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.
Using quantitative and qualitative evidence, Sumner shows how consumer boycotts can work to dissuade companies from donating money to politicians, but may also encourage companies to attempt influence by largely invisible means.
With the rise of Black Lives Matter and immigrant rights protests, critics have questioned whether mainstream black and Latino civil rights organizations such as the NAACP and UnidosUS are in touch with the needs of minorities—especially from younger generations. Though these mainstream groups have relied on insider political tactics, such as lobbying and congressional testimony, to advocate for minority interests, Michael D. Minta argues that these strategies are still effective tools for advocating for progressive changes.
Daniel Bensaïd examines Marx’s early writings to establish a new framework for addressing the rights of the poor, the idea of the commons, and private property as a social institution. In addition to Bensaïd’s prescient work of political philosophy, The Dispossessed includes new translations of Marx’s original “theft of wood” articles and an introduction by Robert Nichols lucidly contextualizing the essays.
The Oxford Handbook of Grand Strategy addresses the conceptual and historical foundations, production, evolution, and future of grand strategy from a wide range of standpoints. The result is a field-defining, interdisciplinary, and comparative text that will be a key resource for years to come.
Nuclear Reactions analyzes how nuclear weapons change the calculations states make in their foreign policies, why they do so, and why nuclear weapons have such different effects on the foreign policies of different countries.
Two decades after Indonesia's transition to democracy, its labor movement has emerged as a vibrant and influential political actor. Labor and Politics in Indonesia provides the first in-depth analysis of this development, investigating how a structurally weak labor movement carved out a strategic foothold in a country with no recent history of union engagement in politics.
Drawing on Indigenous peoples' struggles against settler colonialism, Theft Is Property! reconstructs the concept of dispossession as a means of explaining how shifting configurations of law, property, race, and rights have functioned as modes of governance, both historically and in the present.
Performing a comparative real-time political analysis, Marxism versus Liberalism presents convincing evidence to sustain two similarly audacious claims: firstly, that Karl Marx and Frederick Engels collectively had better democratic credentials than Alexis de Tocqueville and John Stuart Mill; and secondly, that Vladimir Lenin had better democratic credentials than Max Weber and Woodrow Wilson.
This book assesses the unintended consequences of the proliferation of the laws of war. In the mid-19th century there was one codified law of war. In 2018, there are over 70 such laws, and they place increasing constraints on belligerents.
Articles and Book Chapters
Ronald R. Krebs, Robert Ralston, Aaron Rapport, "Why They Fight: How Perceived Motivations for Military Service Shape Support for the Use of Force," International Studies Quarterly, Volume 65, Issue 4, December 2021.
What shapes public support for military missions? Existing scholarship points to, on the one hand, individuals’ affiliations and predispositions (such as political partisanship and gender), and, on the other hand, factors that shape a rational cost–benefit analysis (notably, mission objectives, the prospects for victory, and the magnitude and distribution of costs). We argue that public opinion is also shaped by beliefs about why soldiers voluntarily enlist. Using novel survey data and an experiment, deployed to a nationally representative sample of Americans, we test how four conceptions of soldiering affect support for a prospective military operation. We find, in observational data, that believing that a soldier is a good citizen or patriot bolsters support for the mission, while believing that a soldier has enlisted because he wants the material benefits of service or has “no other options” undermines support. These results support our causal argument: Americans’ attitudes toward military missions are shaped by their perception of whether the soldier has consented to deployment rather than by feelings of social obligation. This article has implications for debates on the determinants of public support for military missions and the relationship between military service and citizenship in democracies.
Paul Goren, "Pliable Prejudice: The Case of Welfare," American Journal of Political Science, August 19, 2021.
The conventional wisdom maintains that whites’ racial predispositions are exogenous to their views of welfare. Against this position, scattered studies report that prejudice moves in response to new information about policies and groups. Likewise, theories of mediated intergroup contact propose that when individuals encounter messages about racial outgroups, their levels of prejudice may wax or wane. In conjunction, these lines of work suggest that whites update their global views of blacks based on how they feel about people on welfare. The current article tests this “prejudice revision” hypothesis with data from “welfare mother” vignettes embedded on national surveys administered in 1991, 2014, and 2015 and ANES panel data from the 1990s. The results indicate that views of welfare recipients systematically affect racial stereotypes, racial resentment, individualistic explanations for racial inequality, and structural explanations for racial inequality. Prejudice, in short, is endogenous to welfare attitudes.
Lisa Hilbink, Valentina Salas, Janice K. Gallagher, Juliana Restrepo Sanin, "Why People Turn to Institutions They Detest: Institutional Mistrust and Justice System Engagement in Uneven Democratic States," Comparative Political Studies, June 23, 2021.
Does political mistrust lead to institutional disengagement? Much work in political science holds that trust matters for political participation, including recourse to the justice system. Scholars of judicial institutions, relying largely on survey research, argue that low trust decreases legal compliance and cooperation, threatening the rule of law. Legal consciousness and mobilization scholars, meanwhile, suggest that trust does not drive justice system engagement. However, their single-case study approach makes assessing the wider implications of their findings difficult. Based on an innovative comparative focus-group study in two uneven democratic states, Chile and Colombia, we show that trust is not the primary factor driving justice system engagement. Rather, people's engagement decisions are shaped by their expectations and aspirations for their political system and by their politically constructed capacities for legal agency. Our study offers insights of relevance for analysts of various forms of political participation in uneven democratic states across the globe.
James Hollyer, Marko Klašnja, Rocío Titiunik, "Parties as Disciplinarians: Charisma and Commitment Problems in Programmatic Campaigning," American Journal of Political Science, June 14, 2021.
We study how parties balance the benefits of disciplined programmatic campaigning with the electoral appeal of charismatic but potentially unfaithful candidates. We incorporate the well-known collective action problem arising from candidates' inability to fully internalize the fruits of programmatic brand building. Although parties may strategically use promotions to induce brand building efforts, we show that the party may be unable to commit to such a promotion scheme when the electoral returns to candidate charisma are high. We further demonstrate how electoral volatility and parties' ingroup loyalties shape their commitment to reward brand building. Volatility increases the focus on candidate charisma and decreases programmatic campaigning, but only among parties with weak group attachments. Parties with loyal partisans place emphasis on both candidate charisma and programmatic messaging. Empirical analyses of cross-national data and quantitative and qualitative case studies in Brazil, Austria, and Spain are consistent with our predictions.
Tanisha M. Fazal, "Life and Limb: New Estimates of Casualty Aversion in the United States," International Studies Quarterly, Volume 65, Issue 1, March 2021.
Dramatic improvements in US military medicine have produced an equally dramatic shift in the kinds of battle casualties the US military has sustained in its most recent wars. Specifically, there has been a notable increase in the ratio of nonfatal to fatal casualties. Most studies of casualty aversion in the United States, however, have focused on fatal casualties. Using a series of survey experiments, I investigate whether respondents are equally sensitive to fatal and nonfatal casualties, differences between populations with and without close military ties, and whether views on casualties are conditioned by respondents’ level of knowledge about casualties or the individual costs of war they expect to incur. I find that, while the general public is generally insensitive to different types of casualties, respondents with close ties to the military are better able to distinguish among kinds of casualties. This advantage, however, is not due to respondents with close military ties being better informed about war casualties. Instead, those who bear the costs of war directly appear better able to distinguish among those costs.
Teri L. Caraway, "De-Thanksinizing Thailand: The Limits of Institutional Design," East Asian Studies, February 2, 2021.
Almost two decades after the initial victory of Thai Rak Thai, scholars still debate the forces behind Thaksin's rise to power. I revisit these debates and argue for a more explicit analysis of dynamics over time. I distinguish analytically between the founding moment of TRT's first victory and the subsequent reproduction of its dominance. I argue that TRT's financial muscle was a sufficient condition for its 2001 victory, that institutions merely contributed to the scale of its victory, and that its platform was not decisive. Once in power, however, institutions were instrumental in allowing TRT to complete its term, but more important for its long-term dominance was the rapid implementation of its campaign promises, which created a mass constituency that in turn made Thaksin-linked parties resilient at the polls despite institutional reforms designed to weaken their electoral performance.
Timothy R. Johnson, Rachael Houston, Siyu Li, "Learning to Speak Up: Acclimation Effects and Supreme Court Oral Argument," Justice System Journal, February 9, 2021.
A long line of literature examines acclimation effects for newly confirmed U.S. Supreme Court justices. However, most of these analyses focus only on how new justices vote or write opinions. Here, we examine how they act during the one public aspect of the Court’s decision-making process—its oral arguments on the merits. In so doing, we seek to determine whether new justices speak, and interrupt their colleagues, less often than do their more senior colleagues. Using data on justices’ speaking turns and interruptions during all orally argued cases from the 1955 to 2018 terms, we find an acclimation effect exists whereby new justices are significantly less inclined to speak and interrupt their more senior colleagues. Our models also suggest gender and judicial ideology influence the extent to which new justices exhibit such effects during oral argument proceedings.
Nancy Luxon, "Fanon's Psychiatric Hospital as a Waystation to Freedom," Theory, Culture & Society, January 31, 2021.
What does it mean to develop psychiatric method in a colonial context? Specifically, if the aims of psychiatry have traditionally been couched in the language of ‘psychic integration’ and ‘healing’, then what does it mean to practice psychiatry within structures that organize and reinforce the exclusions of colonialism? With these questions, this article examines Frantz Fanon’s psychiatric practices in light of his radical political commitments. I argue that Fanon’s innovations with the institutional form of the psychiatric hospital serve to intervene differently in psychic conflict. Notably, these changes offer different ways to diagnose and respond to patients, along with different strategies for managing psychic disintegration in colonial contexts. The result is a rethinking of the relation between material and imagined worlds, and so the emergence of the hospital as a waystation between a colonial context and a political freedom yet to come.
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.