University of Michigan Press

Michigan Studies in Political Analysis

Published by: University of Michigan Press

Go

Browse Books in Series:

Michigan Studies in Political Analysis

1

Results 1-9 of 9

:
restricted access This search result is for a Book

Ideology and the Theory of Political Choice

Melvin Hinich and Michael C. Munger

There is no unified theory that can explain both voter choice and where choices come from. Hinich and Munger fill that gap with their model of political communication based on ideology. Rather than beginning with voters and diffuse, atomistic preferences, Hinich and Munger explore why large groups of voters share preference profiles, why they consider themselves "liberals" or "conservatives." The reasons, they argue, lie in the twin problems of communication and commitment that politicians face. Voters, overloaded with information, ignore specific platform positions. Parties and candidates therefore communicate through simple statements of goals, analogies, and by invoking political symbols. But politicians must also commit to pursuing the actions implied by these analogies and symbols. Commitment requires that ideologies be used consistently, particularly when it is not in the party's short-run interest. The model Hinich and Munger develop accounts for the choices of voters, the goals of politicians, and the interests of contributors. It is an important addition to political science and essential reading for all in that discipline. "Hinich and Munger's study of ideology and the theory of political choice is a pioneering effort to integrate ideology into formal political theory. It is a major step in directing attention toward the way in which ideology influences the nature of political choices." --Douglass C. North ". . . represents a significant contribution to the literature on elections, voting behavior, and social choice." --Policy Currents Melvin Hinich is Professor of Government, University of Texas. Michael C. Munger is Associate Professor of Political Science, University of North Carolina.

restricted access This search result is for a Book

Information and Elections

R. Michael Alvarez

R. Michael Alvarez examines how voters make their decisions in presidential elections. He begins with the assumption that voters have neither the incentive nor the inclination to be well-informed about politics and presidential candidates. Candidates themselves have incentives to provide ambiguous information about themselves, their records and their issue positions. Yet the author shows that a tremendous amount of information is made available about presidential candidates. And he uncovers clear and striking evidence that people are not likely to vote for candidates about whom they know very little. Alvarez explores how voters learn about candidates through the course of a campaign. He provides a detailed analysis of the media coverage of presidential campaigns and shows that there is a tremendous amount of media coverage of these campaigns, that much of this coverage is about issues and is informative, and that voters learn from this coverage. The paperback edition of this work has been updated to include information on the 1996 Presidential election. Information and Elections is a book that will be read by all who are interested in campaigns and electoral behavior in presidential and other elections. "Thoughtfully conceptualized, painstakingly analyzed, with empirically significant conclusions on presidential election voting behavior, this book is recommended for both upper-division undergraduate and graduate collections." --Choice R. Michael Alvarez is Associate Professor of Political Science, California Institute of Technology.

restricted access This search result is for a Book

Information and Legislative Organization

Keith Krehbiel

In this controversial book, Keith Krehbiel investigates and casts doubt upon a view of Congress held by many academics, journalists, and members of the lay public: that Congress is organized primarily to facilitate logrolling or "gains from trade" between legislators. The author puts forward an alternative "informational" theory that, unlike previous formal theories, highlights institutional needs and individual incentives for acquiring policy expertise. Using games with incomplete information, Krehbiel derives a set of unique and testable predictions about the organization of legislatures -- including the composition of committees and the procedures under which legislation is considered. Krehbiel's creative illustrations and nonmathematical presentation of formal theories make this book accessible to a diverse set of readers. The political relevance and testability of games with incomplete information will be appreciated by game theorists and economists, while the book's findings make it essential reading for political scientists who study American politics, political institutions, or democratic legislatures.

restricted access This search result is for a Book

Legislative Entrepreneurship in the U.S. House of Representatives

Gregory Wawro

When members are elected to the House of Representatives they have a certain freedom to decide how they will act as members and how they will build their reputations. Just as in the market place entrepreneurs build businesses, so in the House of Representatives members have the freedom to choose to build legislative programs that will enhance their reputations in the institution. And yet entrepreneurship is also costly to members. Gregory Wawro explains why members of the House engage in legislative entrepreneurship by examining what motivates them to acquire policy knowledge, draft legislation, build coalitions, and push their legislation in the House. He considers what incentives members have to perform what many have perceived to be the difficult and unrewarding tasks of legislating. This book shows how becoming a legislative entrepreneur relates to members' goals of reelection, enacting good public policy, and obtaining influence in the House. The analysis differs from previous studies of this behavior, which for the most part have employed case study methods and have relied on anecdotal evidence to support their arguments. Wawro analyzes legislative entrepreneurship in a general and systematic fashion, developing hypotheses from rational-choice-based theories and testing these hypotheses using quantitative methods. Wawro argues that members engage in legislative entrepreneurship in order to get ahead within the House. He finds that the more legislative entrepreneurship that members engage in, the more likely it is that they will advance to prestigious positions. This book is of interest to students of Congress, legislative behavior and institutions, elections, and campaign finance. Gregory Wawro is Assistant Professor of Political Science, Columbia University.

restricted access This search result is for a Book

The Phantom Respondents

Opinion Surveys and Political Representation

John Brehm

Polls and surveys pervade political and social life in ways that are both conspicuous and subtle. We gauge the success of presidential aspirants by how well they score in polls broadcast on the nightly news. Our political leaders and candidates for every major office study the polls to identify the public’s preferences on controversial policies. The Phantom Respondent’s develops the simple premise that public opinion surveys and polls have become a modern vehicle for political representation, and that, therefore, we must attend to the quality of representation that surveys and polls provide.

restricted access This search result is for a Book

Positive Political Theory I

Collective Preference

David Austen-Smith and Jeffrey S. Banks

Positive Political Theory I is concerned with the formal theory of preference aggregation for collective choice. The theory is developed as generally as possible, covering classes of aggregation methods that include such well-known examples as majority and unanimity rule and focusing in particular on the extent to which any aggregation method is assured to yield a set of "best" alternatives. The book is intended both as a contribution to the theory of collective choice and a pedagogic tool. Austen-Smith and Banks have made the exposition both rigorous and accessible to people with some technical background (e.g., a course in multivariate calculus). The intended readership ranges from more technically-oriented graduate students and specialists to those students in economics and political science interested less in the technical aspects of the results than in the depth, scope, and importance of the theoretical advances in positive political theory. "This is a stunning book. Austen-Smith and Banks have a deep understanding of the material, and their text gives a powerfully unified and coherent perspective on a vast literature. The exposition is clear-eyed and efficient but never humdrum. Even those familiar with the subject will find trenchant remarks and fresh insights every few pages. Anyone with an interest in contemporary liberal democratic theory will want this book on the shelf." --Christopher Achen, University of Michigan David Austen-Smith is Professor of Political Science, Professor of Economics, and Professor of Management and Strategy, Northwestern University. Jeffrey S. Banks is Professor of Political Science, California Institute of Technology.

restricted access This search result is for a Book

Positive Political Theory II

Strategy and Structure

David Austen-Smith and Jeffrey S. Banks

“A major piece of work . . . a classic. There is no other book like it.” —Norman Schofield, Washington University “The authors succeed brilliantly in tackling a large number of important questions concerning the interaction among voters and elected representatives in the political arena, using a common, rigorous language.” —Antonio Merlo, University of Pennsylvania Positive Political Theory II: Strategy and Structure is the second volume in Jeffrey Banks and David Austen-Smith’s monumental study of the links between individual preferences and collective choice. The book focuses on representative systems, including both elections and legislative decision-making processes, clearly connecting individual preferences to collective outcomes. This book is not a survey. Rather, it is the coherent, cumulative result of the authors’ brilliant efforts to indirectly connect preferences to collective choice through strategic behaviors such as agenda-selection and voting. The book will be an invaluable reference and teaching tool for economists and political scientists, and an essential companion to any scholar interested in the latest theoretical advances in positive political theory.

restricted access This search result is for a Book

Trust

Representatives and Constituents

William T. Bianco

Why do constituents sometimes defer to their representative's judgment, rewarding her for acting as she thinks best, even when she ignores their demands? By making decisions about trust, constituents determine whether their representative is rewarded for implementing their demands or for using her judgment. These decisions shape legislator behavior and, through behavior, policy outcomes. Therefore, any attempt to explain or evaluate representative institutions such as the modern Congress requires an answer to a simple question: When do constituents trust their representative, and what is the basis of that trust? This book is the first systematic analysis of constituent trust. It assumes that elected officials and ordinary citizens are rational actors. However, the book moves beyond the standard rational choice framework in three ways. It avoids narrow, unrealistic assumptions about motivations and information. It shows that many kinds of behavior not usually thought of as rational choices, such as a voter's desire to be represented by "someone like them," are the product of a systematic, predictable calculus---a calculus aimed at securing favorable policy outcomes. Finally, the book uses interviews with ninety-three members of the U.S. House of Representatives to test its predictions about trust.

restricted access This search result is for a Book

Working, Shirking, and Sabotage

Bureaucratic Response to a Democratic Public

John Brehm and Scott Gates

Bureaucrats perform most of the tasks of government, profoundly influencing the daily lives of Americans. But who, or what, controls what bureaucrats do? John Brehm and Scott Gates examine who influences whether federal, state, and local bureaucrats work, shirk, or sabotage policy. The authors combine deductive models and computer simulations of bureaucratic behavior with statistical analysis in order to assess the competing influences over how bureaucrats expend their efforts. Drawing upon surveys, observational studies, and administrative records of the performance of public employees in a variety of settings, Brehm and Gates demonstrate that the reasons bureaucrats work as hard as they do include the nature of the jobs they are recruited to perform and the influence of both their fellow employees and their clients in the public. In contrast to the conclusions of principal-agency models, the authors show that the reasons bureaucrats work so hard have little to do with the coercive capacities of supervisors. This book is aimed at students of bureaucracy and organizations and will be of interest to researchers in political science, economics, public policy, and sociology. "This book is breathtaking in its use of models and techniques. . . . The approach developed by Brehm and Gates allows us to re-open empirical questions that have lain dormant for years." --Bryan D. Jones, University of Washington John Brehm is Associate Professor of Political Science, Duke University. Scott Gates is Associate Professor of Political Science, Michigan State University.

1

Results 1-9 of 9

:

Return to Browse All Series on Project MUSE

Series

Michigan Studies in Political Analysis

Content Type

  • (9)

Access

  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access