Melvin J. Dubnick
This chapter examines the emergence of accountability as a culturally significant concept that both reflects and shapes changes taking place in our understanding of contemporary governance. Dubnick explores how its emergence as a “cultural keyword” has transformed both the form and function of accountability, and the challenges this development poses for the study of accountable governance.
Ann N. Crigler and Parker R. Hevron
Whether political observers and participants applaud or decry the presence of emotions in political decision-making, scholars have begun to view the relationship between affect and reason as a key component of decision-making. This chapter provides an overview of the research on affect and political choice. The authors argue that emotions undergird acts of political choice, not simply as additional variables to explain preferences or actions but also as integral to the processing of information and decision-making. They briefly define affect, emotion and mood and outline some of the methodologies commonly used to measure each of the four emotion functions that are central to political communication and choice. These four functions of emotion – expressive, perceptual/attentional, appraisal, and behavioral – are discussed in relation to political decision-making.
Maxwell McCombs and Sebastián Valenzuela
This chapter discusses contemporary directions of agenda-setting research. It reviews the basic concept of agenda setting, the transfer of salience from the media agenda to the public agenda as a key step in the formation of public opinion, the concept of need for orientation as a determinant of issue salience, the ways people learn the media agenda, attribute agenda setting, and the consequences of agenda setting that result from priming and attribute priming. Across the theoretical areas found in the agenda-setting tradition, future studies can contribute to the role of news in media effects by showing how agenda setting evolves in the new and expanding media landscape as well as continuing to refine agenda setting’s core concepts.
Scott de Marchi and Scott E. Page
This article provides a discussion on agent-based modeling. Two examples that show the ability of computational methods to extend game-theoretic results are presented. It then discusses modeling agents, modeling agent interactions, and system behaviour. In addition, it describes how agent-based models differ from and complement mathematical models and concludes with some suggestions for how one might best leverage the strengths of agent-based models to advance political science. Most mathematical analyses of game-theoretic models do not look into the stability and attainability of their equilibria and would be made richer by complementing them with agent-based models that explored those properties. The ability of computational models to test the robustness of formal results would be reason alone to add them to tool kits. As a methodology, agent-based modeling should be considered as in its infancy, its enormous potential limited only by the scientific and creative talents of its practitioners.
Public opinion’s role in shaping governmental actions is a central concern of democracy, yet the absence of systematic state-level survey data has inhibited analyses of public opinion at the subnational level. This essay traces the evolution of studies of public opinion at that level, first reviewing studies using surrogates derived from demographic variables. It next considers methodologies that develop state-level opinion from aggregated national samples. Finally, it discusses recent efforts to develop state-level opinion measures using post-sample stratification integrating limited survey data with demographic variables. There is evidence of significant cross-sectional and temporal variation in public opinion and policy across and within the states. Research on subnational public opinion once hinged on assumptions about opinion surrogates, but is now based on abundant and progressively rigorous opinion data. These studies reveal that public opinion plays an enormous role in subnational politics, with effects varying across issues, contexts, and conditions.
Shmuel Nitzan and Jacob Paroush
A group of individuals faces the choice of an alternative out of a set of alternatives. Each member of the group holds an opinion regarding the most suitable (best) alternative for which he or she votes. In this setting, the individual votes are based on their decisional competencies, which hinge on the information to which they are exposed and on their ability to make use of that information. The main question is how to translate the group members’ voting profile to a single collective choice. This chapter studies different aspects of this question in the context of binary voting where the group faces only two alternatives. The selection of an appropriate aggregation rule is a central issue in the fields of social choice, public choice, voting theory, and collective decision making. Since the votes are based on the individual competencies, the applied aggregation rule should take into account not only the voting profile but also the competency profile. In fact, it should also take into consideration any other relevant environmental information such as the asymmetry between the feasible alternatives, the dependence between individual votes, decision-making costs, and the available past record of the voters’ decisions. The chapter focuses on the clarification of the relationship between the performance of binary aggregation rules and the relevant variables and parameters. This has direct normative implications regarding the desirable mode of collective decision making and, in particular, regarding the desirable aggregation rule and the size and the composition of the decision-making body.
From an anthropological perspective, political leadership is a system of social relationships involving authority, charisma and other forms of personal or institutional power, whose rules are specific to, and embedded within, particular cultural contexts. More specifically, it is the art of controlling followers through the strategic mobilization of morality, rituals, and symbols. This article critically reviews anthropology’s contribution to the study of political leadership from the 1960s to the present. The article is in four parts. The first considers what political leadership is and why it matters. The second assesses pioneering works on leadership from 1960–1980 and the implications of the shift from small-scale, third-world communities towards more complex societies. The third considers studies since 1980, including seminal work on the relationship between political leadership, ritual and power, drawing on examples from Madagascar, Europe and the USA. The author also shows how post-1980, anthropological studies of leadership were subsumed within broader debates over ideology, hegemony, resistance, nation and state-formation, post-colonialism, and performance. Finally, the author considers some promising recent work that indicates new analytical directions. Anthropology’s key contribution lies in its attention to local social/cultural contexts, its understandings of how power is practised, and its concern with understanding the meanings of political leadership rather than simply its forms.
David Kinsella and Alexander H. Montgomery
Network analyses of global and regional arms flows (including small arms and light weapons, major conventional weapons, and weapons of mass destruction) and related international insecurity and criminality have so far been limited. Yet the literature contains hypotheses that could be explored or tested using network analysis. This chapter discusses supply and demand effects, structural tradeoffs between security and efficiency, pressures to become more or less centralized, and the effects of geography and other network layers. It concludes by reviewing existing data sets and analyses and gauges the potential for network analysis to inform the study of arms transfer networks. Given the general import of these networks for both security studies and policy, there should be a renaissance in the study of arms supply and proliferation networks.
This chapter reviews the state of the art in at-a-distance analysis. This methodology originated in attempts by psychologists and students of policy-making and international relations to understand and predict a national or government’s policy choices by studying the verbal behaviour of key government leaders. It has since widened into an array of methods that have also found use in areas such as candidate assessment. Several key methods are presented, as are some of the key critiques and rebuttals around the issue of inferring personality characteristics from speeches and then using those to explain government policies and state behaviours. The chapter ends by critically assessing the state of the art in the field and by presenting some possible and needed advances.
Andrew D. Martin
This article surveys modern Bayesian methods of estimating statistical models. It first provides an introduction to the Bayesian approach for statistical inference, contrasting it with more conventional approaches. It then explains the Monte Carlo principle and reviews commonly used Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods. This is followed by a practical justification for the use of Bayesian methods in the social sciences, and a number of examples from the literature where Bayesian methods have proven useful are shown. The article finally provides a review of modern software for Bayesian inference, and a discussion of the future of Bayesian methods in political science. One area ripe for research is the use of prior information in statistical analyses. Mixture models and those with discrete parameters (such as change point models in the time-series context) are completely underutilized in political science.