economy. Vol. 7 of Political Economy of the World System Annuals. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.

Bhagwati, Jagdish. 1983. "DUP Activities and Rent Seeking." Kyklos 36:634-637.

Bhagwati, Jagdish. 1989. "Is Free Trade Passé After All?" Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv, 125( 1):17-44.

Bowles, Samuel, and Herbert Gintis. 1986. Democracy and Capitalism. New York: Basic Books.

Brander, James A., and Barbara J. Spencer. 1981. "Tariffs and the Extraction of Foreign Monopoly Rents Under Potential Entry." Canadian Journal of Economics 14( 3):371-389.


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Political Science: The State of the Discipline II
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Table of Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Theory and Method 1
  • 1: Texts and Canons: The Status of the "Great Books" in Political Theory 3
  • Conclusion 21
  • Notes 22
  • Bibliography 23
  • 2: Political Theory in the 1980s: Perplexity Amidst Diversity 27
  • Notes 43
  • Bibliography 43
  • Additional Bibliography 46
  • 3: Feminist Challenges to Political Science 55
  • Notes 72
  • Bibliography 73
  • 4: Formal Rational Choice Theory: A Cumulative Science of Politics 77
  • Concluding Comments 97
  • Notes 98
  • Bibliography 101
  • 5: The Comparative Method 105
  • Conclusion 116
  • Notes 117
  • Bibliography 117
  • 6: The State of Quantitative Political Methodology 121
  • Conclusion 148
  • Notes 148
  • Bibliography 150
  • Political Processes and Individual Political Behavior 161
  • 7: Comparative Political Parties: Research and Theory 163
  • Conclusion 183
  • Notes 184
  • Bibliography 185
  • 8: The Not So Simple Act of Voting 193
  • Notes 213
  • Bibliography 214
  • 9: The New Look in Public Opinion Research 219
  • Notes 240
  • Bibliography 240
  • 10: Expanding Disciplinary Boundaries 247
  • Conclusion 269
  • Notes 271
  • Bibliography 271
  • 11: Citizens, Contexts, and Politics 281
  • Conclusion: Putting the Puzzle Back Together 299
  • Bibliography 300
  • 12: Political Communication 305
  • Conclusions 323
  • Bibliography 324
  • Political Institutions of the State 333
  • 13: Legislatures: Individual Purpose and Institutional Performance 335
  • Conclusions: Behavior, Institutions, and Theory 354
  • Notes 357
  • Bibliography 357
  • 14: Public Law and Judicial Politics 365
  • 15: Political Executives and Their Officials 383
  • Conclusion 402
  • Bibliography 403
  • 16: Public Administration: The State of the Field 407
  • Notes 423
  • Bibliography 424
  • Nations and Their Relationships 429
  • 17: Comparative Politics 431
  • Conclusion 443
  • Notes 444
  • Bibliography 446
  • 18: Global Political Economy 451
  • Conclusion 474
  • Notes 476
  • Bibliography 477
  • Conclusions 483
  • Conclusions 503
  • Notes 504
  • Bibliography 505
  • Appendix 511
  • Contributors 513
  • Index of Cited Authors 517


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