American Political Science Review
ISSN / EISSN : 0003-0554 / 1537-5943
Published by: Cambridge University Press (CUP) (10.1017)
Total articles ≅ 33,767
Latest articles in this journal
American Political Science Review pp 1-16; https://doi.org/10.1017/s0003055421001374
How should political scientists navigate the ethical and methodological quandaries associated with analyzing leaked classified documents and other nonconsensually acquired sources? Massive unauthorized disclosures may excite qualitative scholars with policy revelations and quantitative researchers with big-data suitability, but they are fraught with dilemmas that the discipline has yet to resolve. This paper critiques underspecified research designs and opaque references in the proliferation of scholarship with leaked materials, as well as incomplete and inconsistent guidance from leading journals. It identifies provenance as the primary concept for improved standards and reviews other disciplines’ approaches to this problem. It elaborates eight normative and evidentiary criteria for scholars by which to assess source legitimacy and four recommendations for balancing their trade-offs. Fundamentally, it contends that scholars need deeper reflection on source provenance and its consequences, more humility about whether to access new materials and what inferences to draw, and more transparency in citation and research strategies.
American Political Science Review pp 1-14; https://doi.org/10.1017/s0003055421001362
This paper argues that the idea of global peace in early twentieth-century liberal international order was sutured together by the threat of race war. This understanding of racial peace was institutionalized in the League of Nations mandate system through its philosophical architect: Jan Smuts. I argue that the League figured in Smuts’s thought as the culmination of the creative advance of the universe: white internationalist unification and settler colonialism was the cosmological destiny of humanity that enabled a racial peace. In Smuts’s imaginary, the twin prospect of race war and miscegenation serves as the dark underside that both necessitates and threatens to undo this project. By reframing the problem of race war through his metaphysics, Smuts resolves the challenge posed by race war by institutionalizing indirect rule and segregation as a project of pacification that ensured that settlement and the creative advance of the cosmos could proceed.
American Political Science Review pp 1-14; https://doi.org/10.1017/s0003055421001301
Is authoritarian power ever legitimate? The contemporary political theory literature—which largely conceptualizes legitimacy in terms of democracy or basic rights—would seem to suggest not. I argue, however, that there exists another, overlooked aspect of legitimacy concerning a government’s ability to ensure safety and security. While, under normal conditions, maintaining democracy and rights is typically compatible with guaranteeing safety, in emergency situations, conflicts between these two aspects of legitimacy can and often do arise. A salient example of this is the COVID-19 pandemic, during which severe limitations on free movement and association have become legitimate techniques of government. Climate change poses an even graver threat to public safety. Consequently, I argue, legitimacy may require a similarly authoritarian approach. While unsettling, this suggests the political importance of climate action. For if we wish to avoid legitimating authoritarian power, we must act to prevent crises from arising that can only be resolved by such means.
American Political Science Review pp 1-13; https://doi.org/10.1017/s0003055421001313
Social scientific evidence suggests that labor migration can increase resilience to climate change. For that reason, some have recently advocated using labor migration policy as a tool for climate adaptation. This paper engages with the normative question of whether, and under what conditions, states may permissibly use labor migration policy as a tool for climate adaptation. I argue that states may use labor migration policy as a tool for climate adaptation and may even have a duty to do so, subject to two moral constraints. First, states must also provide acceptable alternative options for adaptation so that the vulnerable are not forced to sacrifice their morally important interests in being able to remain where they are. Second, states may not impose restrictive terms on labor migrants to make accepting greater numbers less costly for themselves because doing so unfairly shifts the costs of adaptation onto the most vulnerable.
Published: 22 November 2021
American Political Science Review pp 1-16; https://doi.org/10.1017/s0003055421001295
Most scholars agree the rise of states led to modern territoriality. Yet globally the transition to precise boundaries occurred most often in colonies, and there are virtually no systematic explanations of its occurrence outside Europe. This article explains how precise boundaries emerged in the earliest context where they were regularly and generally implemented: seventeenth- and eighteenth-century colonial North America. Unlike explanations of modern territoriality in Europe, it argues property boundary surveys became an entrenched practice on the part of settlers and were a readily available response to intercolonial boundary disputes. After independence, settlers who were accustomed to surveys pursued linear boundaries with Britain, Spain, and Russia. Moreover, the article argues that linear borders (delimited linearly and typically physically demarcated), not sovereignty, are constitutive of modern territoriality. By disentangling the literature’s Eurocentric confusion between modern territoriality and sovereign statehood, the article makes possible a global comparative study of the emergence of modern territoriality.
Published: 15 November 2021
American Political Science Review pp 1-17; https://doi.org/10.1017/s0003055421001209
Does motivated reasoning harm democratic accountability? Substantial evidence from political behavior research indicates that voters have “directional motives” beyond accuracy, which is often taken as evidence that they are ill equipped to hold politicians accountable. We develop a model of electoral accountability with voters as motivated reasoners. Directional motives have two effects: (1) divergence—voters with different preferences hold different beliefs, and (2) desensitization—the relationship between incumbent performance and voter beliefs is weakened. While motivated reasoning does harm accountability, this is generally driven by desensitized voters rather than polarized partisans with politically motivated divergent beliefs. We also analyze the relationship between government performance and vote shares, showing that while motivated reasoning always weakens this relationship, we cannot infer that accountability is also harmed. Finally, we show that our model can be mapped to standard models in which voters are fully Bayesian but have different preferences or information.
Published: 15 November 2021
American Political Science Review pp 1-13; https://doi.org/10.1017/s0003055421001180
Drawing critical resources from Hannah Arendt, this article argues for a revaluation of the appearances of nature in environmental political theory and practice. At a time when pervasive anthropogenic contamination threatens the very survival of vulnerable communities and species, it would be wrong to revive the timeworn mythos of nature as an untrammeled beauty. Instead, with Arendt’s help, I advocate an environmental politics rooted in an alternative aesthetic of nature, one that respects and seeks to protect earth’s diverse lifeforms for the sake of their strange, disquieting appearances of otherness. Earth’s living displays of alterity are valuable, I argue, for their propensity to upset the destructive logic of mass production and consumption and spur political action. In an Arendtian frame, we can better recognize interdependence between biological and political life and appreciate the role of nonhuman lifeforms in constituting spaces of appearance where human freedom and plurality may flourish.
Published: 15 November 2021
American Political Science Review pp 1-17; https://doi.org/10.1017/s0003055421001325
A large literature establishes the benefits of central bank independence, yet very few have shown directly negative economic consequences. Furthermore, while prevailing monetary theory suggests CBI should enhance management of economic distress, I argue that independent central banks exhibit tepid responsiveness to banking instability due to a myopic focus on inflation. I show that banking crises produce larger unemployment shocks and credit and stock market contractions when the level of central bank independence is high. Further, I show that these significant economic costs are mitigated when central banks do not have the inflation-centric policy mandates predominantly considered necessary. When the bank has high operational and political independence, banks’ whose policy mandate does not rigidly prioritize inflation produce significantly better outcomes during banking crises. At the same time, I show that this configuration does not produce higher inflation, suggesting it achieves a more flexible design without incurring significant costs.
Published: 10 November 2021
American Political Science Review pp 1-13; https://doi.org/10.1017/s0003055421001283
Focusing on John Stuart Mill, a particularly illuminating contributor to modern democratic theory, this article examines the connections between modern democracy and the European colonial experience. It argues that Mill drew on the exclusionary logic and discourse available through the colonial experience to present significant portions of the English working classes as domestic barbarians, whose potential rise to power posed a danger to civilization itself: a line of argument that helped him legitimate representative government as a democratic, rather than an antidemocratic form of government, as it had been traditionally perceived. The article contributes to our understanding of the development of modern democratic theory and practice by drawing attention to the ways the colonial experience shaped core Western institutions and ways of thinking, and it makes the case that this experience remains an essential, if often unacknowledged, part of our collective “self.”
American Political Science Review pp 1-20; https://doi.org/10.1017/s0003055421001179
How do citizens change their voting decisions after their communities experience catastrophic violent events? The literature on the behavioral effects of violence, on the one hand, and on political behavior, on the other, suggest different answers to this question. Using a difference-in-differences approach, we investigate the influence of indiscriminate, rampage-style school shootings on both voter turnout levels and the relative electoral support for the Democratic and Republican Parties at the county level in US presidential elections (1980–2016). We find that although voter turnout does not change, the vote share of the Democratic Party increases by an average of nearly 5 percentage points in counties that experienced shootings—a remarkable shift in an age of partisan polarization and close presidential elections. These results show that school shootings do have important electoral consequences and bring to the fore the need to further examine the effects of different forms of violence on political behavior.