The American Political Science Review’s winter hiatus runs from December 21, 2016 to January 4, 2017. During this time no new manuscripts can be submitted. All other journal operations, however, continue. We look forward to receiving your submission to the journal in the New Year.
Testing Civics: State-Level Civic Education Requirements and Political Knowledge
David E. Campbell, University of Notre Dame
Richard G. Niemi, University of Rochester
Do state-level exams in civics have a positive impact on young people’s civic knowledge? We hypothesize that civics exams have the biggest effect in states where they are a requirement for high school graduation—the incentivehypothesis. We further hypothesize that civics requirements have the biggest effect on young people with less exposure to information about the U.S. political system at home, specifically Latinos and, especially, immigrants—the compensation hypothesis. We test these hypotheses with the 2006 and 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) civics test administered to high school students, and with a large national survey of 18–24 year-olds. Across the two datasets, we find modest support for the incentive hypothesis and strong support for the compensation hypothesis. Read more.
American Political Science Review / Volume 110, Issue 3 August 2016, pp. 495-511
“Of Darkness from Vain Philosophy”: Hobbes’s Critique of the Classical Tradition
Devin Stauffer, University of Texas
The early modern revolution in political philosophy not only transformed political philosophy itself; it also played a crucial role in shaping the character of modern politics. This article contributes to our understanding of that revolution through an examination of Thomas Hobbes’s critique of the classical tradition. Although it is well known that Hobbes was a critic of that tradition, the details of his critique have not been sufficiently uncovered. Hobbes’s key target was Aristotle, whom he regarded as the most important source of the tradition he opposed. Hobbes’s critique of Aristotle consists of two main lines of argument—one moral-political, the other metaphysical—that ultimately prove to be connected. An examination of Hobbes’s twofold critique can help us understand what was at stake in the reorientation of political philosophy that eventually gave rise to modern liberalism. Read more.
American Political Science Review / Volume 110, Issue 3 August 2016, pp. 481-494
Language Policy and Human Development
David D. Laitin, Stanford University
Rajesh Ramachandran, Goethe University Frankfurt
This article explores how language policy affects the socioeconomic development of nation states through two channels: the individual’s exposure to and (in reference to an individual’s mother tongue) linguistic distance from the official language. In a cross-country framework the article first establishes a robust and sizeable negative relationship between an official language that is distant from the local indigenous languages and proxies for human capital and health. To establish this relationship as causal, we instrument language choice with a measure of geographic distance from the origins of writing. Next, using individual level data from India and a set of 11 African countries, we provide microempirical support on the two channels—distance from and exposure to the official language—and their implications for educational, health, occupational and wealth outcomes. Finally, we suggest policy implications based on our findings. Read more.
American Political Science Review / Volume 110, Issue 3 August 2016, pp. 457-480
Electoral Rules and Legislative Particularism: Evidence from U.S. State Legislatures
Tanya Bagashka, University of Houston
Jennifer Hayes Clark, University of Houston
We argue that state legislative politics is qualitatively different from national congressional politics in the extent to which it focuses on localized and geographically specific legislation salient to subconstituencies within a legislative district. Whereas congressional politics focuses on casework benefits for individual constituents, state legislative politics is more oriented to the delivery of localized benefits for groups of citizens in specific areas within a district, fostering a geographically specific group connection. A primary way to build such targeted geographical support is for members to introduce particularistic legislation designed to aid their specific targeted geographical area within the district. We argue that this is primarily a function of electoral rules. Using original sponsorship data from U.S. state houses, we demonstrate that greater district magnitude and more inclusive selection procedures such as open primaries are associated with more particularism. Our findings provide strong support for a voter-group alignment model of electoral politics distinct from the personal vote/electoral connection model that characterizes U.S. congressional politics and is more akin to patterns of geographically specific group-oriented electoral politics found in Europe and throughout the world. Read more.
American Political Science Review / Volume 110, Issue 3 August 2016, pp. 441-456
On the Rights of Warlords: Legitimate Authority and Basic Protection in War-Torn Societies
Robert A. Blair, Brown University
Pablo Kalmanovitz, Universidad de los Andes
This article examines the legitimacy of the use of force by armed nonstate actors resisting the imposition of state rule over territories they control. We focus on the rights of warlords: subnational strongmen who seek autonomy within geographically demarcated territories, but not secession or control of the state itself. We argue that behind the resistance to state-building lies a twofold question of legitimate authority: the authority of states to consolidate power within their own internationally recognized borders and the authority of warlords to resist that expansion, by force if necessary, when it threatens social order and the protection of basic rights. This article draws on just war theory to develop a set of conditions under which such resistance may be justified, explores the argument’s practical implications for state-building under the tutelage of third parties (e.g., the United Nations), and demonstrates its empirical relevance through an application to Afghanistan. Read more.
American Political Science Review / Volume 110, Issue 3 August 2016, pp. 428-440
“30 Years After the Immigration Reform and Control Act” Panel,
2016 APSA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA
Panelists discuss the legacy of IRCA, their thoughts on the immigration research that political scientists should conduct, and their views on the political and scholarly challenges going forward.
Deborah Schildkraut, Tufts University
Karthick Ramakrishnan, University of California Riverside
Daniel Tichenor, University of Oregon
Mark Hugo Lopez, Pew Research Center
Ricardo Ramirez, University of Notre Dame
Els de Graauw, Baruch College
Collective Threat Framing and Mobilization in Civil War
Anastasia Shesterinina, Yale University
Research on civil war mobilization emphasizes armed group recruitment tactics and individual motivations to fight, but does not explore how individuals come to perceive the threat involved in civil war. Drawing on eight months of fieldwork with participants and nonparticipants in the Georgian-Abkhaz war of 1992–93, this article argues that social structures, within which individuals are embedded, provide access to information critical for mobilization decisions by collectively framing threat. Threat framing filters from national through local leadership, to be consolidated and acted on within quotidian networks. Depending on how the threat is perceived—whether toward the self or the collectivity at its different levels—individuals adopt self- to other-regarding roles, from fleeing to fighting on behalf of the collectivity, even if it is a weaker actor in the war. This analysis sheds light on how the social framing of threat shapes mobilization trajectories and how normative and instrumental motivations interact in civil war. Read more.
American Political Science Review / Volume 110, Issue 3 August 2016, pp. 411-427