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  • Note from the Chair
  • Harold James

In a complex and interconnected world, nothing is self-evident or self-explanatory any more; much requires sophisticated explanation and analysis. So it is with journals. This note is a useful opportunity to explain something not only about world politics but also about World Politics. We are a journal of international relations, as well as of comparative politics, and the editorial committee feels that some of the most interesting work is done at the intersections of these disciplinary divisions. We see this in work on democracy and authoritarianism and on the articulation of interests and the interaction of parties, as well as, obviously, in analysis of foreign policy, trade and monetary strategies, or approaches to environmental issues. A commitment to interdisciplinarity should not just be taken as an indication of interest solely in the interplay of comparative politics and classical international relations, however. Good political science often has a strong economic, historical, and sociological component.

World Politics has an interdisciplinary editorial committee of Princeton University faculty, drawn from different departments. But the committee uses mostly distinguished non-Princeton scholars as referees, and we are enormously grateful for their contribution. The number of outside referees continues to grow. In 2003 we had almost 200 outside readers, and in 2004 almost 270. Manuscripts submitted are sent in anonymous form to the readers, and their reviews are sent in anonymous form to the authors of submissions. When the editorial committee meets to evaluate these reviews, the editors also have no knowledge of the identity of the authors of the submissions under consideration. At the moment, we are working on a reform that should expedite the process of review and decision, which will involve Web-based online submission of articles and reviews. Details of the new process will follow in the next issue.

This issue deals with some classical problems of comparative politics by means of the application of a dynamic of historical analysis. The first article, by John Gerring, Philip Bond, William T. Barndt, and Carola Morena, revisits the debate about the relationship between democracy and human growth. By reconceptualizing democracy as a stock that progressively deepens political capital, as well as human and social capital, they establish a relationship between a history of democracy and democratizing, and the ability to supply human growth. They test this [End Page v] historical intuition using a cross-country analysis. Jakub Zielinski, Kazimierz M. Slomczynski, and Goldie Shabad also offer an innovative account of democracy, showing how patterns of accountability differ in new democracies: not only do voters shift allegiances but legislators also defect from poorly performing political parties, with the result that political parties and political systems are more unstable at the beginning of democratic party life. This insight reinforces the argument about the historical character of building political capital developed in the first article.

George Tsebelis and Eduardo Alemán provide an interesting illustration of a device that enhances the power of presidents in ten Latin American regimes, the capacity to offer amendments to draft legislation that they had vetoed. Finally, Benjamin Smith builds a cross-national comparison of single-party regimes, with a view once again to examining a long historical trajectory that explains later outcomes. The initial circumstances in which the one-party regime was established shapes the regime's capacity to bind in interests and provide incentives to adherents. Such regimes are more likely to be resilient, while one-party regimes that do not face early difficulties and opposition are less likely to build inclusive or coalitional strengths.



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