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.


Articles and Book Chapters

Ronald R. Krebs, Robert Ralston, and Aaron Raport, "No Right to Be Wrong: What Americans Think about Civil-Military Relations," Perspectives on Politics, March 11, 2021, 1-19.

An influential model of democratic civil-military relations insists that civilian politicians and officials, accountable to the public, have “the right to be wrong” about the use of force: they, not senior military officers, decide when force will be used and set military strategy. While polls have routinely asked about Americans’ trust in the military, they have rarely probed deeply into Americans’ views of civil-military relations. We report and analyze the results of a June 2019 survey that yields two important, and troubling, findings. First, Americans do not accept the basic premises of democratic civil-military relations. They are extraordinarily deferential to the military’s judgment regarding when to use military force, and they are comfortable with high-ranking officers intervening in public debates over policy. Second, in this polarized age, Americans’ views of civil-military relations are not immune to partisanship. Consequently, with their man in the Oval Office in June 2019, Republicans—who, as political conservatives, might be expected to be more deferential to the military—were actually less so. And Democrats, similarly putting ideology aside, wanted the military to act as a check on a president they abhorred. The stakes are high: democracy is weakened when civilians relinquish their “right to be wrong.”

Anoop Sarbahi, "The Structure of Religion, Ethnicity, and Insurgent Mobilization: Evidence from India," World Politcs, December 2020, 1-46. doi:10.1017/S0042887120000222.

This article problematizes the social structure of ethnic groups to account for variation in insurgent mobilization within and across ethnic groups. Relying on network-based approaches to social structure, it argues that insurgent mobilization is constrained by the structural connectivity of the ethnic group, a measure of the extent to which subethnic communities—neighborhoods, villages, clans, and tribes—are socially connected internally and with each other. In agrarian societies, structural connectivity is traced to religion. On the basis of unique data on rebel recruitment from the Mizo insurgency in India and microlevel variations in changes associated with the spread of Christianity among Mizos, the author demonstrates that enhanced structural connectivity resulting from a network of highly centralized churches and institutions under the Welsh Presbyterian Mission significantly bolstered insurgent recruitment. Semistructured interviews of Mizo insurgents and ethnographic evidence from the neighboring Meitei and Naga ethnic insurgencies further support the argument and the casual mechanism.

Timothy R. Johnson, Tonja Jacobi, Eve Ringsmuth, and Matthew Sag, "Oral Argument in the Time of COVID: The Chief Plays Calvinball," Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal, October 2020

In this Article, we empirically assess the Supreme Court’s experiment in hearing telephonic oral arguments. We compare the telephonic hearings to those heard in-person by the current Court and examine whether the justices followed norms of fairness and equality. We show that the telephonic forum changed the dynamics of oral argument in a way that gave the Chief Justice new power, and that Chief Justice Roberts, knowingly or unknowingly, used that new power to benefit his ideological allies. We also show that the Chief interrupted the female justices disproportionately more than the male justices and gave the male justices more substantive opportunity to have their questions answered.

This analysis transcends the significance of individual cases. The fact that the Court experimented with telephonic oral argument, the way it did so, and how the practice could be improved are all issues of profound national importance. The new format had the potential to influence the outcome of cases that have broad national significance, to shift norms of equality and transparency at the Court, and more generally to affect judicial legitimacy. If the Court favors certain parties or certain ideological camps by its choice of forum in a time of crisis, then that will undermine not only the Court’s claim to legitimacy but it also raises doubts whether any of our national institutions have the capacity to adapt to crises more generally.

Jane Sumner, Andrew Kerner, and Brian Richter, "Offshore production's effect on Americans' attitues toward trade." Business and Politics 22, no.3 (2020): 539-571.

American discontent with offshore production features heavily in trade policy debates. But Americans more typically encounter offshore production in apolitical contexts as consumers. We argue that these ostensibly apolitical encounters with offshore production are, in fact, freighted with political consequences. This paper asks: When and for whom does consumer-based exposure to offshore production reduce support for free trade? This is an important in its own right, but also sheds light on the contexts in which more overtly political references to offshore production are likely to find the most fertile ground. We answer these questions using a survey experiment that embeds an offshoring “prime” into an advertisement for pet furniture, varying the location of production across different treatment groups. We find that our experimental exposure to offshore production depressed enthusiasm for free trade, but only when production occurred in China, and mainly among white men living near trade-related job loss. That heterogeneity resonates with work on the economic and social aspects of the decline in American manufacturing employment.

David Samuels and Henry Thomson, "Lord, Peasant... and Tractor? Agricultural Mechanization, Moore's Thesis, and the Emergence of Democracy," Perspectives on Politics, July 28, 2020.

Conventional wisdom holds that landed elites oppose democratization. Whether they fear rising wages, labor mobility or land redistribution, landowners have historically repressed agricultural workers and sustained autocracy. What might change landowning elites' preferences for dictatorship and reduce their opposition to democracy? Change requires reducing landowners' need to maintain politcal control over labor. This transition occurs when mechanization reduces the demand for agricultural workers, eliminating the need for labor-repressive policies. We explain how the adoption of labor-saving technology in agriculture alters landowners' political prefernces for differnt regimes, so that the more mechanized the agricultural sector, the more likely is democracy to emerge and survive. Our theoretical argument offers a parsimonious revision to Moore's thesis that applies to the global transformation of agriculture since his Social Origins first appeared, and results from our cross-national statistical analyses strongly suggest that a positive relationship between agricultural mechanization and democracy does in face exist.

Paul Goren, Brianna Smith, and Matt Motta, "Human Values and Sophistication Interaction Theory," Political Behavior, May 2, 2020.

Political sophistication systematically affects the structure, crystallization, and use of political values, but it remains unclear if sophistication manifests similar effects on human values. This paer integrates Shalom Schwartz (Adv Exp Soc Psychol 25:1-65, 1992, J Soc Issues 50:19-45, 1994) theory of human values with sophistication interaction theory to examine the degree to which education and political interest condition the structure, crystallization, and use of an important subset of values. We theorize that human values are (1) identically structured and equally crystallizaed in sophistication-stratified populations and (2) that relationships between human values and ideological judgments grow stronger at higher levels of sophistication. Using data from a nationally representative sample of 10,765 Americans, we compare extremely sophisticated individuals (e.g., people with doctorates) and extremely unsophisticated individuals (e.g., high school dropouts) to demonstrate that neither education nor political interest affect value structure and crystallization. Sophistication has real, if somewhat limited, effects on value usage. 

Ronald Krebs and Robert Ralston, "Patriotism or Paychecks: Who Believes What About Why Soldiers Serve," Armed Forces & Society, April 15, 2020.

Political sophistication systematically affects the structure, crystallization, and use of political values, but it remains unclear if sophistication manifests similar effects on human values. This paper integrates Shalom Schwartz (Adv Exp Soc Psychol 25:1–65, 1992, J Soc Issues 50:19–45, 1994) theory of human values with sophistication interaction theory to examine the degree to which education and political interest condition the structure, crystallization, and use of an important subset of values. We theorize that human values are (1) identically structured and equally crystallized in sophistication-stratified populations and (2) that relationships between human values and ideological judgments grow stronger at higher levels of sophistication. Using data from a nationally representative sample of 10,765 Americans, we compare extremely sophisticated individuals (e.g., people with doctorates) and extremely unsophisticated individuals (e.g., high school dropouts) to demonstrate that neither education nor political interest affect value structure and crystallization. Sophistication has real, if somewhat limited, effects on value usage.

Although voluntary recruitment to the military is today the Western norm, we know little about citizens' beliefs regarding service members' reasons for joining. This article, reporting and analyzing the results of anationally representative U.S. survey, rectifies this gap. We find that, despite the reality of market-based recruitment, many Americans continue to subscribe to an idealized image of service members as moved by self-sacrificing patriotism. This belief is most heavily concentrated among conservative Americans. Liberal Americans are more likely to believe that service members join primarily for economic reasons. Those furthest to the left are more inclined to aver that service mebers join chiefly to escape desperate circumstances. Perhaps most surprising, we discover a disconnect between respondents with military experience and their families: The former are more likely to acknowledge that pay and benefits are a primary motivation for service, whereas their families are more likely to embrace a patriotic service narrative.

Tim Johnson, Rachael Houston, and Amanda Bryan, "Taking Note: Justice Harry A. Blackmun's Observations from from Oral Argument about Life, the Law, and the U.S. Supreme Court," Journal of Supreme Court History, March 27, 2020, 44-65.

On November 4, 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Bath Iron Works v. Workers’ Compensation Programs. As attorneys presented their arguments, Justice Harry A. Blackmun, like the entire nation, had a lot on his mind because the night before William Jefferson Clinton had been elected the first Democratic President in twelve years. While the political implications of the Clinton victory would be undoubtedly vast, Blackmun was more concerned with how it would affect him personally. It was just days until Blackmun's eighty‐fourth birthday, and it suddenly seemed viable for him to depart and allow the new President to make a politically and ideologically suitable replacement. Thus, while Blackmun took his (usual) notes on Christopher Wright's arguments for the federal government, Blackmun's mind, and his pencil, wandered to how his life might quickly change. Blackmun's oral argument notes continue to be a treasure trove for scholars, Court watchers, and interested citizens. However, his “green notes,” the name we have given to these more personal reflections, have been paid far less attention. Our goal is to provide a better understanding of them while also providing readers with insights about the gray notes. Both are of particular interest for several reasons. First, they offer a rare glimpse of the world through the eyes of a Justice who sat on the Court through some of its (and the nation's) most interesting and tumultuous years of the late twentieth century. Second, these notes add to our understanding of how Justices reach decisions. Third, the notes add a dimension to scholarly understanding of the Court in a way that even most historians cannot provide because these insights come, quite literally, from Blackmun's own hand as he watched law, politics, and history develop around him over the nearly quarter century he sat on the bench.

Helen Kinsella, "Sleeping soldiers: On sleep and war," Security Dialogue, February 7, 2020.

In this article, I explore sleep specifically as a weapon of war, as a logistic of war, and as a metaphor for conscience in war. In proposing the capacity to sleep as a measure of the effects of strategies of war, and to recalibrate understandings of intimacy and vulnerability in war, I highlight the distinct effects of war on all its denizens. I make no claim for sameness among their experiences – far from it. And yet, at the same time, I wish to draw attention to what this exploratory essay also conveys, namely, the possibility for a sort of what Judith Butler terms ‘sensate democracy’ in the experience of sleeplessness, exposing a counterintuitive commonality among those deemed friends and enemies. Such a focus brings to the fore that which Simone Weil so powerfully articulated – that violence and force destroy those who wield them and those who are subject to them, potentially reducing each to something less than human, rendering them ‘brothers in the same misery’. Far from facilitating or structuring a relativistic moral equivalence, this potential solidarity provides a form and a measure that, in turn, make way for an analysis of distinct relations of power.

Michael Minta, "Diversity and Minority Interest Group Advocacy in Congress," Political Science Quarterly, December 2019.

This paper examines the role that racial and ethnic diversity plays in improving the legislative success of minority interest groups. Relying on campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures to explain minority interest groups’ influence on legislators’ behavior is not sufficient, because most minority organizations are public charities, or 501(c)(3) organizations, and as such are both banned by federal law from making candidate contributions and limited in how much they can spend on federal lobbying. I argue, however, that the inclusion of more blacks and Latinos on congressional committees enhances the lobbying influence—and thus the legislative success—of civil rights organizations in Congress. Using data from lobbying disclosure reports on bills supported by black American and Latino civil rights groups in the 110th Congress (2007–2008) and 111th Congress (2009–2010), as well as House markup data, I find that National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCR), and UnidosUS-supported bills referred to House committees with greater proportions of racial and ethnic minorities received more markups than did bills referred to House committees with less diversity. Diversity is significant in predicting committee attention even when accounting for possible confounding factors, including committee jurisdiction and the ideological composition of committee membership.

Mark Bell and Noel Anderson, "The Limits of Regional Power: South Africa's Security Strategy, 1975-1989," Journal of Strategic Studies, 2019.

This article examines the strategic decision-making of the South African regime between 1975 and 1989. Existing scholarship argues that Pretoria was a regional hegemon and that this position underwrote its security strategy. We suggest that scholars have overstated the implications of its regional strength. Using archival documents and interviews with retired military and political elites, we show how Pretoria's threat perception, conventional military operations, and nuclear strategy were in fact conditioned by an awareness of the limits of its power within the global distribution of power; its isolation in the international system; and fears of conflict escalation vis-à-vis extra-regional threats.

Cosette Creamer, Kevin Cope, and Mila Versteeg, "Empirical Studies of Human Rights Law," Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Volume 15, 2019, 155-182.

A growing body of empirical studies has provided important insights into our understanding of the causes and effects of codified human rights. Yet empirical research has treated human rights treaties and constitutional rights as separate domains, even though the two regimes offer many of the same rights protections and can interact and reinforce each other. In this article, we review these two bodies of literature, focusing on two lines of inquiry; studies that (a) treat rights commitments as the outcome to be explained and (b) examine the consequences of these commitments for state behavior. Some broad insights emerge from these literatures. First, the literatures adopt different orientations to explaining why states commit themselves to legal rights. Second, the effect of both human rights treaties and constitutions is usually small and contingent on certain legal and political environments. This review concludes by synthesizing debates over the most effective methods for measuring rights performance and for guaging causal effects.

Jane Lawrence Sumner, Emily Farris, and Mirya Holman, "Crowdsourcing Reliable Local Data," Political Analysis, September 20, 2019.

The adage "All politics is local" in the United States is largely true. Of the United States' 90,106 governments, 99.9% are local governments. Despite variations in institutional features, descriptive representation, and policy-making power, political scientists have been slow to take advantage of these variations. One obstacle is that comprehensive data on local politics is often extremely difficult to obtain; as a result, data is unavailable or costly, hard to replicate, and rarely updated. We provide an alternative: crowdsourcing this data. We demonstrate and validate crowdsourcing data on local politics using two different data collection projects. We evaluate different measures of consensus across coders and validate the crowd's work against elite and professional datasets. In doing so, we show the crowdsourced data is both highly accurate and easy to use. In doing so, we demonstrate that nonexperts can be used to collect, validate, or update local data.

Anuja Bose, "Frantz Fanon and the Politicization of the Third World as a Collective Subject," Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, August 21, 2019.

During the postwar conjuncture of the twentieth century, decolonization movements across the world made it possible to imagine collective politics anew. In this essay I center Frantz Fanon as an important theorist who can help us think about the collective dynamics of the Third World project. I argue Fanon articulates the Third World as a collective subject that was not bound to the confines of the nation-state, but based on a conception of intercontinental populism. He conceives of the Third World as a collective subject that stretched between Africa, Asia, and the Americas. In doing so, he shifts the locus of political action and mobilization around postwar transnationalism and internationalism to the masses of the Third World, and thus decenters the exclusive focus on political elites as the main protagonists who struggled to unseat imperialism and institute a more democratic and egalitarian global order. I give more concrete shape to how Fanon is conceptualizing intercontinentalism as a form of political community that emerges out of dialectical tension and conflict, which was crucial to ensuring that intercontinentalism does not ossify into exclusionary forms of political affiliation.

Cosette Creamer and Zuzanna Godzimirska, "Trust in the Court: The Role of the Registry of the European Court of Human Rights," European Journal of International Law, Vol. 30 (2019) No. 2.

The growing impact of European institutions on the daily lives of citizens has stimulated greater attention to the public's trust in these bodies. Existing research on trust in the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) tends to focus on the role of judges and their rulings. In contrast, this article examines the role of the ECtHR's Registry. We argue that the civil servants of the ECtHR serve a critical function for the court's operation and have the potential to play an indispensable trust-building role. Drawing on interviews with court officials and survey responses from government agents, we identify and discuss the practices and features of the Registry that contribute to, or undermind, member states' estimations of trust in the ECtHR. In light of repeated and mounting criticism by member governments, our findings have important implications for the continued relevance of, and political support for, the Court moving forward.

Jane Lawrence Sumner and Ellen M. Key, "You Research Like a Girl: Gendered Research Agendas and Their Implications," Political Science & Politics, July 10, 2019, 1-6.

Political science, like many disciplines, has a "leaky-pipeline" problem. Women are more likely to leave the profession than men. Those who stay are promoted at lower rates. Recent work has pointed toward a likely culprit: women are less likely to submit work to journals. Why? One answer is that women do not believe their work will be published. This article asks whether women systematically study different topics than men and whether these topics may be less likely to appear in top political science journals. To answer this question, we analyzed the content of dissertation abstracts. We found evidence that some topics are indeed gendered. We also found differences in the representation of "women's" and "men's" topics in the pages of the top journals. This suggests that research agendas may indeed be gendered and that variation in research topic might be to blame for the submission gap.

Christopher Federico and Hui Bai, "Collective existential threat mediates White population decline's effect of defensive reactions," Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, May 20, 2019, 1-17.

We present evidence from two studies probing into whether perceived numerical deline in the White population translate into collective existential threat to Whites, leading in turn to defensive reactions. In Study 1, we used correlational data to show whether collective existential threat mediates the relationship between perceptions of White population decline and defensive political reactions (i.e., racial biases and conservatism among Whites. In Study 2, we replicate the results of Study 1 experimentally manipulating perceptions of White population decline and growth. Our results suggest that Whites' perceptions of the ingroup's numerical decline have a unique effect on their racial and political attitudes via heightened feelings of collective existential threat.