You are here

Recent Faculty Publications

The Political Science faculty at the University of Minnesota are leading publishers in their field. They are authors of paradigm-shifting books and deliver signal and enduring contributions to their field. They are published by the most respected presses and contribute to the most widely read journals.


Inequality and Democratization

Inequality and Democratizations: An Elite Competition Approach
(Cambridge University Press, 2014)

David Samuels and Ben Ansell

Research on the economic origins of democracy and dictatorship has shifted away from the impact of growth and turned toward the question of how different patterns of growth - equal or unequal - shape regime change. This book offers a new theory of the historical relationship between economic modernization and the emergence of democracy on a global scale, focusing on the effects of land and income inequality. Contrary to most mainstream arguments, Ben W. Ansell and David J. Samuels suggest that democracy is more likely to emerge when rising, yet politically disenfranchised, groups demand more influence because they have more to lose, rather than when threats of redistribution to elite interests are low.

This book won two major American Political Science Association Awards in 2015: First, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award which is given for the best book on government, politics or international affairs. Second, the William H. Riker Book Award which is given for the best book in political economy.

Krebs, Narrative and the Making of US National Security

Narrative and the Making of US National Security
(Cambridge University Press, 2015)

Dominant narratives - from the Cold War consensus to the War on Terror - have often served as the foundation for debates over national security. Weaving current challenges, past failures and triumphs, and potential futures into a coherent tale, with well-defined characters and plot lines, these narratives impart meaning to global events, define the boundaries of legitimate politics, and thereby shape national security policy. However, we know little about why or how such narratives rise and fall. Drawing on insights from diverse fields, Narrative and the Making of US National Security offers novel arguments about where these dominant narratives come from, how they become dominant, and when they collapse. It evaluates these arguments carefully against evidence drawn from US debates over national security from the 1930s to the 2000s, and shows how these narrative dynamics have shaped the policies pursued by the United States.

Pearson, Party Discipline in the US House of Rerpresentatives

Party Discipline in the US House of Representatives
(University of Michigan Press, 2015)

Political party leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives command greater loyalty than ever from fellow party members in roll call votes, campaign contributions, and partisan speeches. In return, leaders reward compliant members with opportunities to promote constituent interests and to advance their own political careers. Denial of such privileges as retribution against those who don’t fully support the party agenda may significantly damage a member’s prospects. Kathryn Pearson examines the disciplinary measures that party leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives employ to exact such loyalty, as well as the consequences for a democratic legislature. Drawing upon data from 1987–2010, Pearson identifies the conditions under which party leaders opt to prioritize policy control and those which induce them to prioritize majority control. She then assesses the ways in which these choices affect, on one hand, the party’s ability to achieve its goals, and on the other hand, rank-and-file members’ ability to represent their constituents. Astute party leaders recognize the need for balance, as voters could oust representatives who repeatedly support the party’s agenda over their constituents’ concerns, thereby jeopardizing the number of seats their party holds.

In her conclusion, Pearson discusses the consequences of party discipline such as legislative gridlock, stalled bills, and proposals banned from the agenda. Although party discipline is likely to remain strong as citizens become more cognizant of enforced party loyalty, their increasing dissatisfaction with Congress may spur change.

Caraway, Working Through The Past

Working through the Past: Labor and Authoritarian Legacies in Comparative Perspective
(ILR Press, 2015)

Teri Carway (Editor)

Democratization in the developing and post-communist world has yielded limited gains for labor. Explanations for this phenomenon have focused on the effect of economic crisis and globalization on the capacities of unions to become influential political actors and to secure policies that benefit their members. In contrast, the contributors to Working through the Past highlight the critical role that authoritarian legacies play in shaping labor politics in new democracies, providing the first cross-regional analysis of the impact of authoritarianism on labor, focusing on East and Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America.

Legacies from the pre-democratic era shape labor’s present in ways that both limit and enhance organized labor’s power in new democracies. Assessing the comparative impact on a variety of outcomes relevant to labor in widely divergent settings, this volume argues that political legacies provide new insights into why labor movements in some countries have confronted the challenges of neoliberal globalization better than others.

Luxon, Active Intolerance

"The Disordering of Discourse: Voice and Authority in the GIP"
Chapter in Working through the Past: Labor and Authoritarian Legacies in Comparative Perspective
(Palgrave Macmillan, 2015)

This book is an interdisciplinary collection of essays on Le Groupe d'information sur les prisons (The Prisons Information Group, the GIP). The GIP was a radical activist group, extant between 1970 and 1973, in which Michel Foucault was heavily involved. It aimed to facilitate the circulation of information about living conditions in French prisons and, over time, it catalyzed several revolts and instigated minor reforms. In Foucault's words, the GIP sought to identify what was 'intolerable' about the prison system and then to produce 'an active intolerance' of that same intolerable reality. To do this, the GIP 'gave prisoners the floor,' so as to hear from prisoners themselves what to resist and how. The essays collected here explore the GIP's resources both for Foucault studies and for prison activism today.


Paul Goren with Brian Rathbun, Joshua Kertzer, Jason Reifler, and Thomas Scotto, “Taking Foreign Policy Personally: Personal Values and Foreign Policy Attitudes,” International Studies Quarterly (February 2016):1-14.

Previous research shows that, when it comes to foreign policy, individuals have general orientations that inform their beliefs toward more specific issues in international relations. But such studies evade an even more important question: what gives rise to such foreign-policy orientations in the first place? Combining an original survey on a nationally representative sample of Americans with Schwartz’s theory of values from political psychology, we show that people take foreign policy personally: the same basic values that people use to guide choices in their daily lives also travel to the domain of foreign affairs. Conservation values are most strongly linked to “militant internationalism,” a general hawkishness in international relations. The value of universalism is the most important value for predicting “cooperative internationalism,” the foreignpolicy orientation marked by a preference for multilateralism and cosmopolitanism in international affairs. This relatively parsimonious and elegant system of values and foreign-policy beliefs is consistent across both high- and low-knowledge respondents, offering one potential explanation for why those people who are otherwise uninformed about world politics nonetheless express coherent foreign-policy beliefs.

August Nimtz, “Violence and/or Nonviolence in the Success of the Civil Rights Movement: The Malcolm X-Martin Luther King, Jr. Nexus,” New Political Science (February 2015): 1-22.

Nonviolent mass protests are often considered as having been mainly responsible for the two major legislative gains of the Civil Rights Movement half a century ago—the 1964 Civil Rights Act (CRA) and the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA). In this article, I argue that it was the combination of that course and the threat of violence on the part of African Americans that fully explain those two victories. A close reading of the texts and actions of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X is indispensable for my claim. The archival evidence, as well, makes a convincing case for the CRA, its proposal by the John F. Kennedy (JFK) administration and enactment by Congress. For the VRA, its proposal by the Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) administration and enactment by Congress, the evidence is more circumstantial but still compelling. The evidence reveals that for the threat of violence to have been credible, actual violence was required, as events in Birmingham, Alabama, demonstrate. Such violence, the “long hot summers” of the 1960s that began with Birmingham, probably aided and abetted subsequent civil rights gains—a story that has potential lessons for today’s struggles for social equality .

Ronald Krebs with Roy Licklider, "United They Fall: Why the International Community Should Not Promote Military Integration After Civil War," International Security (Winter 2015/2016): 93-138.

The single strongest predictor of civil war is a nation having had one in the past, and preventing the recurrence of civil war has thus become the critical problem for both scholarship and policy. The conventional wisdom urges the creation of capable, legitimate, and inclusive postwar states to reduce the risk of relapse into civil war, and international peacebuilders have often encouraged the formation of a new national army including members of the war’s opposing sides. However, military integration has received little theoretical or empirical attention. Filling that gap, we argue that both the theoretical logics and the empirical record identifying military integration as a significant contributor to durable post-civil war peace are weak. Our analysis of eleven cases finds little evidence that military integration played a substantial causal role in preventing the return to civil war and little support for the likely causal mechanisms. Military integration does not usually send a costly signal of the parties’ commitment to peace, provide communal security, employ many possible spoilers, or act as a powerful symbol of a unified nation. We conclude that it is both unwise and unethical for the international community to press military integration on reluctant local forces. 

Joanne Miller with Kyle Saunders and Christina Farhart, "Conspiracy Endorsement as Motivated Reasoning: The Moderating Roles of Political Knowledge and Trust," American Journal of Political Science (November 2015):

Given the potential political and social significance of conspiracy beliefs, a substantial and growing body of work examines the individual-level correlates of belief in conspiracy theories and general conspiratorial predispositions. However, although we know much about the psychological antecedents of conspiracy endorsement, we know less about the individual-level political causes of these prevalent and consequential beliefs. Our work draws from the extant literature to posit that endorsement of conspiracy theories is a motivated process that serves both ideological and psychological needs. In doing so, we develop a theory that identifies a particular type of person—one who is both highly knowledgeable about politics and lacking in trust—who is most susceptible to ideologically motivated conspiracy endorsement. Further, we demonstrate that the moderators of belief in conspiracy theories are strikingly different for conservatives and liberals.

James Hollyer, "Transparency, Protest and Autocratic Instability," American Political Science Review (January 2016): 764-784.

The collapse of autocratic regimes is often brought about through large-scale mobilization and collective action by elements of the populace. The willingness of any given member of the public to participate in actions such as strikes and protests is contingent upon her beliefs about others’ willingness to similarly mobilize. In this article, we examine the effect of a specific form of transparency—the disclosure of economic data by the government—on citizen belief formation, and consequently on collective mobilization. We present a theoretical model in which, under autocratic rule, transparency increases the frequency of protests, and increases the extent to which protest is correlated with incumbent performance. We find empirical support for these claims. Transparency destabilizes autocracies via mass protest.